Regardless of your personal opinion on the effectiveness of industry certifications, the fact is they can have a very real impact on both job opportunities and earning potential. Especially when hiring managers are struggling to keep up with cyber security hiring demands, certification offers a helpful way to weed through applicants and hire faster. This post will help you understand exactly what certifications you could earn to boost your cyber security career.
Best Certifications For Entry-Level Cyber Security Roles
Do you think you have the right skills to, not only excel in, but enjoy a cybersecurity career? Whether you are currently in an IT Admin or Help Desk role or you are working in a totally unrelated field, the right cybersecurity certifications can help you get through the door and show a hiring manager that you have top cyber potential.
There are three industry-recognized entry-level cybersecurity certifications you should consider earning to help start your cyber career:
- CompTIA Network+: Validates basic networking skills.
- CompTIA Security+: Validates basic cybersecurity knowledge.
- Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate: Validates daily Security Operations Center (SOC) knowledge and skills.
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Best Certifications For Intermediate-Level Cybersecurity Job Roles
Once you have your foot in the door, experience will be your #1 advocate for progressing within your current company or moving up via a new organization. However, certification can still be a big factor in whether or not you get the job. For instance, if you are applying for a role within the government or with a government contractor directives such as DoD 8570.01-M or DoD 8140 require employees within certain cybersecurity job roles actively hold relevant cybersecurity certifications. Similarly, private organizations also need to ensure that employees hold a baseline understanding of security best practices to help mitigate potential risk to their business and up-to-date certifications can offer that assurance.
If you are within an intermediate-level cyber security role, then your work likely consists of either offensive or defensive cybersecurity challenges and there are three certifications that align with the skills needed for those positions:
- EC-Council CEH: Validates hands-on offensive cybersecurity skills.
- CompTIA PenTest+: Validates hands-on penetration testing skills.
- CompTIA CySA+: Validates defensive, hands-on cybersecurity detection skills.
Best Certifications For Advanced-Level Cyber Roles
As an advanced cybersecurity practitioner, you have two options for growing your career:
- Continue in a hands-on offensive or defensive cybersecurity role
- Transition to a leadership role where you oversea a cyber team or eventually grow into a CISO role
If you choose to stay in a practitioner role, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)+ is the only advanced-level cybersecurity certification to earn. CASP+ offers candidates advanced principals and tactical skills to secure complex enterprise environments.
If you choose to grow your leadership skills, then you have two certifications you can choose from but most professionals earn both, starting with the CISSP: