What it takes to be a security consultant

The move to security consultant can be rewarding and challenging (in a good way), but be prepared to market and sell yourself and your services.

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IT security consultants tend to be busy people. Given the widespread shortage of professionals with skills in many different aspects of cyber security, organizations frequently need help from outside experts.

Like many others who work in information security, Kevin Beaver, did not initially set out to pursue a career in the field—or to eventually become an independent IT security consultant. “During my senior year of high school, my late mother, Linda, encouraged me to go to college and study computers. That seemed to be a growing field with lots of opportunities,” Beaver says. “My mom was exactly right! My computer studies led to me pursuing this thing called computer security.”

For his undergraduate college education, Beaver attended Southern College of Technology—now Kennesaw State University—and received a bachelor's degree in computer engineering technology. He attended graduate school at Georgia Tech and received a master's in management of technology.

While in college, Beaver held part-time positions at companies including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Lotus Development. “These were call center/help-desk related jobs,” he says. “Those roles taught me how to best deal with people and learn the technical ins and outs of the products I was supporting.”

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