Security Consultant Kaitohutohu Whakamarumaru

Security consultants identify security weakness in information technology (IT), advise on IT security, and design IT security systems.

Security consultants may choose to become certified or chartered through associations such as the Institute of IT Professionals.

Security consultants may do some or all of the following:

  • take the lead in identifying cyber security gaps
  • create risk assessment policies
  • monitor network security and report on issues
  • research, cost, design and implement new or improved network systems and platforms
  • manage responses to cyber attacks and ensure damage to the security of information is kept to a minimum
  • supervise other staff and oversee any changes to network security
  • keep up to date with the latest cyber security threats and solutions.

Physical Requirements

Security consultants spend a lot of time using computers, so they need to know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).

Useful Experience

Useful experience for security consultants includes: 

  • work in entry-level IT jobs such as information technology helpdesk/support technician
  • on-the-job training through IT internships and graduate recruitment programmes
  • hacking experience gained through study or hacking conferences
  • working on individual IT projects such as setting up your own penetration testing lab or assembling computers.

Personal Qualities

Security consultants need to be:

  • creative and imaginative, as they need to design new security systems
  • analytical thinkers and problem solvers
  • detail-oriented and curious
  • good at seeing the big picture, to examine solutions and problems from all sides
  • skilled communicators
  • skilled leaders and negotiators.

Skills

Security consultants need to have knowledge of:

  • current IT security standards, practices and methods
  • internet threats and hacking tools
  • security software and penetration tools such as Metasploit and AppScan
  • computer and network systems, software and devices and operating systems such as Windows Client and Linux
  • manual and automated security tests
  • coding languages such as Java or C++.

Conditions

Security consultants:

  • usually work full time and may also work evenings and weekends, and be on call
  • work in their own or clients' offices
  • work in conditions that may be stressful, because they work to strict deadlines while responding to security threats
  • may travel locally or overseas to meet clients.

Security Consultants can earn around $120K-$400K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Security Consultant are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for security consultants varies depending on skills, experience and where you work, with pay in Auckland being higher.

  • Security consultants usually earn $120,000 to $200,000 a year.
  • Security consultants working as managers can earn $150,000 to $200,000.
  • Chief security officers can earn $180,000 to $400,000.

Sources: Recruit I.T., 'Technology and Digital Salary Update Auckland', July 2021; and Recruit I.T. 'Technology and Digital Salary Update Wellington', July 2021.

Security consultants may progress into roles such as:

  • security architect
  • security manager
  • IT project manager
  • security director
  • chief information and security officer (CISO).

Years Of Training

2-3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a security consultant. However, you usually need one or more of:

  • a diploma or degree, preferably in an IT-related subject such as network engineering, computer science or cyber security
  • a relevant industry-based certification, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). 

In addition, security consultants usually need three to seven years’ experience in intermediate-level security roles such as security analyst, or a related role such as network administrator.

Common ways of gaining IT-related knowledge include learning through online courses and tutorials, and working on your own projects.

Security Consultant