Sep 13, 2022

10 Popular Cybersecurity Certifications [2022 Updated]

    Cybersecurity, often referred to as computer security or information security, is the practice of safeguarding computers, networks, and data from theft, damage, loss, or unauthorized access. With the increasing interconnectivity of our digital world, the opportunities for cybercriminals to steal, damage, or disrupt have grown significantly. As a response to the rising threat of cybercrime, the demand for cybersecurity professionals has surged. The job outlook in this field is expected to grow by 35 percent by 2028.

In this landscape, certifications have become essential markers of expertise, validating skills and opening doors to diverse career opportunities. Here is an in-depth exploration of ten prominent cybersecurity certifications, each tailored to specific roles and skill sets, providing a comprehensive guide for professionals aiming to enhance their careers in this dynamic field.

1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP):
  • Key Areas: Security and Risk Management, Asset Security, Communication and Network Security.
  • Benefits: Globally recognized, ideal for experienced professionals, validates expertise across various security domains.
  • Job Opportunities: Chief Information Security Officer, Security Administrator, IT Security Engineer, Senior Security Consultant, Information Assurance Analyst.
  • Requirements: Five or more years of cumulative work experience in at least two of eight cybersecurity domains.

2. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA):
  • Key Areas: Auditing, Control, Assurance, Information Security.
  • Benefits: Focuses on audit and assurance skills, suitable for IT auditors or consultants.
  • Job Opportunities: IT Audit Manager, Cybersecurity Auditor, Information Security Analyst, IT Security Engineer, Compliance Program Manager.
  • Requirements: Five years of experience in IT or IS audit, control, security, or assurance.

3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM):
  • Key Areas: Information Security Governance, Information Risk Management, Information Security Program Development.
  • Benefits: Emphasizes management and governance skills, suitable for IT professionals transitioning to leadership roles.
  • Job Opportunities: IT Manager, Information Systems Security Officer, Information Risk Consultant, Director of Information Security, Data Governance Manager.
  • Requirements: Five years of experience in information security management.

4. CompTIA Security+:
  • Key Areas: Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities, Technologies and Tools, Architecture and Design.
  • Benefits: Entry-level certification, covers fundamental security concepts, ideal for beginners in cybersecurity.
  • Job Opportunities: Systems Administrator, Help Desk Manager, Security Engineer, Cloud Engineer, IT Auditor.
  • Requirements: No strict prerequisites, but CompTIA Network+ certification and two years of IT experience recommended.

5. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH):
  • Key Areas: Ethical hacking, penetration testing, attack detection, vectors, and prevention.
  • Benefits: Focuses on offensive security, ideal for professionals interested in ethical hacking.
  • Job Opportunities: Penetration Tester, Cyber Incident Analyst, Threat Intelligence Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Cybersecurity Engineer.
  • Requirements: Two years of work experience in information security or completion of an official EC-Council training.

6. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC):
  • Key Areas: Active defense, network security, cryptography, incident response, cloud security.
  • Benefits: Entry-level certification, suitable for individuals with background in IT moving into cybersecurity.
  • Job Opportunities: IT Security Manager, Computer Forensic Analyst, Penetration Tester, Security Administrator, IT Auditor.
  • Requirements: No specific prerequisites, but some information systems or computer networking experience is recommended.

7. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP):
  • Key Areas: Access controls, risk identification and analysis, security administration, incident response, cryptography.
  • Benefits: Suitable for IT professionals working hands-on with an organization’s security systems or assets.
  • Job Opportunities: Network Security Engineer, System Administrator, Systems Engineer, Security Analyst, Database Administrator.
  • Requirements: At least one year of paid work experience in one or more of the testing areas, or a cybersecurity-related degree.

8. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+):
  • Key Areas: Enterprise security domain, risk analysis, software vulnerability, securing cloud and virtualization technologies.
  • Benefits: Designed for experienced professionals wanting to continue working in technology, rather than management.
  • Job Opportunities: Security Architect, Security Engineer, Application Security Engineer, Technical Lead Analyst, Vulnerability Analyst.
  • Requirements: Recommended for professionals with at least ten years of IT administration experience, including five years of hands-on security experience.

9. GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH):
  • Key Areas: Incident handling, computer crime investigation, hacker exploits, hacker tools.
  • Benefits: Focuses on offensive operations, suitable for professionals working in incident response.
  • Job Opportunities: Security Incident Handler, Security Architect, System Administrator.
  • Requirements: No formal prerequisites, but a good understanding of security principles and networking protocols is beneficial.

10. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP):
  • Key Areas: Penetration testing, exploitation techniques, producing detailed penetration test reports.
  • Benefits: Highly regarded certification for penetration testers, focusing on practical skills.
  • Job Opportunities: Penetration Tester, Ethical Hacker, Threat Researcher, Application Security Analyst.
  • Requirements: Familiarity with networking, Linux, Bash scripting, Perl or Python, and completion of the Penetration Testing with Kali course is recommended.

Before investing time and money in a certification, it's crucial to choose one that aligns with your career goals and provides a competitive advantage. These certifications not only validate your expertise but also serve as a testament to your commitment to the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity. Stay ahead in this digital arms race by honing your skills and becoming a certified cybersecurity professional.

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