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Top 34 Cyber security Certifications to Grow Your Career

This guide provides an overview of 34 of the most popular and respected cybersecurity certifications. We have organized them by career stage and specialism, so you can easily find the ones that are most relevant to you.

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Author Medusa

Medusa

12 mins

Introduction to CyberSecurity Certifications

In cybersecurity, certifications are a key way to validate your skills and expertise. Whether you're starting out or looking to advance in your career, there's a Cybersecurity certification to meet your needs.

Entry-Level Cybersecurity Certifications

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is a global certification that validates baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career.

CompTIA is a globally recognized non-profit trade association that offers a wide range of IT certifications. They are known for providing vendor-neutral certifications that are relevant across various IT disciplines.

Prerequisites: Recommended to have CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus.

Exam Details: CompTIA A+ 220-1101 (Core 1) and 220-1102 (Core 2). Covers threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities; risk management; architecture and design; technology and tools; and cryptography and PKI.

Preparation: Study through CompTIA's official materials, online courses, and practice exams. You will need to dedicate two to three months to prepare for the exam.

Average Cost: The cost of the exam voucher is $370, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: CompTIA Security+ is often a prerequisite for IT security jobs. According to PayScale, the average salary for professionals with this certification ranges from $42,128 to $95,829.

Many professionals have shared their positive experiences with obtaining the CompTIA Security+ certification. For example, one IT professional stated,

Getting my CompTIA+ certification opened the door to a variety of job opportunities. I've been able to advance in my career and increase my salary significantly.

CompTIA A+

2. Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate is a certification that focuses on security operations center (SOC) operations, providing foundational knowledge and the skills required in incident response, security monitoring, and detection.

Cisco is a globally recognized leader in networking technology and services. They offer a variety of IT certifications, including this one that is designed for individuals seeking to develop a career in cybersecurity.

Prerequisites: While there are no formal prerequisites, it is recommended that candidates have knowledge of basic network and security concepts.

Exam Details: The exam code is 200-201 CBROPS. It covers security concepts, security monitoring, host-based analysis, network intrusion analysis, and policies and procedures.

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

Average Cost: The cost of the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification can vary, but it typically falls around $300, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: Cisco provides courses and materials to help prepare for the exam.

Real-World Value: Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate is a valuable certification for individuals seeking to work in a SOC or in roles that require knowledge of incident response, security monitoring, and detection. The certification can open doors to a variety of job opportunities in the cybersecurity field.

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate Success story

3. Certified Network Security Specialist (CNSS)

Certified Network Security Specialist cybersecurity certification validates the ability to design and manage network security. While there are no prerequisites, having a background in networking and security is helpful.

CNSS focuses on network security essentials and best practices.

Prerequisites: None, though a background in networking and security is helpful.

Exam Details: Emphasis on network security essentials and best practices.

Preparation: Various training courses.

Average Cost: The cost varies depending on the provider of the course and materials.

Preparation: The preparation time can vary, depending on one's background in networking and security.

Real-World Value: CNSS certification can be beneficial for professionals in the field of network security.

4. CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)

CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) applies behavioral analytics to networks to improve the overall state of security by identifying and combating malware and advanced persistent threats (APTs). It's recommended to have Network+ and Security+ or equivalent knowledge and a minimum of 4 years of hands-on information security or related experience.

Prerequisites: Recommended to have Network+ and Security+ or equivalent knowledge; minimum of 4 years of hands-on information security or related experience.

Exam Details: CS0-002; covers threat and vulnerability management, software and systems security, compliance and assessment, security operations and monitoring, and incident response.

Preparation: Utilize CompTIA study materials, community resources, and practical experience.

Average Cost: The cost of exam and training materials range from $400 to $1000.

Preparation: The preparation time can vary, depending on one's background and experience in information security.

Real-World Value: CySA+ certification can open up opportunities in cybersecurity analysis and related fields.

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CyberSecurity Certifications for Core Cybersecurity Roles:

These cybersecurity certifications are focused on foundational cybersecurity roles and knowledge.

1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

CISSP is an advanced-level cybersecurity certification recognized globally. It's often demanded by companies for their information security staff.

ISC², a renowned non-profit organization, offers this certification. It covers eight security domains from the ISC² CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).

Prerequisites: It's recommended to have five years of cumulative, paid work experience in two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP.

Exam Details: The exam covers eight security domains from the ISC² CISSP CBK.

CISSP Exam

Preparation: ISC2 provides study guides, courses, and community groups for preparation.

Average Cost: The cost varies depending on the region.

Preparation: The preparation time can vary, depending on one's background and experience in information security.

Real-World Value: The CISSP certification can be a prerequisite for many advanced-level information security jobs. According to PayScale, the average salary for professionals with this certification is quite competitive.

CISSP roles

2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

CISM is a globally recognized certification provided by ISACA that focuses on management and governance rather than the technical aspects of security. It's for those managing, designing, overseeing, and assessing an enterprise’s information security.

Prerequisites: It's recommended to have five years of experience in information security management.

Exam Details: Covers information risk management, information security program development and management, information security management, and incident management.

Average Cost: The cost of the CISM certification exam is $575 for ISACA members and $760 for non-members, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: ISACA provides study materials, and there are also online courses and workshops available.

Real-World Value: CISM certification can be beneficial for professionals in information security management.

CISM

3. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

CISA is a globally recognized certification offered by ISACA. It's for those auditing, controlling, and ensuring an enterprise’s IT and business systems are monitored, managed, and protected.

Prerequisites: It's recommended to have five years of experience in IS audit, control, assurance, or security.

Exam Details: Focuses on information systems auditing process, governance and management of IT, information systems acquisition, development and implementation, information systems operations and business resilience, and protection of information assets.

Average Cost: The cost of the CISA certification exam is typically around $575 for ISACA members and $760 for non-members, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: ISACA offers resources including study guides, review courses, and practice exams.

Real-World Value: CISA certification can open up opportunities in IT and business systems auditing and management.

CISA Cybersecurity Certification

4. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

SSCP certification is offered by ISC2 and is targeted at IT administrators, managers, directors, and network security professionals who want to demonstrate their knowledge across different security practices and principles.

Prerequisites: It is recommended to have one year of cumulative paid work experience in one or more of the seven domains of the SSCP.

Exam Details: The exam covers seven domains including access controls, security operations and administration, risk identification, monitoring and analysis, incident response and recovery, cryptography, network and communications security, and systems and application security.

SSCP CyberSecurity Certification

Average Cost: The average cost of the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) certification exam is around $250, but it may vary depending on the region or any additional training materials or courses.

Preparation: It is recommended to prepare through ISC2's official training and study guides, as well as online resources and community forums.

Real-World Value: SSCP certification is recognized globally and can open up opportunities in various IT and network security roles.

5. Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)

GIAC is a globally recognized certification that provides skills and knowledge in areas like security administration, forensics, management, audits, and software security.

Prerequisites: The prerequisites vary based on the specific certification within the GIAC program.

Exam Details: The exam details depend on the specific track chosen. GIAC covers areas from cybersecurity fundamentals to advanced defensive and offensive cybersecurity skills.

GIAC CyberSecurity Certifications

Average Cost: The cost of GIAC Certification can range from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the specific certification track within the GIAC program, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: GIAC recommends various SANS courses for preparation depending on the certification track, as well as practice tests and review sessions.

Real-World Value: GIAC certifications are recognized globally and can open up a wide range of opportunities in the cybersecurity field.

Penetration Testing Certification

1. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

CEH CyberSecurity certification is provided by EC-Council and validates the specific discipline of Ethical Hacking in network security from a vendor-neutral perspective.

Prerequisites: It is recommended to have two years of work experience in the Information Security domain or an EC-Council approved educational training.

Exam Details: The test assesses your skills in securing computer systems by identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities, using the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker but in a lawful and legitimate manner.

CEH CyberSecurity certification

Average Cost: The cost typically falls around $500 - $600 for the exam voucher, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: Preparation includes studying through EC-Council's official training and study materials. Practice labs and exercises are also recommended. The preparation or study time can vary based on the individual's background and dedication, but generally, it is recommended to dedicate 1-2 months for preparation.

Real-World Value: This certification can open the door to various job opportunities in the field of ethical hacking.

CyberSecurity Job roles mapped to CEH

2. Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE)

The CPTE certification is provided by Mile2 and measures the ability to utilize process-oriented approaches to penetration testing and security assessment.

Prerequisites: An understanding of networking and network security technologies is recommended.

Exam Details: The exam covers five key elements of penetration testing: information gathering, scanning, enumeration, exploitation, and reporting.

Average Cost: The average cost of the CPTE certification exam is around $400, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: Mile2 offers courses and training kits for the CPTE exam. The preparation time can vary, depending on one's background in network security, but generally, it is recommended to dedicate 1-2 months for preparation.

Real-World Value: This certification can boost your career in penetration testing and security assessment.

Who should take CPTE course

3. Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT)

The Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) is a step above the Certified Ethical Hacker certification, designed to showcase advanced concepts of penetration testing and vulnerability assessment management.

Prerequisites: Candidates must pass the ECSA exam and have at least two years of penetration testing experience.

Licensed Penetration Tester

Exam Details: The exam is a rigorous process that simulates a real-world penetration testing scenario.

Average Cost: The cost typically falls around $500 - $600 for the exam voucher, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: EC-Council provides a Master Class for advanced learning and preparation. The preparation or study time can vary based on the individual's background and dedication, but generally, it is recommended to dedicate 1-2 months for preparation.

Real-World Value: This certification can enhance your career prospects in the field of penetration testing and vulnerability assessment.

Licensed Penetration Tester Roles

4. GWAPT (GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester)

GWAPT certification emphasizes on web application security, equipping professionals with skills to perform web application penetration tests and spot vulnerabilities.

GIAC is a globally recognized organization that provides a variety of IT certifications, including the GWAPT certification that is specifically designed for individuals looking to specialize in web application security.

Prerequisites: Although there are no formal prerequisites, it is recommended that candidates have knowledge of web application technology and security.

Exam Details: The exam centers around web application exploits and penetration testing methodology.

GWAPT

Preparation: GIAC and SANS offer resources and courses to help prepare for the exam. It is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the GWAPT certification exam can vary, but it typically falls around $1,899, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The GWAPT certification is a valuable asset for individuals seeking to work in web application security or in roles that require knowledge of web application penetration testing and identification of vulnerabilities.

GWAPT certification roles

5. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

OSCP certification focuses on real-world attack simulations and penetration testing. It is recognized for its rigorous hands-on exam.

Offensive Security provides a course called Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK) as the primary method of preparation.

Prerequisites: Solid understanding of TCP/IP networking, Windows and Linux operating systems, and familiarity with Bash/Python scripting. Learn to use open source tools for security testing such as zap or Akto.

Exam Details: A 24-hour practical exam where the candidate must compromise multiple machines and networks.

OSCP Syllabus

Preparation: Study through Offensive Security's official materials, online courses, and practice exams. he preparation time for the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with penetration testing concepts. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 3-6 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the OSCP certification exam and training bundle typically falls around $999, not including additional study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The OSCP is often a prerequisite for IT security jobs, particularly those focused on penetration testing. The rigorous nature of the certification and its focus on practical skills makes it highly valued in the industry.

OSCP

6. Offensive Security Web Expert (OSWE)

OSWE is an advanced certification focusing on the practical aspects of web application security, including penetration testing and exploit writing, from Offensive Security.

Prerequisites: Recommended to have experience with web application security and a strong understanding of web technologies.

OSWE Syllabus

Exam Details: A hands-on practical exam where candidates must audit, identify, and exploit vulnerabilities in web applications.

Preparation: Offensive Security offers the Advanced Web Attacks and Exploitation course specifically designed to prepare for the OSWE exam. You will need to dedicate two to three months to prepare for the exam.

Average Cost: The cost of the OSWE certification exam is approximately $800, not including the cost of training courses or study materials.

Real-World Value: OSWE certification is often a prerequisite for IT security jobs. The certification can open doors to a variety of job opportunities in the cybersecurity field.

OSWE

Specialist CyberSecurity Certifications

CyberSecurity Certifications for those focusing on specific areas within cybersecurity.

1. Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

CHFI certification is for individuals who want to demonstrate their skills in detecting hacking attacks and extracting evidence to report the crime and conduct audits to prevent future attacks. It's recommended to have experience in IT security or IT network systems.

Prerequisites: Recommended to have experience in IT security or IT network systems.

Exam Details: Focuses on computer forensics, digital evidence collection, and analysis.

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

Average Cost: The cost of the Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification exam is typically around $500 - $600, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: EC-Council offers official training and online resources. Study duration for the CHFI certification can vary based on individual's background in IT security. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 1-2 months for adequate preparation.

Real-World Value: CHFI certification can open up opportunities in the field of cybersecurity forensics.

2. AWS Certified Security - Specialty

AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification, offered by AWS, validates the expertise in securing data and applications in the AWS cloud.

Prerequisites: At least two years of hands-on experience securing AWS workloads and a strong understanding of AWS security services and features are recommended.

Exam Details: Topics such as incident response, logging and monitoring, infrastructure security, identity and access management, and data protection are covered.

AWS Certified Security - Specialty

Preparation: Preparation can be done through a variety of resources provided by AWS, including courses, documentation, whitepapers, and practice exams. Preparation time for the AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with AWS security. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 1-3 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost varies depending on the region, but it typically falls around $300, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: This certification can open up opportunities in the field of cloud security, particularly for roles that involve securing AWS applications and data.

3. Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA)

The CTIA cybersecurity certification is provided by EC-Council. It is designed to help individuals develop expertise in understanding, analyzing, and applying knowledge to defend against modern cyber threats.

Prerequisites: It is recommended that candidates have knowledge of cybersecurity concepts and experience in the field.

Exam Details: The exam focuses on threat intelligence principles, the intelligence lifecycle, data collection and analysis, and how to produce and disseminate threat intelligence.

CTIA

Preparation: EC-Council provides official training and study materials for preparation. The preparation time for the Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with cybersecurity and threat intelligence concepts. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost varies depending on the region, but it typically falls around $500, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The CTIA certification can open up opportunities in the field of cybersecurity, particularly for roles that involve threat intelligence and defense against cyber threats.

CTIA roles

4. Google CyberSecurity Certification

The Google CyberSecurity Certification is designed to provide individuals with the foundational skills needed for an entry-level role in IT support, which can include aspects of cybersecurity.

Google is a globally recognized leader in technology and provides this certification through the Grow with Google program.

Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this certification, making it a great option for those new to the field or those looking to make a career change.

Exam Details: The Google IT Support Professional Certificate includes a course on IT Security, which covers key cybersecurity topics such as encryption, network security, and threat identification.

Preparation: Google provides a 100% online and self-paced course, which is designed to be completed in about six months when dedicating 10 hours per week.

Average Cost: Access to the program costs $49 per month on Coursera, which includes unlimited access to the courses, graded assignments, and projects.

Real-World Value: Since Google is a renowned name in the tech industry, this certification can help open the doors to various entry-level IT roles, including those with a focus on cybersecurity.

Management and Strategy Certifications

For professionals aiming for leadership roles or specializing in policy and strategy.

1. Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)

CIPP is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of data protection laws and regulations.

Prerequisites: While there are no formal prerequisites, a background in data protection laws and practices is recommended.

Exam Details: The examination varies by region (e.g., CIPP/E for Europe, CIPP/US for the United States). It focuses on privacy and data protection laws, key privacy concepts, and jurisdictional laws, regulations, and enforcement models.

Preparation: The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) provides textbooks, training, and practice exams. Depending on one's familiarity with data privacy laws and regulations, it is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost for the CIPP certification exam is typically around $550 for IAPP members and $650 for non-members, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: CIPP is often a prerequisite for data protection and privacy jobs.

2. Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE)

CDPSE is a technical certification designed for IT professionals to demonstrate their expertise in privacy solutions and data lifecycle management.

Prerequisites: It's recommended to have three years of experience in privacy governance, privacy architecture, and data lifecycle.

Exam Details: The exam covers privacy governance, architecture frameworks, and data lifecycle management.

CDPSE

Preparation: ISACA offers study materials and training courses. Preparation for the Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) certification can vary depending on the individual's background and familiarity with data privacy regulations and solutions. It is generally recommended to dedicate 3-4 months of study to prepare for the exam.

Average Cost: The cost for the CDPSE certification exam can vary, but it typically falls around $450 for ISACA members and $640 for non-members, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: CDPSE certification can open doors to a variety of job opportunities in the privacy and data management field.

3. Certified Security Compliance Specialist (CSCS)

CSCS is a certification that validates knowledge and skill in compliance regulations, standards, and practices in the cybersecurity industry.

Prerequisites: Relevant experience in IT security and compliance is recommended.

Exam Details: The exam focuses on IT governance, risk management, compliance, audit management, and standards like GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, etc.

Preparation: Various resources and training programs are available through compliance-focused institutions and organizations. It's recommended to spend about 2-3 months preparing for the Certified Security Compliance Specialist (CSCS) certification. This time may vary based on individual's background in information security and compliance.

Average Cost: The cost for the CSCS certification exam typically falls in the range of $300-$500, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: CSCS certification can be beneficial for professionals in the field of IT security and compliance.

4. Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO)

CCISO cybersecurity certification is geared towards high-level executives, focusing on governance, risk management, compliance, audit management, and the strategic aspects of running a security program.

Prerequisites: Recommended to have five years of experience in three of the five CCISO domains: governance, security risk management, controls, audit management, security program management and operations, information security core concepts, and strategic planning, finance, procurement, and vendor management.

CCISO

Exam Details: Covers the five domains of CCISO knowledge.

Preparation: Preparation can be done through training courses specifically designed for aspiring CISOs, offered by EC-Council. The preparation time for the Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with information security management practices. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 3-4 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost for the CCISO certification exam typically falls around $999, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: Being a CCISO certified can open up opportunities for high-level executive roles in information security.

5. Information Systems Security Management Professional (ISSMP)

The ISSMP cybersecurity certification is a concentration area of the CISSP and focuses on the management aspects of information security.

Prerequisites: Must have a valid CISSP certification and two years of experience in one or more of the ISSMP domains.

Exam Details: Covers leadership and business management, systems lifecycle management, risk management, threat intelligence and incident management, and contingency management.

ISSMP

Average Cost: The cost for the ISSMP certification can depend on various factors, including the region and any additional training courses or materials. Typically, it falls around $600-$800, not including study materials or courses.

Preparation: ISC2 provides specialized training and materials for ISSMP domains. The preparation time for the Information Systems Security Management Professional (ISSMP) certification can vary based on one's background and familiarity with information security management principles. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation.

Real-World Value: ISSMP certification can open up opportunities in information security management. The ISSMP Certification is great for those working in roles such as:

  • Chief Information Officer

  • Chief Information Security Officer

  • Chief Technology Officer

  • Senior Security Executive

Advanced Technical CyberSecurity Certifications

Geared towards individuals seeking to delve deeper into technical aspects and hands-on skills.

1. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

CCSP certification is designed for IT and information security leaders responsible for applying best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration.

ISC2 a globally recognized leader in IT and cybersecurity certifications, offers this certification. It covers various aspects of cloud security including architectural concepts and design requirements, cloud data security, cloud platform and infrastructure security, cloud application security, operations, and legal and compliance.

CCSP

Prerequisites: Recommended to have five years of cumulative, paid work experience in information technology, of which three years must be in information security and one year in one of the six domains of the CCSP CBK.

Exam Details: Covers architectural concepts and design requirements, cloud data security, cloud platform and infrastructure security, cloud application security, operations, and legal and compliance.

Preparation: ISC2 provides study materials and official training courses. The preparation time can vary based on an individual's background in information technology and cloud security. For the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification, it is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation. This timeline can vary depending on the individual's background and familiarity with cloud security concepts. There are various resources available for preparation, including official study guides, online courses, and community forums.

Average Cost: The cost of the CCSP certification exam can vary depending on the region, but it typically falls around $350 to $600, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The CCSP certification is globally recognized and can open up opportunities in various IT and cloud security roles. including below positions:

  • Cloud Architect

  • Cloud Engineer

  • Cloud Consultant

  • Cloud Administrator

  • Cloud Security Analyst

  • Cloud Specialist

  • Auditor of Cloud Computing Services

  • Professional Cloud Developer

2. Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP)

ISSEP is an ISC2 certification designed for engineers focusing on the security aspects of system design, development, and deployment.

Prerequisites: A valid CISSP certification and two years of professional experience in engineering are required.

Exam Details: The exam covers systems security engineering, certification and accreditation, technical management, and U.S. government information assurance regulations.

ISSEP

Preparation: ISC2 offers study guides and courses designed for ISSEP candidates. The preparation time for the ISSEP certification can vary depending on the individual's background and familiarity with information systems security engineering concepts. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate about 2-3 months of study time for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the ISSEP certification exam can vary depending on the region, but it typically falls around $600 - $800, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The ISSEP certification is often a prerequisite for IT security jobs focusing on system design, development, and deployment. ISSEP is great for following roles:

  • Senior Systems Engineer

  • Information Assurance Systems Engineer

  • Information Assurance Officer

  • Information Assurance Analyst

  • Senior Security Analyst

3. Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (ISSAP)

ISSAP is a concentration certification from ISC2, with a focus on security architecture within the CISSP framework.

Prerequisites: It's recommended to have a valid CISSP certification and two years of experience in one or more of the six domains of the ISSAP CBK.

Exam Details: It covers access control systems and methodology, communications and network security, cryptography, security architecture analysis, technology-related business continuity planning (BCP) and disaster recovery planning (DRP), and physical security considerations.

ISSAP

Preparation: Study through ISC2's official materials, online courses, and practice exams. Preparation time for the ISSAP certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with the CISSP framework and the six domains of the ISSAP CBK. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months of study for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the exam voucher for the ISSAP certification typically falls around $699, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: ISSAP is often a prerequisite for IT security jobs. According to certain sources, the salary for professionals with this certification can be quite competitive. ISSAP is great for folks in following roles:

  • System Architect

  • Chief Technology Officer

  • System and Network Designer

  • Business Analyst

  • Chief Security Officer

4. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

CASP+ certification is intended for those who wish to remain immersed in hands-on enterprise security, incident response, and architecture, rather than managing cybersecurity policy and frameworks exclusively.

Prerequisites: A minimum of ten years of experience in IT administration, including at least five years of hands-on technical security experience is recommended.

Exam Details: The exam covers enterprise security, risk management, incident response, research and collaboration, and integration of enterprise security.

CASP+

Preparation: Preparation can be done through CompTIA's training materials, along with various third-party books and online courses. The time needed for preparation can vary based on individual's background and dedication, but generally, it is recommended to dedicate a few months for preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the CASP+ certification exam can vary depending on the region, but it typically falls around $400 - $500, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The CASP+ certification can open up opportunities in the field of enterprise security, risk management, and incident response.

CASP+ certification value

Network and Cloud Security Certifications

Focusing on network and cloud infrastructure security.

1. Certified Network Defender (CND)

CND certification focuses on network security and defense, teaching individuals how to protect, detect, and respond to network attacks.

Prerequisites: Basic understanding of network operations; prior completion of Network+ or Security+ certifications is beneficial but not required.

Exam Details: Covers network attacks and defense strategies, network security policies and procedures, and various tools and techniques to manage and protect the network.

Preparation: EC-Council provides official courseware and training programs. The preparation time for this certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with network defense strategies and technologies. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost for the Certified Network Defender (CND) certification exam typically ranges from $300 to $400, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The CND certification can open up opportunities in the field of network security and defense.

CND

2. Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security)

CCNA certification validates associate-level skills and knowledge required to secure Cisco networks.

Prerequisites: Valid CCENT, CCNA Routing and Switching, or any CCIE certification can act as a prerequisite.

Exam Details: Covers security principles, secure access, VPN encryption, firewalls, intrusion prevention, and content and endpoint security.

CCNA

Preparation: Cisco provides study materials, courses, and practical lab exercises. Preparation for the CCNA Security certification usually involves a combination of self-study using Cisco's provided materials and potentially participating in a formal training course. Depending on the individual's existing knowledge and experience, preparation typically takes between 3 to 6 months.

Average Cost: The cost of the CCNA Security certification can vary, but the exam voucher typically costs around $300, not including study materials or training courses.

Real-World Value: The CCNA Security certification can open up opportunities in the field of network security, particularly for roles involving Cisco networks. Possible job roles:

  • Network Administrator

  • Network Engineer

  • System Administrator

  • System Engineer

Application Security Certifications:

1. Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP):

CSSLP certification validates the knowledge and expertise in application security from the inception of software development to disposal.

This certification, offered by ISC2, is specifically aimed at professionals who incorporate security practices – authorization, authentication, auditing, and risk management – into each phase of the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Prerequisites: It's recommended to have a minimum of four years cumulative paid Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) professional work experience in one or more of the eight domains of the ISC2 CSSLP CBK.

Exam Details: The exam covers secure software concepts, software requirements, software designing, software implementation/coding, software testing, software acceptance, software deployment, operations, maintenance and disposal, and supply chain and software acquisition.

CSSLP

Preparation: (ISC)² provides study materials, courses, and community groups for preparation.The preparation time for the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) certification can vary based on an individual's background and familiarity with software security. However, it is generally recommended to dedicate 3-4 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the CSSLP certification exam typically falls around $600, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The CSSLP certification can be a prerequisite for many software security jobs. According to PayScale, the average salary for professionals with this certification is quite competitive. CSSLP is great for the following roles:

  • Software Architect

  • Software Engineer

  • Software Developer

  • Application Security Specialist

  • Software Program Manager

  • Quality Assurance Tester

  • Penetration Tester

  • Software Procurement Analyst

  • Project Manager

  • Security Manager

  • IT Director/Manager

2. GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB)

GMOB certification focuses on securing mobile devices, applications, and environments, a critical area in Application Security (AppSec) and mobile computing.

Prerequisites: While there are no specific prerequisites, having knowledge of mobile device and application security is crucial.

Exam Details: The exam covers mobile device and application security, network communication, and security measures for Android and iOS.

GMOB

Preparation: Study through SANS's training courses, practice tests provided by GIAC, and exam preparation tips. GIAC provides online resources, community groups, and courses to help prepare for the GMOB exam. The preparation time can vary based on one's background in mobile device security, but it's generally recommended to dedicate 2-3 months for adequate preparation.

Average Cost: The cost of the GMOB certification exam is $1,999, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: GMOB certification can be beneficial for professionals focusing on mobile device and application security. The certification can open doors to a variety of job opportunities in the cybersecurity field. GMOB is for:

  • Security personnel who are responsible for securing mobile phones

  • Penetration testers

  • Ethical hackers

  • Auditors who need to build deeper technical skills

  • Network and system administrators

3. Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE)

Offered by EC-Council, Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) certification focuses on the main principles of application security and covers secure coding practices for different programming languages and platforms.

Prerequisites: Recommended to have knowledge of software development and security.

Exam Details: Covers secure coding practices, mitigation against common security vulnerabilities, and understanding security requirements.

Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE)

Preparation: Study through EC-Council's official materials, online courses, and practice exams. You will need to dedicate two to three months to prepare for the exam.

Average Cost: The cost for the Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) certification exam can vary, but it typically falls around $500 - $600, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: CASE certification is often a prerequisite for IT security jobs. The certification can open doors to a variety of job opportunities in the cybersecurity field.

CASE roles

Pro tip: CASE is a great cybersecurity certificate for security engineers looking to advance their career. It’s specially good to learn all aspects for security testing including SAST and DAST.

4. Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

Azure Security Engineer Associate certification focuses on securing cloud-based applications and services on the Microsoft Azure platform. It's broader than just AppSec but includes aspects of it.

Microsoft is a globally recognized leader in technology services. This certification is designed for individuals seeking to demonstrate skills in implementing security controls and threat protection, managing identity and access, and protecting data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of an end-to-end infrastructure.

Prerequisites: It is recommended to have experience with Azure services, security, and compliance.

Exam Details: Covers scripting and automation, a deep understanding of networking and virtualization, familiarity with cloud N-tier architecture, and the ability to identify threats using Microsoft Azure Sentinel.

Preparation: Microsoft Learn provides free online training, and Microsoft offers instructor-led courses to prepare for the exam. The preparation time can vary based on the individual's background and familiarity with Azure services and security.

Average Cost: The cost of the Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate certification can vary, but it typically falls around $165, not including study materials or courses.

Real-World Value: The certification can open doors to a variety of job opportunities in the Azure cloud security field.

Certification Level Career Path Impact1 Comp TIA Security

Dos and Don'ts of Cybersecurity Certifications

Dos:

  1. Choose a certification that aligns with your career goals: Different certifications cater to different roles in the cybersecurity field. Make sure the certification you choose aligns with the job role you aspire to.

  2. Understand the prerequisites: Some certifications require a certain amount of experience or prior certifications. Ensure you meet these prerequisites before you start preparing for the certification.

  3. Invest time in preparation: Most certifications require dedicated preparation over months. Make sure you allocate significant time to study and understand all the necessary materials.

  4. Take advantage of study resources: Most organizations offer study materials, online training, and community groups for preparation. Utilize these resources to aid your preparation.

  5. Plan for the costs: Certification exams can be costly, ranging from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. Make sure you plan for these costs ahead of time.

Don'ts:

  1. Don't rush into taking the exam: Take your time to understand the concepts and practice thoroughly before you take the certification exam.

  2. Don't neglect practical experience: While studying for the examination is important, having hands-on experience is equally crucial. Try to gain practical experience wherever possible.

  3. Don't ignore the value of the certification: Ensure the certification you're pursuing is recognized and valued in the industry. Check if it's listed as a preferred or required certification in job descriptions.

  4. Don't assume one certification fits all: The field of cybersecurity is vast with different specializations. No single certification covers all aspects of cybersecurity. You may need to pursue multiple certifications over your career to cover different areas of expertise.

  5. Don't forget to renew your certifications: Some certifications expire after certain years and require recertification. Make sure you're aware of these timelines and renew your certification as required.

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity certifications mentioned above validate skills and show dedication to growing in CyberSecurity. They can significantly impact career growth and opportunities. Each certification has unique value, so choose one that aligns with your career goals.

Earning a cybersecurity certification can be challenging but worthwhile for career growth.

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