7 Top Certifications for Cybersecurity Professionals

Cybersecurity is a booming job market. More professionals are needed by businesses to protect from what can now be considered a cybercrime epidemic, which is expected to cost up to $6 trillion by 2021. This record-breaking surge of cyber threats will need at least 3.5 million cybersecurity experts to contend with it.

This means, the industry is headed for a severe labor shortage. There will not be enough people who have the right skills to meet the demand. In fact, cybersecurity unemployment was zero in 2016. There are many more jobs right now than candidates, which means it’s a great time to choose this career path. To be best prepared to enter or promote your role in the cybersecurity job market, it’s a good idea to explore the certifications available, including the top seven which will prepare you for specific roles, including:

  • CISSP
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CAP
  • CEH
  • CHFI
  • CISM 
  • CASP

To best understand the criteria and benefits, view each certification and what it covers and offers.

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

CISSP is the most globally recognized cybersecurity certification and was the first to meet the ISO/IED Standard 17024. Because of this, there are several prerequisites. You must have a minimum of five years of full-time experience in information security in at least two of the eight (ISC)² CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) domains: security and risk management, asset security, security engineering, communication and network security, identity and access management (IAM), security assessment and testing, security operations or software development security.

To prepare for CISSP certification, most professionals take a course. The course should drill down into the eight domains, offering you granular knowledge of each. After a course, you will then take the exam, wherein you must score at least 700 out of 1,000 points to earn certification. Upon certification, you will become part of the (ISC)². To maintain certification, you are required to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

The benefits of CISSP certification include reaching a higher level of employment as well as better earning potential. According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, CISSP certified professionals earn 35 percent more than non-certified peers. It was also ranked as one of the top paying certifications for 2017 by Global Knowledge, with an average annual salary of $121,729. Enjoy credibility and opportunity with the designation. It’s also Department of Defense (DoD) approved for those working with the U.S. military and government. 

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification is globally recognized, thus it sets a worldwide standard. It is considered a foundational certification, with those that earn it having all the necessary knowledge for the principles of network security and risk management. With this accreditation, you will be recognized for understanding how to secure a network and thwart hackers. The certification meets the ISO 17024 standard and is approved by the DoD to fulfill its directive requirements.

Prior to taking the exam, choose a CompTIA Security+ course that will prepare you and enhance your skillset. There are no prerequisites but it is highly recommended that you have a few years of security-focused IT experience. You will need to score a minimum of 750 out of 900 to pass. To maintain the certification, complete at least 50 CPE credits every three years.

CompTIA Security+ is a great first certification for your cybersecurity career, with opportunities to advance and increase your salary.

CAP (Certified Authorization Professional) Certification

Earn CAP certification to demonstrate your cybersecurity knowledge in the Risk Management Framework (RMF). It is actually the only certification under the DoD 8570 mandate, which aligns to each of the RMF steps. With this designation, you will be able to validate your skills for authorizing and maintaining information systems with the RMF, including the ability to enact a formal process of risk assessment and security documentation creation for the entire lifecycle of the system.

With the CAP certification, increase your credibility and marketability in the field, for either the public or private sector. It can also increase your pay rate. It was listed on the Certification Salary Survey 75 from Certification Magazine with an annual salary of $124,610.

To pursue CAP, you must have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in at least one of the CBKs. Next, find an appropriate course to help you prepare for the exam. In the three-hour test, you must answer 125 multiple choice questions and need a score of 700 out of 1,000 points to pass. Upon passing, you become a member of (ISC)² and are expected to post at least 20 CPE credits each year.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification

By earning the CEH certification, you will be regarded as a cybersecurity professional who can find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in systems. With the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker, you can assess the risks for organizations so they can better protect their assets.

To earn this certification, you’ll need a thorough course that covers the 18 most current security domains and the hundreds of attack technologies most used by hackers. Courses offer real-time scenarios to simulate what can occur in the real world, preparing you for the CEHv9 Exam. The certification will enable you to be a vulnerability tester, penetration tester or have another ethical hacking role. Employers understand the value of the CEH and will look to you as an expert in the field.

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) Certification

If you’re keen for a career in computer forensics, CHFI is the certification for you. CHFI is by far the most in-demand credential in computer forensics investigation. Computer forensics investigation consists of compiling and analyzing cybercrime evidence for prosecution. As value in information security continues to rise, businesses strive to defend cyberattacks and safeguard intellectual property (IP).

As a CHFI, you will be armed with the skills to uncover and examine the complexities of digital evidence. This evidence is critical for being able to charge criminals with computer crimes, from theft of IP to fraud. Earning this credential will establish that you have the skills to find how intruders infiltrate systems, as well as the ability to gather evidence necessary to prosecute offenders.

Working in the forensics fields means you may be more likely to work in banking, insurance, law enforcement or government industries. But other industries, especially those that innovate and have high-value intellectual property, also see the need for CHFI professionals.

To prepare for CHFI certification, consider a course that offers you access to an education that covers the top tools of forensics. Most any curriculum will be vendor neutral so that it can be applied to a huge range of environments. Upon completion of the course, you will then take the EC0 312-49 exam, where you will need to score 70 percent or better.

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

CISM is offered by ISACA, a nonprofit and independent association. ISACA is an advocate for professionals involved in information security, assurance, risk management and governance. CISM is considered an advanced certification. It is recommended that those seeking this qualification have five years of information security work experience with three years specifically concentrated on three or more CISM content areas.

CISM certification promotes international security practices. Its holders are recognized as professionals with the skills to manage, design and assesses an enterprise’s information security. As an internationally accepted certification, CISM offers you additional credibility no matter where your cybersecurity career takes you. This certification can boost your pay, give you an advantage in the hiring process and enhance your credibility.

CISM certified professionals hold positions as information security managers, as the skills required to attain it emphasize the connection between information security and threat response.

To gain this designation, you will need to pass the 200 question exam, focusing on information security management, information risk management and compliance, information security program development and management, and information security incident management. To maintain it, you must complete 20 CPE credits yearly.

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) Certification

The CASP certification is for those security pros who are ready to take their career to the next level. It is designated as a master level certification for those who lead enterprise technical teams. With CASP credentials, you will be recognized as a skilled professional in security, risk management, research, analysis and integration. CASP meets the DoD 8570.1 directive requirements for those in that field and also satisfies the regulations under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

To work toward CASP, you should have 10 years minimum experience in IT administration, including technical security roles. Although you do not need to complete CompTIA Security+ certification, CASP is considered the next step. To prepare for the test, enroll in a course that focuses on applying advanced concepts and principles at the enterprise level. The test is past/fail only. Upon passing the test, you will earn the designation. To keep it current, you will need to complete 75 CPE credits per renewal period.

Considerations for Choosing Certification Courses

 Cybersecurity Certifications Help Your Career

There are many course options for cybersecurity professionals, however, they aren’t all created equal. When choosing the best course to ensure you learn what you need and are armed with the skills to succeed, look for these features:

  • Exam voucher inclusive of course fee: With one inclusive rate, there are no additional costs to worry about
  • Official print and digital content: Seek an authorized delivery partner for EC-Council certifications to ensure you receive iLab subscriptions and approved content
  • Exam Pass Guarantee: This extra assurance allows for those that do not pass the exam to retake the course at no charge and offers discounted retake vouchers
  • Online and in-person options: To fit your demanding schedule, find a flexible provider that offers both remote and on-site courses; if choosing in-person, look for a course that offers perks like meals or snacks
  • Courses designed by those with plenty of experience and taught by practitioners with real-world experience
  • Defense-grade penetration testing expertise
  • Certifications of practitioners, including the top seven discussed in this piece
  • EC-Council (the world’s largest cybersecurity technical certification body) Accredited Training Center (ATC)
  • Testimonials and reviews from satisfied clients

Alpine Security Courses for Cybersecurity Certifications

When looking for a cybersecurity certification course provider, Alpine Security has the experience and knowledge to help you achieve more in your career. Alpine Security believes three things make us unique in the industry: our people, processes, and products. These are the roots of our culture and all work together to offer you success. Learn more about our cybersecurity certification courses by viewing all our offerings today.

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