Are you looking to get a discount on popular programming courses? Then click here. View offers

Information Security & Ethical Hacking


Disclosure: Hackr.io is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.



10 Best Cybersecurity Certifications To Boost Your Career

Posted in Information Security & Ethical Hacking
best Cybersecurity Certification

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field, with a projected 33% market growth from 2020-2030. Considering the average for other industries is 8% – that’s pretty significant! And it’s no wonder, considering the rise of data breaches, including government hackers seeking important data. 

These days, you’ll find tons of cyber security jobs on various job boards, perhaps named slightly differently like “information security analyst” or “data security consultant.” You might consider exploring cybersecurity certifications to land these roles!

Let’s take a look at how a cybersecurity certificate can help you with your career, and what attributes to look for when choosing from the top cybersecurity certifications. 

First, what kind of cybersecurity jobs are there out there? 

Cybersecurity Job Options and Requirements

As a cybersecurity professional, your main goal is to protect data. Specific job duties might vary depending on the field you’re employed in – government, finance, technology, and healthcare organizations might have different nuances with how they approach cybersecurity, for example. 

Here are a few different career options you can choose from when seeking a career in cybersecurity: 

  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Information Security or Vulnerability Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Cybersecurity Architect
  • Security or Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Security or Cybersecurity Administrator
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Auditor
  • Security Director
  • Security Consultant
  • Cryptographer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Vulnerability Assessor
  • Incident Responder
  • Forensic Expert
  • Source Code Auditor
  • Security Manager

Can you score any of these roles armed with a certification for cybersecurity? Not quite. Most recruiters look for a minimal four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field as a baseline. Undergraduate education will typically cover a foundation in programming, artificial intelligence, cryptography, statistics, and ethical hacking. 

Your next method of standing out from the competition is securing a master’s degree in computer science or a related field. Graduate studies will cover ethics, biometry, cryptography, digital forensics, and more. Now, this isn’t usually a requirement for the above positions. However, you’ll often see it listed as “preferred” or “nice-to-have.” 

Maybe you have both a bachelor’s and master’s, or maybe you just have a bachelor’s degree. But the cherry on top is a cybersecurity certification. 

Best Cybersecurity Certifications

Here’s a quick overview of each certification to help you compare them: 

Certification

Cost

Prerequisites

Best For

CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

$950-$1,199

2 years of experience in information security; graduates of EC-Council training

Programmers interested in penetration tester roles.

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

$575 for members; $760 for non-members

5 years of experience in a managerial role related to information security 

Programmers interested in solidifying their managerial experience

CompTIA Security+

$381

2 years of IT security experience recommended, but not required

Aspiring cybersecurity professionals just beginning their careers

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

$480

No formal requirements, but the exam provider recommends this certification exam only to IT professionals with at least 10 years of experience

Security engineers and architects seeking more advanced roles in enterprise security

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

$749

5 years of experience in at least two cybersecurity topics areas like Security and Risk Management, Security Engineering, Software Development Security, Communication and Network Security, and more. 

Cybersecurity professionals looking to move into management and senior roles

GSEC: GIAC Security Essentials

$2,499

No specific prerequisites; however, we recommend getting familiar with basic computer science before enrolling

Cybersecurity beginners

ECSA: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst

$250

2 years of experience or completion of an EC-council training course

Cybersecurity beginners interested in penetration testing careers. 

SSCP: Systems Security Certified Practitioner

$249

No specific prerequisites; however, we recommend getting familiar with basic computer science before enrolling

Cybersecurity beginners

CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

$575 for members; $760 for non-members

5 years of experience in IT auditing or assurance. ISACA also recognizes degree programs in place of each two-year requirement of experience 

Experienced cybersecurity professionals looking to solidify their experience in auditing. 

GIAC Certified Incident Handler (CIH)

$2,499

No official prerequisites, though we recommend you have a basic understanding and relevant experience with security principles and networking protocols

Beginner cybersecurity professionals that want to specialize in incident response

1. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

How do the most secure organizations protect themselves from hackers? Ethical hacking. An ethical hacker tests an organization’s software security by attempting to hack into their system. This certification teaches you how to think and act like a hacker. Topics include hacking technologies, the latest vulnerabilities, information security laws, and standards. Students are put through real-time scenarios, exposed to hacking techniques, and taught how to scan, hack and protect their system from the same. This course benefits security professionals, site administrators, and anyone concerned with network security. Before applying to a penetration tester position, arm yourself with this certification.

Cost: $950-$1,199

Prerequisites: 2 years of experience in information security; graduates of EC-Council training

Best for: Programmers interested in penetration tester roles.

View Certification

 

2. CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)

This certification gives you the tools to excel in the management part of cybersecurity. Some topics of interest include: 

  • Security Risk Management
  • Program Development and Management
  • Governance
  • Incident Management and Response

Cost: $575 for members; $760 for non-members

Prerequisites: 5 years of experience in a managerial role related to information security 

Best for: Programmers interested in solidifying their managerial experience

View Certification

 

3. CompTIA Security+

comptia security plus cert

CompTIA is a respected authority in the cybersecurity industry, offering various certifications to support growth in cybersecurity careers and education. The CompTIA Security+ certification is a great certificate in cybersecurity for IT professionals just starting in the security field. The exam covers a wide range of topics, like cyber attacks, incident response, architecture and design, governance and compliance, risk management, and cryptography. 

Cost: $381

Prerequisites: 2 years of IT security experience recommended, but not required

Best for: Aspiring cybersecurity professionals just beginning their careers

View Certification

 

4. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

Moving up the certification ladder at CompTIA, the CASP is an advanced cybersecurity certification with hands-on experience in security engineering and architecture. Other topics covered include cryptography and governance. Despite the advanced level, this isn’t one of the best cybersecurity certifications for managers; instead, it’s a better fit for professionals who wish to work in technology as architects and engineers. 

Cost: $480

Prerequisites: No formal requirements, but the exam provider recommends this certification exam only to IT professionals with at least 10 years of experience

Best for: Security engineers and architects seeking more advanced roles in enterprise security

View Certification

 

5. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

CISSP

The CISSP is one of the best cybersecurity certifications for programmers and professionals seeking to advance their careers in the industry. It’s certainly not for beginners, requiring 5+ years of experience. It’s not uncommon to see security engineers and chief information officers with this designation; however, they likely have many others as well. The CISSP certification is the most common requirement or preferred qualification for cybersecurity job postings. 

Cost: $749

Prerequisites: 5 years of experience in at least two cybersecurity topics areas like Security and Risk Management, Security Engineering, Software Development Security, Communication and Network Security, and more. 

Best for: Cybersecurity professionals looking to move into management and senior roles

View Certification

 

6. GSEC: GIAC Security Essentials

GSEC

The Global Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) is one of the top cybersecurity certifications for beginner programmers looking to dive into the cybersecurity field. An entry-level certification, the GSEC is designed for professionals who aspire to occupy ‘hands-on’ security roles. Some topics covered include active defense, cryptography, cloud security, and incident response. And, graduates will have a strong basis to have authority in roles in these fields:

  • Information Security Program Development and Management
  • Information Security Management
  • Software Development Engineering
  • IT Auditing

Cost: $2,499

Prerequisites: No specific prerequisites; however, we recommend getting familiar with basic computer science before enrolling

Best for: Cybersecurity beginners

View Certification

 

7. ECSA: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst

ECSA

Also offered by the ECSA (like the CEH certification), the EC-Council Certified Analyst certification is a great choice for professionals interested in penetration testing positions. This certification is similar to the CEH certification. This certification gives you an understanding of hacking tools and the latest technologies. This certification is suitable to apply for more roles like Network Server Administrator, Information Security Tester, Firewall Administrator, System Administrator, Risk Assessment Professional, and more.

Cost: $250

Prerequisites: 2 years of experience or completion of an EC-council training course

Best for: Cybersecurity beginners interested in penetration testing careers. 

View Certification

 

8. SSCP: Systems Security Certified Practitioner

SSCP

Offered by (ISC)2, this certification ensures you’re equipped with advanced technical skills to implement, monitor, and administer IT infrastructure using best security practices, procedures, and policies established by cybersecurity experts. Some topics this certification deems you competent in include security administration, application security, incident response, and risk identification. The SCCP is one of the best certifications for cybersecurity if you’re on a budget, at a reasonable $249. 

Cost: $249

Prerequisites: No specific prerequisites; however, we recommend getting familiar with basic computer science before enrolling

Best for: Cybersecurity beginners

View Certification

 

9. CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

CISA

Offered by ISACA, this certification demonstrates your prowess in control implementation, vulnerability assessment, and compliance reporting. A renowned certification for auditing, the CISA requires extensive experience for eligibility. CISA-certified professionals tend to have careers in these fields:

  • Information Systems Auditing
  • IT Management and Governance
  • Protection of Information Assets

Cost: $575 for members; $760 for non-members

Prerequisites: 5 years of experience in IT auditing or assurance. ISACA also recognizes degree programs in place of each two-year requirement of experience 

Best for: Experienced cybersecurity professionals looking to solidify their experience in auditing. 

View Certification

 

10. GIAC Certified Incident Handler (CIH)

GIAC

Offered by the GIAC, the Incident Handler certification is a great cybersecurity certificate for professionals that aspire to solidify their authority in threat detection and response to security incidence. Professionals with this certification will have certified knowledge about common attack techniques and vectors. 

Cost: $2,499

Prerequisites: No official prerequisites, though we recommend you have a basic understanding and relevant experience with security principles and networking protocols

Best for: Beginner cybersecurity professionals that want to specialize in incident response

View Certification

 

How to Choose the Best Cybersecurity Certification For You

With so many reputable certification bodies and varied certifications, how do you pick the best one for your circumstances?

Think about the kind of career you’d like to pursue in cybersecurity. Are you more interested in incident response? Penetration testing? Security architecture? You’ll want to narrow down your interests to choose a certification that covers those areas. 

You should also conduct research into job opportunities. Which certifications do your dream jobs require or ask for? For example, you might be less inclined to spend thousands of dollars on certification if most job ads don’t require them. 

Conclusion

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing industry in the tech field brimming with job opportunities for IT professionals like yourself. Cybersecurity certifications are a great way to give yourself a competitive edge in the job market, whether you’re applying for network security engineer roles or even data analyst roles. 

Before paying for certification, try to gain some experience under your belt to ensure you score well on the exam. A great place to start? Cybersecurity tutorials

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a Cybersecurity Certification Worth It?

Yes, a cybersecurity certification is worth it. Many cybersecurity roles posted on job boards request it, and even if they don’t, the certification will help you shine apart from other applicants. 

How Do You Get Certified in Cybersecurity?

You must first be accepted into a certification program, then score a favorable result on an exam. 

Which Cybersecurity Certification Should I Get First?

We recommend starting with an entry-level certification if you have under two years of experience in the cybersecurity field. The EC-Council Certified Security Analyst is a great place to start. 

How Long Does it Take to Get Certified in Cybersecurity?

When considering preparatory courses and prep time, most cybersecurity professionals take up to two years to get certified. If you already have significant job experience, however, you might not need as much time to get certified. 

Does Cybersecurity Require Coding?

Beginner cybersecurity roles won’t often require a lot of coding, but you should have basic coding skills just in case. As you move up the cybersecurity career ladder, more coding will be required.

Is Cybersecurity a Good Career?

Yes. Cybersecurity professionals can anticipate a 33% market growth from 2020 to 2030, which promises job security. Salaries are also quite high, ranging between $70,000 - $120,000, with executive roles fetching even higher salaries. 

 

People Are Also Reading:

Barnali Chanda

Barnali Chanda

Barnali is a software developer, who eventually transformed into a technical documentation writer with her continuous research and development skills. She is an expert in C, C++, PHP, Python and RDBMS. She makes sure to evolve with technology. Thus, trained in BI, she is a Data Science enthusiast and is on the verge to pursue a career in Data Science. View all posts by the Author

Leave a comment

Your email will not be published
Cancel
Moshood
Moshood

I need a CyberSecurity Course and AI course for beginner

Daisy Palmer
Daisy Palmer

How can I get into cybersecurity with no experience?

Irvin Martinez
Irvin Martinez

You might think a career in cybersecurity is only possible for people from adjacent fields who already have the technical proficiency needed to make software and applications more secure, but there are opportunities for those who want to transition from a non-technical background as well. Having a non-technical background means you probably won’t have coding and development skills; however, it’s possible certain coding or development skills aren’t even necessary to be hired. Cyber policy analyst and technical writer are examples of non-technical cybersecurity jobs. These are positions you could obtain with skills you might already have.

Lula Robbins
Lula Robbins

Do you need a lot of math for cybersecurity?

Levi Young
Levi Young

Entry level cyber security careers generally only require basic math concepts that are used in binary, cryptography or programming tasks. Higher level math concepts such as calculus are not required in most cyber security positions, but may be a requirement in certain cyber security degree programs or advanced level careers.

Johnnie Massey
Johnnie Massey

Does cybersecurity require coding?

Benjamin Elliott
Benjamin Elliott

The majority of entry-level cybersecurity jobs do not require coding skills. However, being able to write and understand code may be necessary in some mid-level and upper-level cybersecurity positions that you will become qualified for after you’ve built a few years of experience.

Lindsey Alvarez
Lindsey Alvarez

Is cybersecurity a good career?

Felicia Logan
Felicia Logan

As hacks and data breaches continue to dominate headlines, it comes as no surprise that cyber security experts are among the most sought-after professionals. While the job is respectable and pays decently good, work in the information security industry can be demanding, stressful, and routine. At present, the growth in ‘networked’ economy has also fueled massive growth in cyber-crime, making it a cause for concern among most organisations, both public and private.

Caleb Schultz
Caleb Schultz

What certifications should I get for cybersecurity?

Franklin Buchanan
Franklin Buchanan

The demand for cybersecurity professionals has continued to increase over the past couple of years. Therefore, earning a certification in this field is an excellent way to boost your career prospects. CISSP is an advanced-level credential in the field of IT. It is designed for those professionals who are very passionate about pursuing a career in information security. CISM is a high level credential and it is aimed at the professionals in the field of IT who are responsible for developing, overseeing, and managing information security systems in different enterprise level applications. CompTIA Security+ is a vendor neutral security credential. It is globally recognized and well respected in the industry.

Rahul Bhichher
Rahul Bhichher

Why OSCP (offensive Security Certified Professional) is not in the list?

Cole Phillips
Cole Phillips

That's what I was wondering. It's better than every other cert on this list

TODAY'S OFFERS
close

Select from the best sales here

VIEW ALL DISCOUNTS