The 6 Best Cybersecurity Certifications to Launch Your Career
Cybersecurity is without question one of the most attractive industries. With a surge in cyberattacks against companies and their data, the demand for certified professionals increases every year, and it’s a trend that’s unlikely to change soon.
If you’re interested in becoming a cybersecurity professional, you’ll need a few professional certifications. Certifications are a great way to show prospective employers that you have the skills for the job.
There are a lot of cybersecurity certifications available today. The six best cybersecurity certifications are:
- CompTIA Security +
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator
- CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
These six are the main certifications that employers require. However, specific branches of cybersecurity require additional education or certifications.
Let me delve a bit deeper into each one of these certifications.
Last Updated May 2020
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1. CompTIA Security+
Many consider CompTIA Security+ to be the gold standard of entry-level network security certifications, and it is one I highly recommend you aim to finish first.
It is well-respected in the industry, and the majority of professionals use it to get started. Having this certification shows employers that you have expertise in multiple areas of cybersecurity, a broad knowledge of the subject, and the technical skills to perform well in a range of jobs.
As a prerequisite, consider taking the Network+ certification training to prepare for this test. You could also consider the CCNA training. The CCNA training is a bit more advanced than Network+ but covers a lot more relevant topics.
Another reason you should consider The CompTIA Security+ certification first is that it requires you to pass only one exam. You’ll need to renew the certification every three years so that you’re up to date on current practices. It might seem like a short period for some professionals. However, the rapidly evolving nature of digital infrastructure means cybersecurity needs to evolve rapidly, too.
Individuals receiving the certification can take on jobs in identity management, cryptography, threat management, security systems, security risk identification, network access control, and security infrastructure.
This course is also a prerequisite for other more advanced cybersecurity courses. So, take the time to tick this one off the list. It allows you to move on to more challenging and specialized cybersecurity courses.
If you are interested in a course that will provide you with a solid foundation for preparing for this certification, then check it out here.
2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Do you have a passion for hacking? Did you watch the movie “Swordfish” and say, “Wow. I want to be like Stanley Jobson”? Then consider ethical hacking as a career. You’ll get paid to hack into systems to identify loopholes as companies need to stress-test their infrastructure to avoid serious hacking threats.
This certification is popular in sectors like telecommunications, software, manufacturing, and the military. The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants provides the certification. The course ensures individuals have skills in 5 key areas: covering tracks, maintaining access, enumeration, gaining access, and reconnaissance.
You’ll need formal training to pass the exam. The CEH certificate exam is significantly more challenging than the CompTIA Security+, but not impossible.
Ethical hackers can work in fields needing expertise with:
- Honeypots (systems that attract and deflect attacks)
- Evading IDS
- Penetration testing
- SQL injection
- Hacking web servers
- Session hijacking
- Social engineering
- Denial of service attacks
- System hacking
Scanning networks. The CEH certificate, just like the CompTIA Security+, must be renewed every three years because of the constantly evolving landscape of the field.
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3. Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator
With cybersecurity on the rise, the need for effective computer investigation techniques is greater than ever. The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certification allows professionals to enter the world of crime in a hands-on fashion. It’s perfect for analyzing crime-related data. This analysis can help the police or the lawyers handling those cases.
Information security professionals working with forensic data need to understand how to uncover data and categorize it for later retrieval. The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certification is perfect for individuals that want to get a hands-on education. The real-life applications of this certification mean there is a demand from employers.
The exam takes four hours to complete and consists of 150 questions. It is multiple-choice with a passing grade in the 60-85% range. Training for the exam will introduce you to topics such as fraud, intellectual property destruction, theft of trade secrets, criminal computer use, and more.
Computer crime will increase in the future as an increasing number of systems move online and digitize. Therefore, a Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certification will continue to be an asset long after receiving a passing grade.
4. CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
Do you want to work in jobs such as audit control and assurance? Then CISA is the gold standard certification that will significantly benefit your information systems career. Once you successfully pass the CISA exam, you can guide organizations on how to set up their data systems.
You’ll also have competence in asset protection, maintenance and service management, development, implementation, governance acquisition, and auditing. Knowledge in these areas is a powerful asset as an information system professional and will open a lot of employment opportunities.
You’ll need to pass a single exam with 150 multiple-choice questions. You also need to earn 120 continuing professional education credits over three years to retain the certification. There are over 90 CISA courses available to help you achieve a passing grade. Look at several of these courses to decide on the best training material for your needs.
5. CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
Certified CISM professionals get jobs overseeing, developing, and managing information security systems. The certification started in 2002, and since then over 30,000 people have received a passing grade, becoming Certified Information Security Managers.
Successfully completing the CISM course materials shows you have the technical skills to understand how to set up security systems that match the intended use. The course is perfect for IT professionals that have worked for at least two years in the field and want to upgrade their knowledge and progress in their career.
Furthermore, CISM is the right qualification for IT specialists who want to pursue more specialized cybersecurity work. For example, you’ll need to take this course if you wish to be a security systems manager in the future. Employers value the technical expertise that taking the CISM course indicates.
6. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
This is arguably the most coveted and respected cybersecurity certification.
CISSP is an advanced certification taken by professionals with multiple years of experience in the field. It is relevant for people that are the decision-makers of the system or security infrastructure. People with CISSP certifications are responsible for higher-levels tasks, such as figuring out the rules and regulations, rather than doing the day-to-day tasks.
Related degrees or accreditation are helpful if you plan to take this course. CISSP requires five years of experience covering different disciplines. Therefore, it’s not an entry-level course. It is best to work toward the CISSP qualification years ahead of time.
The areas you’ll learn about while studying for the course include identity and access management, communications and network security, security architecture and engineering, asset security, risk management, and software development security.
Do you have what it takes for a career in cybersecurity?
The six cybersecurity certifications outlined above offer different advantages for cybersecurity professionals. Take a closer look at what type of employers are looking for these certifications to figure out your value in the job market.
Do you have a talent for hacking? Would you rather be involved in systems development or oversight? There are more options for security professionals now than ever before. You may need a single certification to get your dream job or a combination of courses and advanced certification. Take action today to start your journey toward getting your ideal cybersecurity job.
If you are interested in a course that will guide you on your path to becoming a cybersecurity professional, then check out my Udemy course.