How to Become a Cyber Security Consultant?
The growing demand for the CyberSecurity domain in the tech world has increased the need for cybersecurity professionals in the industry, giving rise to various career opportunities to people interested in making their career in the cybersecurity sphere. However, as people are still not much aware of the career options in the cybersecurity field, there is too much confusion amongst the people while planning to start a career in it. Though, out of many professions in this particular sector, Cybersecurity Consultant is one of the most exciting and challenging jobs for the aspirants.
A Cybersecurity Consultant has a variety of roles to perform in the industry. They are skilled in both areas – as attacker and defender of networks, computers systems, applications, and software programs. Their responsibility is to first identify the vulnerable areas, and then reach a solution that can strengthen the system to protect it from attackers. As hackers are coming up with new ideas to commit online frauds globally, there is a significant demand for cybersecurity experts in the market. However, to become a professional Cybersecurity Consultant, you will have to attain a specialization in it.
1. Educational Requirements
Though anybody with a knack in the information technology world would be an ideal candidate for the position. However, you can start it by opting for a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree program in the relevant field such as Computer Science, Information Technology, etc. The degrees and the education that you receive will make you well-informed about the field and at the same time will also make you eligible for various worthwhile career opportunities. Besides this, you can opt for several additional training programs as well to gain more knowledge and exposure.
2. Essential Work Experience
To become a cybersecurity consultant, one has to pass through various levels as it is a highly specialized field in the Information technology industry. The position is not an entry-level position hence you will have to first start as a junior professional, and from there you can move forward by acquiring the required skill-set and experience to become a proficient cybersecurity consultant. However, from three to five years of experience in the industry, is considered good enough if you have obtained all the skills required, but with experience there comes confidence – so more the experience, the more you will be able to showcase your skills and convince the employers respectively. It is natural for companies to believe that only experienced professionals can put value to their team.
You also must ensure to gather the knowledge of the latest hacking and security strategies available in the market currently and keep yourself abreast of updated information about the new developments in the industry through various sources. All of these together will add to your work experience and required skill-sets.
3. Skills Required
There is a set of various technical and soft skills that are required by employers from Cybersecurity Consultants. Let’s take a look at these skills:
One who aspires to become a Cybersecurity Consultant must have a sound knowledge of the following tech skills:
- Knowledge of Penetration testing and also must be able to measure the vulnerability rating of cyber programs and software that are used by the company they are working for.
- Knowledge of Firewall safety and management that also includes backups and fail-safe features. It must also include breach detecting and preventing protocols.
- Knowledge of advanced persistent threat management that also covers phishing, social engineering, and network access control.
- Knowledge of encryption techniques and capabilities are a must. It should include the ability to send and receive data over the internet without surrendering to hacker’s attacks.
- Knowledge of programming languages that are used to store and process raw data. The more the candidate knows about the different programming languages, it would be better.
- Understanding of various operating systems. Windows, Linus, UNIX, and other systems that are in development or those used by the public.
- Knowledge of the principles of ethical hacking and coding practices. Must have a working knowledge of threat modeling and configuration.
Here are some soft skills that are essential to succeed as a Cyber Security Consultant:
- Communication Skills – Communications skills are one of the topmost qualities that cybersecurity consultants must possess. Consultants are mostly senior professionals in a company, and they are expected to interact with their team and also transfer the information between companies, and teams for effective execution of operations. They are also responsible for negotiating and discussing projects and their requirements with clients, hence communication is an essential quality that is required to accomplish these tasks.
- Leadership Skills – When you are in the highest levels of a job, then you are expected to run the entire team of operations and security. As a consultant, leadership skill is one of the major criteria that a candidate should possess. Usually, multiple people report to the consultant and also seek guidance from them when the need arises, and here is when the leadership skills come into play.
- Problem Solving – Furthermore, a Cybersecurity consultant should possess good critical thinking and problem-solving skills as he is required to deal with various problems such as cyber-attacks, network failure, data loss, etc. regularly. Hence, he is required to already prepare for such situations and come up with optimal and relevant solutions. Apart from this, several other skills such as Time Management, Research Skills, Risk Management, etc. can also be taken into consideration to become a successful Cybersecurity consultant.
4. Professional Certifications
Certifications give credibility and confidence to professionals to work in the areas they are certified for. These days professional certifications have become an essential requisite to get a good job in the Information Technology or any other sector. Certifications validate your skills and knowledge on the particular subject and also prove that you are keeping pace with the current trends and techniques in the industry. Cybersecurity that is one of the fastest evolving subjects, requires professionals who keep up with the industry trends. And stay updated with the latest in the industry is one of the top qualities that every valued cybersecurity consultant should have.
Planning to be a Cyber Security Consultant?
Undoubtedly, there is a high demand for cybersecurity professionals today and considering the rising risks and threats in cyberspace, the demand will rise exponentially in the upcoming times as well. Hence, if you’re looking forward to making a career as a Cybersecurity Consultant, you can consider yourself on the right track. Meanwhile, you just need to prepare yourself with all the right combinations of skills and other necessary requisites to fulfill your dreams!!