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What is a Security Consultant?


One of the highest-paying jobs in the security industry, the primary job of a security consultant is to design and execute risk management solutions and projects for the company they work for. The security consultant must continuously identify potential gaps in the security setup and find ways to plug that gap. This has to be done in a proactive way so that security is not vulnerable to actual attack and the security risks are mitigated before an intruder is able to gain access or attack.

Other responsibilities include conducting internal audits randomly and periodically, designing and executing security awareness programs and policies.  At times, security consultants will interact or deliver presentations to senior management, government officials and stakeholders. You will also need to be able to be an important part of hiring interviews for relevant positions.

Why should you become a security consultant?

Security consultants have a critical impact on the businesses they work for. While some security consultants work for the government, such as in Homeland Security, many more work in security for the private sector. A lot of companies rely on the performance and skills of the security consultant to keep functioning as a business or organization.  If you are able to do your job successfully, it can be an extremely satisfying job. Their job security is also very high as long as you are able to keep performing. Another great thing about the job is that you are not dependent on other people. For example, business development or marketing people rely on the decisions of other people to complete their job objectives such as persuading people to buy from them or negotiating a price. With a security consultant job your performance is mostly in your own hands.

How to become a security consultant?

Sometimes, security consultants have a degree in the subject-matter expertise for their role but it is not necessary. If the job seeker has enough work experience, then that can be a very good substitute for a directly related degree. For entry-level jobs there is going to be a degree needed with some relevance to the some subject-matter expertise of the job. Online job portals and company websites are good resources to apply but the best way to become a consultant is to use your network and references to get directly connected to companies or hiring managers.

What are the educational and certification requirements to become a security consultant?

As there are many different kinds of security consultants, there is not one degree that you must acquire. It all depends on the specific security consultant job you are applying for. However, a bachelor’s degree is generally going to be needed in most cases. Degrees in criminal justice, or if the job is related to IT security, a degree in computer science or engineering may be very beneficial to your chances of securing the job and to help you perform the tasks of the job. Other degrees that might be of benefit include intelligence management, public safety and homeland security.  Most employers have on-site training courses or third-party training programs, especially for more junior roles.

There are certain security consultant certification and courses that might be useful to the career. For example, for an IT security consultant, there is CDS (Certified Security Consultant) or CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification. In order to acquire these certifications, the candidate will need to comply with all the requirements of the respective organizations that offer these certifications.

How to prepare for a security consultant interview?

The best way to prepare for the interviewer is to practice answering several questions that you might expect during the interview. Be prepared to have an answer for why the company should hire you, your biggest strengths and weakness and why you want to be part of the company. Furthermore, prepare for solid answers to what unique benefits you can provide to the company.

What other skills are required for a security consultant job?

If you are working in a culturally diverse company or international location, then language skills will be very useful. Most security consultants move up on the corporate ladder and that requires some leadership skills. Additionally, as a security consultant might deliver presentations, interact with clients or management, which means good communication skills are very important.

What personality traits are a good fit for security consultants?

People with good attention to detail, discipline and focus are ideal candidates for the role of security consultants. They must also be comfortable with a routine that needs to be followed on a regular basis. Being tech-savvy is also a great attribute to have regardless of what type of role you are seeking. With increasing technology prominence in almost every industry, security consultant jobs are no different. Computer software, devices, phone applications and many other technologies can help you perform better. Having an analytical type personality is also critical as most of the job functions, such as problem solving or a detailed root-cause analysis, are going to need that.

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