How to Use CyberSeek in Becoming a Cybersecurity Consultant
When searching for options you have for finding a job as a cybersecurity consultant or advancing your career, there are many websites available. However, many of them offer different pieces of information, and trying to digest all of this and decide what steps you need to take can be a laborious and time-consuming process.
But now there is a new tool which offers all of this information in just one location, which can be easily accessed with just a few clicks of the mouse. This is CyberSeek. Although it has been designed for cybersecurity job seekers, there are others who can make full use of it is well. This includes the following:
- Educators and career counselors
- Students who are about to graduate from college or graduate school
- Government officials who are involved in crafting job-creation bills and policies
CyberSeek even offers a map of all fifty U.S. states to help you see what the cybersecurity consultant job demand is like for the state where you are searching.
Aided by the resources of CyberSeek, let’s take a look at the role of cybersecurity consultant.
What Is a Cybersecurity Consultant?
Given the sheer number of job roles that are out there, it can be difficult to get a good idea of what a cybersecurity consultant really is. A definition of this particular job is as follows: “IT security consultants assess software, computer systems, and networks for vulnerabilities, then design and implement the best security solutions for an organization’s needs.” (Source)
Because of the nature of this role, you will often find that the cybersecurity consultant will be working very heavily with penetration testing teams. For instance, they can work on both the Red and Blue Teams and offer their insight to the organization as to how they can better protect themselves from looming cyberthreats. They can also be found working very closely with threat-hunting, incident response and even forensic investigation teams as well.
The Job Titles Leading to Becoming a Cybersecurity Consultant and Afterwards
The most common job title that is also closely tied to the cybersecurity analyst position is the role of information security consultant. Other, less-common job titles which still refer to being a cybersecurity consultant include:
- Security consultant
- Security specialist
- Commercial security consultant
- Senior security consultant
To have the best chance of landing this kind of position, a candidate should have at least an undergraduate degree in Information Technology or Computer Science from an accredited college or university. But since this is such a competitive field, having a Master of Science degree will help to separate you from the rest of the crowd.
The typical entry roles which can lead to becoming a cybersecurity consultant include the following:
- Cybersecurity specialist/technician
- Cybercrime analyst/investigator
- Incident analyst/responder
- IT auditor
Once you have worked as a mid-level cybersecurity consultant for a number of years, there will be very good advancement opportunities available. You may consider roles such as:
- Cybersecurity manager/administrator
- Cybersecurity engineer
- Cybersecurity architect
To reach these higher-level job titles, the candidate must have solid experience in the following skills as well:
- The fundamentals of project management
- A working and troubleshooting knowledge of the Linux and UNIX operating systems
- A deep background in network security
- A solid understanding of the concepts of risk management
- The ability to deploy and implement cryptographic tools
- The secure coding practices of the Python programming language
What Are the Salaries Like for a Cybersecurity Consultant?
The average salary for a cybersecurity consultant is at $80,754.00. The average hourly rate is at $48.80 (if you are working as a W2 employee or 1099 independent contractor). The specific salary breakdown by years of experience can be seen in the matrix below:
|Years of Experience||Average Salary|
|Entry Level (0-5 years of experience)||$72,000.00|
|Mid-Career (5-10 years of experience)||$93,000.00|
|Experienced (10-20 years of experience)||$104,000.00|
The Certs That You Need to Be Competitive
In order to stay ahead of the competition and to command a higher salary level as a cybersecurity consultant, you will need to have at least one of the following certs. Of course, the more you have, the better.
Check out the resources available from Infosec to help you get these certs here.
The NIST NICE Framework
The NICE Framework, which is an acronym for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (also known as the “NIST Special Publication 800-181”), is an initiative that has focused on describing the various roles, job titles and work responsibilities for the cybersecurity industry. This specialized framework is intended to be used in the private, public and academic sectors.
It comprises the following aspects:
- Seven categories: These describe the commonalities that are found among the different cybersecurity professions. The categories are Securely Provision, Operate and Maintain, Protect and Defend, Investigate, Collect and Operate, Analyze and Oversee and Govern
- Thirty-three specialty categories: These are the unique and distinct categories that describe the various work duties of a specific job title
- Fifty-two work roles: These describe the detailed skills, tasks and knowledge that are required for each cybersecurity job title
The role of cybersecurity analyst fits into the following NICE framework categories:
- Collections and Operations
- Governance and Oversight
- Provisioning Secure Processes
- Operation and Maintenance
- Protection and Defense
Given the ever-changing dynamics and complexity of the cybersecurity threat landscape, the need for cybersecurity consultants will be steady for years to come, in both the private and government sectors. Becoming a cybersecurity consultant could be a very rewarding path for you.