How to Become a Security Consultant
Security Consultant Job Overview
Think of all the fictional characters you would want on your side. If we had to pick just one, we like the idea of a hybrid between Professor X and Beatrix Kiddo, which is a bit like a security consultant. A security consultant is an adviser to businesses and organizations whose job it is to create and implement security solutions. Some consultants advise national leaders, and others small business owners. Whomever your audience, the task is the same- advise and protect. Maybe Gandalf? Well, you get the idea. Security consultants often have years of experience in cyber security roles and are able to effectively implement many segments of cyber defense, or they might have grown a business that they manage that provides this range of services to clients.
Security Consultant Duties
- Remain up-to-date on the latest security protocols
- Protect computers, networks, software, data and information systems from cyber security attacks
- Design vigorous security architectures frameworks for IT projects
- Determine specific security issues
- Execute vulnerability assessments
- Test cyber security resolutions
- Furnish a cyber security team with technical supervision
- Define security policies for corporations and organizations
- Maintain and upgrade security systems when necessary
Capture the Flag (CTF) And Beyond
Capture the Flag or CTF is like the gladiator rink for individuals who are looking to hone their skills, strengthen their infosec game, and ultimately, create and computate their way to a job. It’s where college students go to train. Or went. As you may have guessed, as the field continues to grow and develop the CTF games do as well. Today, much of what is crucial about cyber security goes beyond advanced binary exploitation and has shifted into what we now call reverse engineering. Does going on a Hack Quest sound like your type of endeavor? Would you like to play around on an entirely simulated Internet? Check out our resources below for more of the latest and greatest in Infosec.
Security ConsultantCareer Pathway
Based on your starting point (whether you’re already active in cyber security, a service member, IT specialist, or a student) there are a few paths to entering the field of security consultant. We’ve listed some different levels at which you can engage in security consulting below. These levels will depend on the typical number of years of experience associated with career stages (entry, middle, senior) as well as how specialized your education is. For an in-depth look at how job experience in cyber security and education levels compare and contrast, check out our guide on how to prepare for a career in cyber security. With that said, many security consultants are experienced in their roles, and if they’re providing a range of security services, will often hold a level of expertise similar to that of a security architect or experienced ethical hacker. Alternatively, some consultants present managerial or policy-related solutions to their clients. In this case, the consultants in question probably worked their way up the management or policy silos of past cyber security organizations.
A note on the positions below: Some job titles are tiered within that position- a position labeled “mid-level” for example, may have a range between mid to advanced.
- Entry level:Security Administrator, IT Auditor, Junior IT Specialist
- Mid-Level Level:Security Specialist, Regulatory/Policy Analyst, Security Engineer, Security Auditor
- Senior Level: Senior Security Consultant, CISO, Security Director, Advanced Ethical Hacker
Security Consultant Technical Skills
- Ethical Hacking
- Penetration and Vulnerability Testing
- COBIT Frameworks
- Firewall/ Intrusion detection
- Security Architecture
Security Consultant Soft Skills
- Self Starter
- Oral and Written Communication
- Team Player
- Team Leader
Security Consultant Job Outlook and Salary
There are thousands of jobs available for security consultants across the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security consultant positions are projected to grow by 18% by 2024, which is a much faster rate than most fields. The median salary of security consultant is $77,746, though can range from $54,000 – $100,000+. For consultants running their own businesses, earnings can advance into the millions of dollars depending on the scale of their operations.