There has never been higher demand than right now for professionals with experience and expertise in cybersecurity. And the demand keeps growing. The great thing about this industry is that you do not need a four-year degree to prove your worth to prospective employers. The time you put in, the certifications you seek, and the level of demonstrable knowledge you have all speak for themselves and can be enough to land you a lucrative career.
Why Get Certified?
According to Cyber Seek, there are a total of 769,736 current cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. alone, with 1,108,725 already in the workforce. Many of these jobs require certain certifications to be considered. Beyond certification, you must prove your credibility with hands-on training. Passing an exam does not always equate to hands-on experience. Know what does? Training courses. Even with such high demand, you must set yourself apart from the crowd of applicants by demonstrating not only that you can pass an exam, but that you have the hands-on training to back it up.
There are a plethora of certifications and certification training courses out there, with new ones routinely being developed. It can be tough to decipher which ones are worth your time and money, but there is a handful of them that are absolutely worth their weight in gold. Seek the following certifications if you want to bolster your hiring potential, boost your salary, and build a skill set that sets you apart from the competition.
CompTIA Security+ Certification
Security+ is a popular, highly sought, and widely respected certification that leads to intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs. Globally recognized and vendor-neutral, this certification validates the basic skills needed to perform core security functions. The CompTIA Security+ exam emphasizes hands-on practical skills that are applicable in several job roles to secure systems, software, and hardware. Security+ complies with ISO 17024 standards, fulfills the Department of Defense 8570 compliance, and is chosen by more corporations and defense organizations than any other certification.
- Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
- Architecture and Design
- Operations and Incident Response
- Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Prerequisites: Recommended certification in CompTIA Network+, and two years of experience with security-focused IT administration.
Exam Price: $392
Average Salary of Security+ Certification Holders in the US: $115,170
GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)
The GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) certification validates a practitioner’s knowledge of information security beyond simple terminology and concepts. GSEC certification holders are demonstrating that they are qualified for hands-on IT systems roles concerning security tasks. renew the GSEC certification every four years.
- Defense in depth, access control, and password management
- Cryptography: basic concepts, algorithms and deployment, and application
- Cloud: AWS fundamentals, Microsoft cloud
- Defensible network architecture, networking and protocols, and network security
- Incident handling and response, data loss prevention, mobile device security, vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing
- Linux: Fundamentals, hardening and securing
- SIEM, critical controls, and exploit mitigation
- Web communication security, virtualization, cloud security, and endpoint security
- Windows: access controls, automation, auditing, forensics, security infrastructure, and services
Exam details: proctored remotely through ProctorU, and onsite proctoring through PearsonVUE. 106-180 questions in 4-5 hours. A minimum passing score of 73%.
Exam cost: $949
The average salary of GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) holders in the US: is $95,550
CyberSecurity Fundamentals Certificate (ISACA)
ISACA certification holders are among the highest-paid in the industry. Gain insight into the principles of data and technologies that frame and define cybersecurity, its language, and the integral role of cybersecurity professionals in protecting enterprise data and infrastructure.
- Information security fundamentals
- Threat landscape
- Security operations and response
- Securing assets
Exam details: Proctored remotely. Multiple choice and performance-based questions in a 2-hour exam. A minimum passing score of 65%.
Exam cost: $199
Average salaries for certificate holders in the US range from $103,000 to $133,000, according to Payscale.
Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) by (ISC)²
This Premier Security Administrator Certification is accredited, recognized, and endorsed by leading organizations around the world. This a great certification for professionals seeking jobs in operational security such as network security engineers, security systems administrators, cybersecurity analysts, and database administrators est for those who want to work in operational security. This is also a great way to improve the operational security of a company’s assets by those responsible for their organization. This certification meets the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1.
Skills demonstrated: Advanced technical skills and knowledge to implement, monitor, and administer IT infrastructure using security best practices, policies, and procedures established by the cybersecurity experts at (ISC)²
Exam details: 150 exam items. Four hours.
Exam price: $249, certification valid for 4 years.
The average salary for certification holders in the US: is $78,000
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
This high-level certification from ISACA adds significant credibility to professionals working in the field of IS/IT and demonstrates expertise in information security governance, program development, and management, incident management, and risk management.
- Information security governance
- Information security risk management
- Information security program
- Incident management
Prerequisites: 5+ years of professional information security management work experience.
Exam details: Remote proctoring or in-person at a testing center. 150 multiple-choice questions, four hours to complete. Passing score of 450/800.
Exam cost: $575 for ISACA members; $760 for non-ISACA members. Certification is valid for 3 years.
The average salary for certification holders in the US: is $150,040
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) by (ISC)²
Cybersecurity professionals who carry the CISSP are among the most sought-after security experts in the world. Highly respected and often requested by hiring personnel, this is a cybersecurity certification that while extremely valuable, is not entry-level. It’s a tough test that requires adequate training and on-the-job experience. Experienced chief security or information officers, managers, directors, and executives can prove their advanced knowledge in skills in security practices and principles.
Skills demonstrated: effectively design, implement and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program.
Prerequisites: 5+ years of cumulative paid work experience in two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP CBK.
Exam details: Administered by (ISC)2 Authorized PPC and PVTC Select Pearson VUE Testing Centers.125 to 175 multiple-choice and advanced innovative items. Four hours to complete. Passing score of 700/1000 points. The CISSP linear examination information is 250 multiple-choice and advanced innovative items; 6 hours to complete. Available in Chinese, German, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish.
Exam cost: $749
The average salary of certification holders in the US: is $120,552
EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEHv12)
EC-Councils’ C|EH is one of the most sought-after ethical hacking certifications. ANSI 17024 accredited, and with over 32,000 available jobs requesting candidates with a C|EH Certification, it is very worth the time and money. C|EH is recognized as a baseline certification by the United States Department of Defense for its cyber workforce and is the backend content for over 1,200 colleges and universities globally. This certification covers the widest set of domains in any cybersecurity certification and in passing the exam, candidates demonstrate their knowledge and skills in lawful hacking techniques and the latest hacking tools to identify security vulnerabilities.
- Information Security and Ethical Hacking
- Reconnaissance Techniques
- System Hacking Phases and Attack Techniques
- Network and Perimeter Hacking
- Web Application Hacking
- Wireless Network Hacking
- Mobile Platform, IoT, and OT Hacking
- Cloud Computing
- Port scanning tools
- Vulnerability detection
- Attacks on a system
- SQL injection methodology and evasion techniques
- Web application security tools
- SQL injection detection tools
- Communication protocols
Exam details: This is a two-parter – a 125 multiple-choice knowledge portion to be completed in 4 hours. This knowledge-based exam will test your skills in Information Security Threats and Attack Vectors, Attack Detection, Attack Prevention, Procedures, Methodologies, and more. The portion of the exam is the 20-question 6-hour C|EH Practical exam.
Prerequisite: recommended 2+ years of IT security experience (new on the path? No problem – EC Council offers a Free Cyber Security Essentials Series)
Exam cost: $1199; $550 for the practical exam; additional $100 for remote proctoring.
The average salary of Certified Ethical Hackers in the US: is $103,866
(ISC)² Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Demonstrating your knowledge and skills in cloud security will get you far in the cybersecurity industry. With cloud-based automation taking the world by storm, and its challenges changing daily, it’s crucial to have knowledgeable professionals keeping it secure. This exam is globally recognized as a leading certification that demonstrates a candidate’s ability to secure critical assets in the cloud. The exam proves a candidate has advanced technical skills and knowledge to design, manage and secure data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud using best practices, policies, and procedures established by the cybersecurity experts at (ISC)².
It is not an entry-level certification as it is ideal for IT and information security leaders responsible for applying best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration. The certification meets the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1.
Prerequisites: Five+ years of full-time experience in IT, of which three years must be in information security and one year in one or more of the six domains of the CCSP CBK.
Exam details: 150-multiple-choice-questions in four hours; Passing rate of 700/1000 points. The test is available in English, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.
Cost for the exam: $599 per attempt; administered by Pearson VUE.
The average salary for certification holders in the US is $150,400
GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
This is an excellent entry-level credential if you do not have very much experience in security and networking. Incident Handlers are in high demand, as evidenced by the frequent request for this certification for cybersecurity engineers and incident handling job postings. The exam focuses on skills needed by anyone in an IT role who performs hands-on IT security tasks. The GIAC Incident Handler certification evidence that the candidate can detect, respond, and resolve computer security incidents using a wide range of essential security skills and can manage security incidents by understanding common attack techniques, vectors and tools, as well as defend against and respond to such attacks when they occur.
- Incident Handling and Computer Crime Investigation
- Computer and Network Hacker Exploits
- Hacker Tools (Nmap, Metasploit, and Netcat)
Exam details: 106 application-based questions in four hours.
Exam cost: $949; $469 for renewal.
The average salary for Certified Incident Handlers in the US: is $100,000
Our training courses at Cyber Phoenix in combination with our partnerships with EC-Council and will not only prepare you for these certifications but demonstrate what it takes to succeed in a cybersecurity career. Our premium subscription packs a real punch – $17/month for full access to all of the training courses in our database so that you can confidently take certification exams to ignite your career in cybersecurity. Convenient, affordable, and totally up your alley. See what a subscription package with Cyber Phoenix can do for you.