Can you become a Security Engineering Manager without a degree?

An alternative career path to becoming a Security Engineering Manager with its major challenges, possible benefits, and some unconventional ways to hack your way into it.

3 min read Β· Dec. 6, 2023
Can you become a Security Engineering Manager without a degree?

Yes, it is possible to become a Security Engineering Manager without a degree. While a degree can certainly be beneficial and provide a strong foundation in the field, it is not always a strict requirement for this role. Many organizations value practical experience, skills, and certifications more than formal education.

Achieving a career goal as a Security Engineering Manager without a degree

To achieve this career goal without a degree, you should focus on the following steps:

  1. Gain practical experience: Practical experience is highly valued in the cybersecurity field. Start by working in entry-level positions such as a security analyst, network administrator, or system administrator. This will allow you to develop a solid understanding of security principles and gain hands-on experience with various security technologies.

  2. Develop technical skills: Security Engineering Managers need a strong technical background. Focus on developing skills in areas such as network security, application security, cloud security, incident response, and vulnerability management. Stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in the field.

  3. Obtain relevant certifications: Certifications can help validate your skills and knowledge in the cybersecurity field. Some certifications that are highly regarded in the industry include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). These certifications can enhance your credibility and increase your chances of securing a managerial role.

  4. Build leadership and management skills: As a Security Engineering Manager, you will be responsible for leading and managing a team. Develop your leadership and management skills by taking on leadership roles in your current organization or by seeking out opportunities to lead projects or initiatives. This will demonstrate your ability to effectively manage people and projects.

  5. Network and build relationships: Networking is crucial in any career, and cybersecurity is no exception. Attend industry conferences, join professional organizations, and participate in online forums and communities. Building relationships with professionals in the field can open doors to new opportunities and provide valuable insights and advice.

Hacks and advice

  • Leverage your practical experience: Emphasize your hands-on experience and highlight specific projects or achievements that demonstrate your skills and expertise in the field. This can help compensate for the lack of a degree.

  • Showcase your certifications: Obtaining relevant certifications can help compensate for the absence of a degree. Highlight your certifications prominently on your resume and LinkedIn profile to showcase your commitment to professional development.

  • Build a strong professional network: Networking can provide valuable opportunities for career growth. Connect with professionals in the cybersecurity field, attend industry events, and engage in online communities to expand your network and increase your visibility.

Difficulties and benefits of the unconventional path

One of the main difficulties of pursuing a career as a Security Engineering Manager without a degree is that some organizations may have strict requirements that include a degree. However, many organizations are shifting their focus towards practical experience and skills, which can create opportunities for individuals without a degree.

The benefits of the unconventional path include:

  1. Practical experience: By starting at entry-level positions and gaining practical experience, you can develop a deep understanding of security principles and technologies. This hands-on experience can be highly valuable in a managerial role.

  2. Flexibility: Without the constraints of a degree, you have the flexibility to focus on gaining practical skills and certifications that are directly relevant to the field. This allows you to tailor your learning and development to your specific career goals.

  3. Demonstrated expertise: By showcasing your practical experience, certifications, and achievements, you can demonstrate your expertise and competence in the field. This can be just as valuable, if not more so, than a degree in the eyes of many employers.


While a degree can be beneficial, it is possible to become a Security Engineering Manager without one. Focus on gaining practical experience, developing technical skills, obtaining relevant certifications, building leadership and management skills, and networking within the cybersecurity community. Highlight your practical experience and certifications to compensate for the lack of a degree. While there may be some difficulties, the benefits of the unconventional path include practical experience, flexibility, and the ability to demonstrate expertise in the field.

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