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How to Become a Cybersecurity Consultant?

Digital protection of operations and personal information is of utmost importance for businesses. Although this is quite an expensive corporate need, it costs much less than data breaches. According to the IBM report, the average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million in 2023, and it has increased by 15% since 2020. 

As all routine business operations are processed online, personal information is still vulnerable, and it is a magnet for hackers. Hence, industries that closely work with clients, finances, and other sensitive data suffer the most. For instance, financial services, insurance, technology, communications, and healthcare areas faced data breaches most frequently in 2023.

Main tasks of cybersecurity consultants

Businesses seek dedicated digital protection in light of data compromises, and the cybersecurity market opens room for educating professionals in this sphere. The value of the global cybersecurity market now is almost $250 billion; however, within a decade, it will grow by almost three times. This tendency means corporations and firms care about their digital privacy and are ready to invest more in innovative technologies and human resources.

Predicted size of cybersecurity market

To prevent themselves from cyber attacks, businesses search for a cybersecurity consultant. Who is this professional? What is required to become one? How long will this field remain prospective? Read on to learn more about this job specifics and explore recommendations on how to build your expertise in IT security.

Who Is a Cybersecurity Consultant? 

In its report, the ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center) mentioned that the number of cyberattacks has risen to 72% since 2021. Businesses remain vulnerable to data exposure, leakage, and unknown compromises. These factors make the cybersecurity consultant profession one of the most wanted IT jobs today. 

The scope of responsibilities of cybersecurity consultants revolves around digital assets and online operations. Below is the list of the most common job responsibilities of a network security professional.

Number of data breaches

While hiring an experienced cybersecurity professional, it is crucial to add an authorization letter template to standard employment documents. With this letter, the consultant is officially authorized to perform security analysis and penetration testing, provide reports, and do more to advance the company’s cybersecurity. Employers can also outline the network consultant’s role limitations in the authorization letter.

Other industries that require a cyber defense analyst are e-commerce, government, military, education, retail, etc. Company size may vary from worldwide corporations to in-house departments and small firms. Data protection specialists can also provide their consulting services on a freelance basis.   

Top Skills of a Cybersecurity Consultant

IT security consultants must possess a solid technical background and well-developed interpersonal skills. While doing research on the cybersecurity profession, review the following mandatory competencies:

  • Programming languages: C++, HTML, Javascript, Python, SQL, Golang, and others dealing with raw data processing and storage;
  • Experience in working with firewall protocols and IT security standards;
  • Knowledge of cyber threats (malware, ransomware, phishing, etc.);
  • Understanding of operating systems Windows, Mac, Linux, and Unix;
  • Penetration testing;
  • Encryption technologies;
  • Ethical hacking codes and principles.

These soft skills are key for data security analysts to collaborate with teams closely:

  • Excellent oral and written communication;
  • Strong organizational and leadership skills;
  • Research skills;
  • Adaptability to agile environments;
  • Problem-solving;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Critical thinking;
  • Teamwork.

Pay close attention to the provided skill sets if you want to succeed as a cybersecurity consultant.

Steps to Become a Cybersecurity Consultant

Follow this guide to launch a distinguished career as a network security specialist and avoid common pitfalls.

  1. Begin with obtaining a degree or certification

    As previously mentioned, the technical background plays a significant role in growing as a data security professional. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or a related field is a traditional way to start your career in cyber defense. Still, only 31% of individuals enter this profession through their education.

    Other options gaining more popularity today are specialized bootcamps or independent certifications. These are intensive courses that focus solely on the digital security field and provide a lot of simulative practice within weeks. In the end, graduates receive diplomas, proving they are ready to handle real-life cybersecurity issues.

    Also, consider stepping into these cybersecurity certifications that will be a great asset to your resume:

    • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
    • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
    • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
    • CompTIA Security+, and more.

    The more certifications and programs you pursue, the higher your chances to get the desired job position in cybersecurity.

  2. Apply for related jobs

    Start searching for entry-level jobs that can help you land a cybersecurity consultant position in the future. These are “security administrator,” “security engineer,” “junior penetration tester,” “incident reporter,” etc.

    It is essential to gain three to five years of work experience in these positions to apply for senior roles. Junior roles enable you to do specific tasks within a company, such as penetration testing, reporting hacks, performing audits of internal security systems, etc. Focusing on a particular area of cybersecurity will help you decide in which category you want to succeed: prevention, detection, or response to cyber threats.

  3. Continue self-learning

    While mastering your skills on a specific project, do not put new certifications and courses aside. The cybersecurity landscape tends to evolve, so every IT privacy professional must constantly improve their knowledge and learn new skills to stay ahead of the competition. 

    After you receive higher education or complete a certification program, start free online courses on cybersecurity. They will help you learn more about digital security trends, detailed cyber crime cases, and extra methods to cope with cyber threats and prevent risks. Usually, these courses are held by dedicated IT security professionals who share their perspectives and mentor freshmen in cybersecurity.

  4. Grow a professional network

    The cybersecurity sector is rich in offline and online conferences, seminars, lectures, etc. They open multiple opportunities for newcomers and skilled cybersecurity professionals to develop communication skills and get glowing personal recommendations for new jobs or internships.

    Another way to meet like-minded colleagues is cybersecurity social media groups and forums. People are more willing to share their thoughts online, and you can discover uncommon stories, cases, and advice from the data security world.  

Cybersecurity Consultant Salary

Glassdoor estimates the total pay for cybersecurity professions at approximately $160,000 per year in the U.S. This proves that cybersecurity offers numerous roles, with salaries ranging from $90,000 to $147,000 on average, depending on the scope of work and company size.

Conclusion

Digital security for businesses cannot be underestimated. It should be properly set up and maintained by skillful cybersecurity professionals because cyber crimes always emerge and carry even more threats for companies.

Following this detailed guide, you will manage to launch your career path as a cybersecurity consultant without a hassle or smoothly transit to this profession if you are currently working in another field.

IEMA IEMLabs
IEMA IEMLabshttps://iemlabs.com
IEMLabs is an ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we are also a proud member of EC Council, NASSCOM, Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The company was established in 2016 with a vision in mind to provide Cyber Security to the digital world and make them Hack Proof. The question is why are we suddenly talking about Cyber Security and all this stuff? With the development of technology, more and more companies are shifting their business to Digital World which is resulting in the increase in Cyber Crimes.
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