What does it take to achieve a career in cyber security? The short answer is pretty simple: it takes skill. Achieving the right skills, however, is a bit more involved. For most experienced practitioners, getting their foot in the door required years of experience and the right certifications. So, which cybersecurity certifications should an aspiring practitioner pursue?
Certifying bodies like CompTIA, Cisco, EC-Council, ISACA, and (ISC)2 all provide popular cybersecurity certifications to choose from. These certifications are in high demand and provide the ticket to a better career. If you’re ready to take on new challenges and develop new skills, check out 2018’s top ten cybersecurity certifications.
The CompTIA Security+ is a fantastic certification to achieve if you’re breaking into the field of cyber security. CompTIA takes a vendor-neutral approach to validating universal knowledge in IT security and prepares practitioners for entry-level security positions. While the CompTIA Security+ is a mandate for many working for the US government, it’s also a popular certification throughout a variety of industries.
The CompTIA Security+ exam covers a variety of topics including network security, compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, data and host security, access control and identity management, and cryptography. While there are no prerequisites for this certification, it’s recommended that you have a CompTIA Network+ and a few years of working experience.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $42,128 – $95,829
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 3,821
The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) keeps pace with the evolving cybersecurity landscape. This high-level certification validates critical thinking and best practices across a wide-variety of security disciplines. CASP certified professionals are highly skilled and capable of implementing the best cybersecurity solutions and defenses. Achieve this advanced-level certification and meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
While CompTIA traditionally has focused on certifications for entry-level practitioners, the CASP is designed for those with at least 10 years of experience in IT administration and five years of experience in IT security. Exam objectives for the CASP include enterprise security, risk management and incident response, research and analysis, integration of computing, communications and business disciplines, and technical integration of enterprise components.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $58,526 – $115,032
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 1,101
The Cisco Certified Network Associate is an ideal certification for anyone pursuing a career in network security. The CCNA Security validates skills required to develop a security infrastructure, recognize risks and vulnerabilities, and mitigate security threats. Certifying with an industry leader like Cisco is a great way to ensure employment in an industry desperate for qualified Cisco engineers.
Any valid Cisco CCENT, CCNA Routing and Switching, or any CCIE certification can act as a prerequisite for the CCNA Security. The exam covers a diverse range of security objectives including SIEM technology, cloud and virtual network topologies, BYOD, Identity Services Engine, authentication, Cisco FirePOWER, and Cisco Advanced Malware Protection.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $51,471 – $96,068
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 5,975
The Cisco Certified Network Professional is a highly regarded certification for those working in the field of infrastructure. This professional-level accreditation validates skills to secure large networks and work independently. It’s also common to see CCNPs managing network and security teams. This truly is the perfect certification for those serious about a career in network security.
The CCNP Security is composed of four different exams- 300-208 SISAS, 300-206 SENSS, 300-209 SIMOS, and 300-210 SITCS. Once all four exams are successfully completed, the practitioner qualifies for the role of Cisco Network Security Engineer. The CCNA Security or any CCIE can act as a prerequisite for the CCNP Security.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $60,564 – $113,442
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 3,080
Certified Ethical Hacker
The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is growing in popularity and validates in-demand, white-hat hacking skills. Certified Ethical Hackers identify a system’s vulnerabilities before they’re discovered by those looking to steal sensitive data. When Certified Ethical Hackers aren’t looking for system weaknesses, they spend their time educating staff on how to avoid costly mistakes.
EC-Council requires candidates to provide proof of at least two years of work experience in IT security or attend an official training event accredited by EC-Council. The exam objectives include: hacking laws, foot printing, google hacking, system hacking, trojans and backdoors, viruses and worms, sniffers, social engineering, phishing, hacking email accounts, denial of service, session hijacking, web application vulnerabilities, password-cracking techniques, cryptography, and penetration testing methodologies.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $37,008 – $157,704
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 642
The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is ISACA’s validation for audit control, assurance and IT security. The main responsibility for a CISA is to assess vulnerabilities, report on compliance and institute controls within an enterprise system. This world-renowned certification will certainly set you apart from the competition and allow you to work anywhere you want.
While anyone can take the CISA exam, getting certified requires the following: one year of experience in information systems or any qualifying educational degree, adherence to the Code of Professional Ethics, adherence to the Continuing Professional Education program, and compliance with the Information Systems Auditing Standards.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $60,829 – $122,089
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 5,212
The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is truly a management-focused certification. This is an ideal certification for seasoned IT managers, security managers and CSOs. The CISM validates a vast range of cybersecurity skills and recognizes managers who promote these international security practices. If you’re interested in IT security management, the CISM provides a multitude of opportunities.
While anyone can take the exam, maintaining the certifications requires 20 hours of continuing education every year and compliance with ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics. The CISM exam objectives include access control, identity management, security management, policies and procedures, intrusion prevention, network security, physical security, security tools, and security trends.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $77,941 – $148,441
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 3,367
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an elite membership of cybersecurity leaders. This advanced-level certification from (ISC)² demonstrates the ability to design, engineer, implement, and manage an enterprise-level security program. CISSPs are globally recognized for having advanced knowledge in cyber security and provide leadership within the IT department. If you want to be a cybersecurity leader, the CISSP may be the right certification for you.
Achieving the CISSP requires many years of work. Qualifying for the exam requires at least five years of full-time work in two or more of the eight qualifying security domains. This experience must be documented and endorsed by an active (ISC)2 member. Those without experience can take the exam and accumulate the experience within a six-year period. Once the exam is successful completed, aspiring CISSPs complete the certification process by submitting their endorsement and commitment to the (ISC)² Code of Ethics.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $69,490 – $151,148
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 11,495
Without a doubt, cloud technology is changing the way cybersecurity practitioners secure infrastructures. As businesses rely more on cloud technologies, new threats emerge. Security practitioners with the Certified Cloud Systems Professional (CCSP) are meeting this growing demand and will find an abundance of employment opportunities as this technology continues to involve more of our daily lives.
Qualifying for the exam requires at least five years of full-time work in information technology. Three years needs to be in IT security and one year in one or more of the six domains of the CCSP Common Body of Knowledge. Work experience must be documented and endorsed by an active (ISC)² member. Once the exam is successful completed, aspiring CCSPs become certified by submitting their endorsement and commitment to the (ISC)² Code of Ethics.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $61,674 – $129,865
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 626
The field of software development is exploding. The high demand for software is creating an even greater demand for those with skills in keeping software and applications secure. Like all (ISC)² certifications, the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) is globally recognized and validates an advanced-level of expertise. The combination of great pay and high demand make the CSSLP a certification worth pursuing.
Qualifying for the exam requires at least four years of full-time work as a Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) professional. Out of the four years of experience, at least one year must be focused on one of the eight domains of the CSSLP Common Body of Knowledge. Experience must be documented and endorsed by an active (ISC)² member. Once the exam is successful completed, aspiring CSSLPs complete the certification process by submitting their endorsement and commitment to the (ISC)² Code of Ethics.
- Salary range as reported by PayScale: $84,165 – $150,837
- Number of available positions on Indeed: 286
Summing It Up
If you’re looking for an exciting career that’s in high demand, cyber security might just be the right career for you. After all, those with cybersecurity certifications enjoy all the benefits that come with an in-demand career. This includes multiple career opportunities, meaningful work and lucrative compensation.
If you’re ready to advance your career and would like to explore training options for a variety of cybersecurity certifications, contact a friendly representative at KnowledgeNet and embark on a brand-new career path today.