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5 Great ‘Starter’ Cybersecurity Certifications
- April 14, 2023
Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field, and if you’re considering a career change, now is the perfect time to do so. With US businesses and government agencies spending billions of dollars annually to safeguard their data and assets from malicious attacks, there is a high demand for qualified security professionals. Certification is a great way to prove your skills and knowledge and improve your hiring chances. Here are five excellent certifications to help kickstart your cybersecurity career.
With the demand for qualified security professionals soaring, certification is a logical way to verify your skills and knowledge and get your resume noticed. We’ll highlight five certifications to help launch your cybersecurity career and offer exam preparation tips.
The following cybersecurity certifications are excellent ways to firm up your skill set and bolster your resume for hiring managers seeking to attract and retain the best employees.
The following are typical IT certifications crafted to equip you for beginner-level roles in information technology. The compilation encompasses introductory certifications that provide a broad overview of various skills and certifications that impart more specific and specialized skills to prepare you for your desired IT career path.
The Microsoft Certified Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals certification is entry-level for students, business users, and IT professionals. It covers cybersecurity topics, including general Microsoft 365, Azure, and general IT knowledge or work experience. Passing a single exam, which costs $99, is required to achieve this certification. Microsoft recommends utilizing its self-paced Microsoft Learn content, attending instruction events, taking practice exams, and shadowing people who work in security, compliance, and identity management.
ISACA offers certificates, such as Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), that grant intermediate to advanced credentials. The Cybersecurity Fundamentals certificate, on the other hand, covers four cybersecurity-related domains and is aimed at entry-level IT professionals. The exam costs $150 for ISACA members and $199 for nonmembers, and the certificate does not expire or require periodic recertification.
Perhaps the most well-known entry-level security certification is the CompTIA Security+, which covers a wide array of security and information assurance topics, including:
- Network security
- Threats and
- Access controls
- Risk management
- Application, host and data security
The certification meets U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570.01-M requirements – an essential item for anyone looking to work in IT security for the federal government – and complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act.
CompTIA recommends that candidates have two years of relevant experience and achieve the Network+ credential before taking the Security+ exam. At $392, this exam lands midway between the least and most expensive compared to other entry-level certifications. The Security+ certificate leads to such jobs as a security administrator, systems administrator and network engineer, among others.
- GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF):
GIAC gears the GISF certification toward system administrators, managers and information security officers who need a solid overview of computer networks, security policies, incident response and cryptographic principles.
The GISF exam is considered to be more challenging than the CompTIA Security+ exam. GIAC certification exams generally require test takers to apply knowledge and problem-solving skills, so hands-on experience gained through training or on-the-job experience is recommended.
The GISF exam costs $949. Although GIAC includes two practice exams in the certification-attempt package, this exam price is exceptionally high.
After achieving the GISF, consider pursuing the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), an intermediate-level certification that takes a big step beyond foundational information security concepts.
- (ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP):
The (ISC)2 offers several security-related certifications, with the ANSI-accredited SSCP filling the entry-level slot. The SSCP exam covers seven common body of knowledge (CBK) domains and prepares you for jobs such as security analyst, network security engineer, and security administrator. (ISC)2 recommends attending training courses or conference workshops, participating in webinars, and reading white papers and books before taking the exam. The exam costs $2,490, and (ISC)2 provides a range of study resources for purchase on its website.
Entry-level certifications are an excellent way to begin, improve or navigate your career path as an IT professional. By pursuing and obtaining such certifications, you can showcase your eagerness to acquire new knowledge and skills and develop the sought-after abilities that current and prospective employers seek in their workforce.
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