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Looking for a rewarding and meaningful career in a high-tech field that promises to challenge you for decades? Look no further. Our guide to common jobs and positions in the security industry will help you find a role that fits your experience and desires.
Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
Typical training on the job: More than 1 month and up to 12 months of combined on-the-job experience and information training is needed to develop skills to attain competency. Licensing and certification requirements vary by state.
Technician (also Installer, Lead Technician): Employed by a security systems integrator or installing company. Typically responsible for the installation and upkeep of security solutions.
Service Technician: Responsible for the repairing and maintaining the physical aspects of a security installation. Depending on the size of the company, this role is usually separate from the installation technician role, and team members are typically chosen from among the best technicians.
Quality Control Technicians: Employed by integrators. This team member ensures that subcontractors are doing the installations properly. Position is usually hired from within, often selecting the best installation technician or service technician.
Applications Engineer (also Start-up Engineer): Employed by integrators. Employees in this role are responsible for the programming of software related to start-up or servicing the networking, cybersecurity and software part of the systems. Role typically required IT work experience. Employers often recruit trained IT staff for this role.
Security Project Manager (also Project Management, Project Lead, Job Manager): Employed by a security systems integrator or installing company. Role is typically responsible for coordination of the delivery of a new commercial security system or upgrade or expansion of an existing system. Often coordinates budget, timelines, project closing and customer management.
Technical Project Manager: Employed by integrators. Role is responsible for the IT portion of the project management that relates to software upgrades, software support, enterprise software deployments, etc. This is a very different skill set then the Security Project Manager; it is an IT skill set.
Program Manager: Employed by integrators. Role is responsible for overseeing, managing and caring for all aspects of large clients, including proposals, projects, service and support.
Systems Engineer (also Electronic Security Systems Designer, Security Project Engineer, Development Engineer, Consulting Engineer): Employed by integrators (and sometimes within the professional services department of manufacturers), this role is tasked with the design of complex and integrated security systems. Candidate typically will have a deep product knowledge of the product lines carried by the integrator and often will have a computer science or engineering background.
Systems Solutions Architect: Commonly employed by integrators, this role is sometimes required on major projects during the design phase and integration of third-party systems. Typically has extensive programming skills and experience with a variety of electronic systems and software solutions and is tasked with developing customized software applications to integrate systems.
Manufacturers hire for a variety of engineering roles, including:
Operations Manager (also General Manager, Vice President of Operations): While this job title is present at many businesses, when this title is employed by an integrator/installing company, this role not only manages billing and expense tracking, but is instrumental in ensuring that technicians, project managers and other staff resources, as well as technical resources and equipment, are coordinated for customer projects.
Director of Training (also Training Manager): Employed by both manufacturers and integrators. For manufacturers: Role is typically responsible for coordination of training programs offered to resellers and end-user customers. For integrators: Role is typically responsible for training of technicians, project managers, support staff and account representatives.
While there are too many security operations roles to list, the following are the most common ones employed by manufacturers. These roles would exist within most manufacturers and are not specific to the security industry; however, many of the roles have specializations to certain products so security companies tend to hire operations people from other security companies.
Sales Manager (also Account Representative, Account Executive, Client Manager): For manufacturers, distributors and integrators, this role is tasked with tactical sales, and skills are universal to sales roles at many other companies. Typically organized as “inside” or “outside” sales depending on how the sales effort occurs for each role.
Regional Account Manager (also Territory Account Manager): Employed by manufacturers. All the same roles as sales manager with added responsibility for managing the territory partner ecosystem, distributors, integrators and resellers.
Business Development Manager (also Director or VP of Business Development, Strategic Development Manager): For manufacturers and integrators, this role is tasked with uncovering new projects and developing potential new customer relationships. This is a job title where it is common for former security managers to make a career transition from security management to security integration or manufacturing. Such transitions often occur due to a security manager’s extensive contacts and knowledge of the security needs of potential customers. Role may cover penetration of new markets, new solutions and vertical markets.
Besides the general selling roles included above, in the security industry, there are some other specialized sales roles at manufacturers, including:
Specification Writer (also Specification Business Development Manager): This role typically calls on architects to offer specification writing services (or be the actual specification writer). When a new facility is being designed, it is very common for architects to outsource the openings to specialists in the doors, frames and hardware. These specialists are either independent operators or work for the hardware and door manufacturers.
Account Manager (also Distributor Representative): These individuals are responsible for sales to channel members who deliver products to end users or systems integrators or general contractors. Their role is to support the business processes of the channel and communicate products, policies and programs of the manufacturers.
Sales Engineer (also Sales Specialist): Includes various types of specialist roles focused on individual products or product lines. These sales professionals have deep product knowledge and help design solutions in a very specific and complex application.
Vertical Market Business Development Manager: It is common for manufacturers to hire business development roles to specialize in vertical markets like K-12, higher education and health care. They learn the “language” of the industry they call on and focus on solving security problems for that vertical.
Regional or National Sales Manager/Directors/Vice President: Manages groups of sales professionals in the previous categories.
Marketing Specialists/Marketing Managers: Responsible to market products of the manufacturers – websites, sales sheets, trade shows, events, price books, brochures, digital marketing, social media, etc.
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