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How to Become a Cyber Security Consultant

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


April 20, 2023

Businesses of all sizes depend on secure information systems for the processing and storage of sensitive data. To help keep these systems secure, companies often work with cyber security consultants. In this article, we’ll outline how to become a cyber security consultant, explore some of their duties and the certifications you might need, as well as and examine the job outlook for this occupation.

What Is a Cyber Security Consultant?

A cyber security consultant is a highly skilled IT professional who specializes in creating solutions to safeguarding consumers’ personal information in information systems. Working on the front lines of cyber security, these specialists have become critical to modern business operations as they manage risk and look for ways to firm up their defenses against cyberattacks like ransomware, spam, spyware and malware, phishing and other forms of cyber warfare.

The growth of e-commerce, mobile payments, cloud computing, big data and analytics, IoT (Internet of Things), machine learning and social media have all increased risks for consumers and businesses. In Cisco’s Annual Internet Report White Paper, they reported that the last several years have easily been the most eventful period from a cyber security threat perspective, and this has shifted the treatment of cyber security from merely an information technology issue to a significant business risk. 

What Does a Cyber Security Consultant Do?

Cyber security consultants are called upon to perform a variety of duties with an overarching responsibility to help their clients devise the most effective ways to defend networks, devices, software and data against attacks by cybercriminals.

Their regular duties may include:

  • Perform vulnerability testing by using ethical hacking and other techniques.

  • Deliver test findings in technical reports and white papers.

  • Plan, research and design security architecture for IT projects.

  • Implement and maintain company-wide cyber security policies for clients’ organizations.

  • Consult with staff to assess security vulnerabilities and concerns.

  • Develop and submit cost estimates for upgrades to systems and identify potential challenges in collaboration with the client’s IT project managers.

Important Cyber Security Consultant Skills

A blend of technical and interpersonal skills enable cyber security consultants to perform both their IT-related tasks and engage effectively with members of their clients’ management teams to discuss their findings and proposed solutions. 

Technical Skills:

Examples of some of the technical skills cyber security consultants use each day are:

  • Knowledge of network structure: It’s important for cyber security consultants to have an understanding of technical concepts like firewall installation, programming, network configuration and management and the administration of different operating systems.

  • Risk identification and management: Through regular monitoring and analysis, risk management enables cyber security consultants to identify areas that may be vulnerable to a security breach and then take steps to defend against these threats. 

  • Data management and analysis: An understanding of modern data management is essential to enable cyber security consultants to create systems that gather, organize, analyze and protect data.

  • Cloud implementation and management: Those experienced in cyber security should be knowledgeable of cloud computing systems and processes and be proficient in the steps necessary to ensure the organization’s data storage and sharing is secure within the cloud. They should also know how to work with IT department personnel to create safe internal cloud systems. 

  • Ethical hacking: Learning and using techniques used by ethical hackers is crucial to uncovering vulnerabilities in clients’ systems, networks or applications. By using the same methods a malicious hacker might use to illegally gain access to a system, cyber security consultants can provide their clients with reliable vulnerability reports. 

Soft Skills:

Cyber security consultants work closely with people. This is why they need soft or interpersonal skills just as much as their technical abilities. Some of these soft skills include:

  • Logical Reasoning: The ability to track down problems that aren’t immediately apparent within digital systems requires sharp reasoning skills. This ability can be applied to short-term crises as well as long-term solutions to systemic issues.

  • Adaptability: Cyber security consulting requires the ability to learn new technologies and quickly familiarize yourself with new emerging threats. This ability to stay ahead of the curve is something clients are likely to expect. 

  • Communication: Excellent verbal and written communications skills allow cyber security pros to engage with various audiences, from tech-savvy IT department personnel to upper management to executive-level stakeholders. Making technical subject matter understandable to non-technical audiences can be crucial when reporting testing results, making presentations or recommending security solutions. 

  • Detail-oriented: Working in a high-stakes environment where small errors could create security vulnerabilities, so cyber security consultants must be both detail-oriented and driven to ensure security.

Cyber Security Consultant Certifications

Cyber security professionals at any stage of their careers may pursue a number of industry-recognized certifications to help them stand out among other job candidates. To earn a certification, you must pass an exam. After the certification is awarded, you may need some form of continuing education or repeated testing to keep the credentials and the skills they validate current. Elements of the curriculum in DeVry’s Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security are aligned to many industry certifications.

Entry-Level Certifications:

Certifications you might pursue early on in your cyber security career include:

  • CompTIA Security+: This certification verifies the skills and knowledge to configure systems used to secure networks, applications and mobile devices. Certification holders have shown their ability to assess the security posture of an enterprise environment and recommend and implement appropriate security solutions. They can also identify, analyze and respond to security events and incidents.

  • GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF): Designed for newcomers to the information security field, GISF covers the fundamental concepts of information security and threat detection, and the best ways to protect data.

Penetration Testing Certifications:

As you continue though your career, you might opt for more specific certifications. A few that focus on penetration testing include:

  • CompTIA PenTest+: This certification’s exam covers all stages of penetration testing and helps IT professionals gain vulnerability assessment and management skills. PenTest+ ensures candidates can propose remediation techniques, communicate results to management and effectively provide practical recommendations.

  • GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN): Designed for ethical hackers, penetration testers and other IT security pros, GPEN certification verifies the ability to conduct penetration testing following best practices and confidently engage in reconnaissance, conduct exploits and follow a process-oriented approach to penetration testing projects.

  • C|EH (Ethical Hacker): Currently in its 12th version, this certification from EC-Council is a widely recognized certification based on 5 phases of ethical hacking. Candidates build skills and gain experience with more than 500 unique attack techniques and more than 220 challenge-based, hands-on labs.

Senior-Level Certifications:

The more you advance in your career as a cyber security consultant, the more you’ll learn about:

  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+): Covering security architecture and engineering, the CASP+ certification from CompTIA is an advanced cyber security certification designed for security architects, lead analysts, senior security engineers and other advanced cyber security technicians. It covers the practical skills these professionals need to actualize effective solutions within established policies and frameworks.

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): The CISSP certification from ISC2 is intended for cyber security professionals who want to move up to positions like chief information security officer (CISO) director of security, security manager or security consultant to name a few. This certification demonstrates your ability to design, implement and maintain cybersecurity structures. The CISSP meets the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1.

Cyber Security Consultant Career Outlook:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts high demand for information security analysts (the category cyber security professionals fall under) for the following reasons:

  • As businesses focus on strengthening cyber security, they will need information security analysts to secure new technologies from outside threats or cyberattacks.

  • A shift to remote work and the rise of e-commerce have increased the need for enhanced security.

  • Cyberattacks have become more frequent, and these cyber security professionals will be needed to prevent service interruptions, theft of critical information or ransomware attacks.

  • Strong growth in digital health services and telehealth is expected to increase data security risks for healthcare providers, and information security analysts will likely be needed to safeguard patients’ healthcare data. 

In fact, BLS projects employment of information security analysts to grow 35% between 2021 and 2031, a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations, with about 19,500 job opening in the category each year, on average, over this period.1 This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers, not just entry-level.

How to Become a Cyber Security Consultant

While no career path or outcome is entirely predictable, becoming a cyber security consultant does have a few steps that you can follow to help you get started in the right direction, beginning with education. Afterwards, earning industry-recognized certifications, building a strong resume and gaining on-the-job experience are all positive steps for anyone preparing to pursue this career.


If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a cyber security consultant, you should plan to start by enrolling in a degree or certificate program that focuses on cyber security. At DeVry, we offer a number of programs that you consider as part of your cyber security training, including undergraduate certificate, associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs. Our cyber security curriculum is acknowledged and verified as an approved provider by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS).

Cyber security programs at DeVry can help you learn vital technical skills like security planning and auditing, programming and ethical hacking while also developing many of the communication and collaboration skills needed to be effective in today’s corporate environments.


Industry-recognized certifications in the fundamentals of cyber security are important to validate the skills that many employers might be looking for, that’s why we’ve aligned a number of courses in our cyber security curriculum with elements from some of the industry’s most widely recognized credentials. 

Gain Experience

A position like cyber security consultant isn’t attained overnight. After earning your degree, it’s important to build experience in the industry by seeking entry-level employment and then work your way up from there.

Build Your Resume

Create a strong resume by highlighting your technical skills and certifications as well as your soft skills, like communication, problem-solving and analytical thinking. The more experience you have, the more you can add to your resume as you go.

Stuck on what to write? Resume writing help is just one of several services offered by our Career Services team along with interview and career coaching, LinkedIn networking, job search strategy help and more.

Prepare to Pursue a Cyber Security Career with DeVry

If you want to pursue a career in cyber security, DeVry can help you gain many of the technical skills and hands-on experience you’ll need to enter this exciting profession. With programs like our Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security and coursework in areas like programming, security planning and auditing, ethical hacking, OS architecture and data analysis, this bachelor’s degree specialization can help prepare you to pursue a variety of cyber security roles.

Let’s talk about getting you started in our next session.


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