This article is part of an IT Career News series called Your Next Move. These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications. Each article will include the responsibilities, qualifications, related job titles and salary range for the role. As you consider the next move in your IT career, check back with CompTIA to learn more about your job prospects and how to get there.
It's no surprise that companies worldwide are starting to dedicate a good chunk of their IT budgets to cybersecurity. The increasing prevalence of cyberattacks paired with the scary statistics about the cost of a breach are enough to warrant expert-level advice. That’s why it’s a great time to become an IT security consultant.
What Is a Security Consultant?
A security consultant is an IT professional who is trained to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and network devices in the following ways:
- Works closely with managers, engineers and other cybersecurity analysts to decrease risks for an organization
- Oversees and conducts tests for system vulnerabilities
- Plans and designs security architectures for IT projects
- Updates and upgrades security systems as needed
- Supervises security teams across departments
- Communicates findings to executive management
Working as a security consultant could mean working in-house as part of a security operations center (SOC), or working independently as a contractor with multiple clients. Security consultants propose infrastructure improvements and then oversee the implementation of these new measures. This means you must stay up to date on the latest cybersecurity trends and risk factors. This role may also be responsible for training other teams within the organization.
How to Become a Security Consultant
Most companies hiring a security consultant will be looking for a candidate with an associates or bachelor’s degree in IT or computer science – or equivalent experience. You should plan to work three to five years in IT – with lots of cybersecurity experience – to build your skills.
These skills include penetration testing, firewall safety and management, threat management, encryption techniques, fluency in programming languages, familiarity with multiple operating systems and working knowledge of threat modeling and configuration.
To gain that experience, consult the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway. This resource guides you through entry-level, intermediate and advanced cybersecurity roles – and shows you what IT certifications can help you get there.
CompTIA Security+ validates the baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career. This certification is a great place to start if you don’t have any cybersecurity training or experience.
CompTIA PenTest+ is intended to follow CompTIA Security+, or equivalent experience, and has a technical, hands-on focus. This certification is for IT pros tasked with penetration testing and vulnerability management and requires candidates to demonstrate the hands-on ability to test devices in new environments such as the cloud and mobile, in addition to traditional desktops and servers.
The new CompTIA PenTest+ (PT0-002) launched last month and will certify successful candidates have the knowledge and skills required to:
- Plan and scope a penetration testing engagement including vulnerability scanning
- Understand legal and compliance requirements
- Analyze results
- Produce a written report with remediation techniques
In addition to the certification, CompTIA offers a full suite of training products to help you learn and practice penetration testing and vulnerability management skills and prepare for your certification exam.
- CertMaster Learn: Learn at your pace with interactive lessons and videos
- CertMaster Labs: Get hands-on practice using real software applications
- CertMaster Practice: Test your knowledge and find out if you’re ready for the exam
- The Official CompTIA Study Guide: Learn and review exam objectives with our comprehensive textbook
Security Consultant Salary Range
The average salary for security consultants is $91,000 a year (CyberSeek.org).
Security Consultant Job Outlook
From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an increase of 33% for information security analysts and consultants with 47,100 net new jobs expected during that 10-year period.
Job Titles Related to Security Consultant
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Cloud security specialist
- Threat intelligence analyst
- Threat hunter
- Vulnerability analyst
- Penetration tester
+ Means More
At CompTIA, + means IT careers. That means you can consider us your partner on your journey to becoming certified, finding, interviewing for and winning that new job role.
- We help you save money. Getting a CompTIA certification is an investment in your career but getting a discount can help. There are several ways you can save money on your CompTIA purchases.
- We help you decide how to take your exam. Scheduling your exam is the easy part. CompTIA exams are offered at testing centers around the world as well as through online testing, which is available 24/7, so you can test in person or at home. Learn more about your testing options.
- We help you land your next job. We’ve teamed up with ZipRecruiter so you can get access to job alerts, digital badging and more. Be sure to sync your credentials on ZipRecruiter as you continue to grow within the tech industry.
Need more job inspiration? Check out CompTIA’s Tech Job Report video series now premiering on CompTIA Connect. Learn more about the latest data and trends in tech hiring and the implications for employers and the U.S. workforce with new episodes each month.
Read about more IT jobs featured in Your Next Move.
Will your next move be security consultant? If so, download the exam objectives for CompTIA PenTest+ to learn more.