Looking to switch careers in the New Year? There has never been a better time to consider a career in cybersecurity: U.S. businesses and government agencies spend billions of dollars annually to protect their data and assets from malicious attacks, and Forbes estimates that $170 billion will be spent globally by 2020.
Certification is a logical way to demonstrate your skills and knowledge and get your resume noticed, given the rising demand for qualified security professionals. Here are five certifications that will help you launch a career in cybersecurity.
1) Microsoft Security Fundamentals
The MTA Security Fundamentals certification is the most “introductory” of the certifications discussed in this article. The MTA Security Fundamentals is designed for high school and early college students, as well as those in the workforce seeking a career change. It validates knowledge of core security principles and the fundamentals of operating system, network, and software security. Certification requires passing a single exam, which costs $127.
Microsoft recommends having hands-on experience with Windows Server, Windows-based networking, firewalls, and other common security products to increase your chances of passing the MTA Security Fundamentals certification exam.
2) CompTIA Security+ Certification
Security+ is arguably the most well-known certification for entry-level security professionals. It covers a vast array of security and information assurance topics, such as network security, threats and vulnerabilities, access controls, cryptography, risk management principles, and application, host, and data security. The certification satisfies the requirements of U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570.01-M and complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act, both of which are essential for federal IT security professionals (FISMA).
Before taking the Security+ exam, CompTIA recommends that candidates have two years of relevant experience and earn the Network+ certification. With a cost of $311, this exam falls roughly in the middle of the price range for other entry-level certifications. The Security+ certification leads to a variety of positions, including security administrator, security specialist, and network administrator.
The single exam costs $150, and there are no expiration dates or recertification requirements for the certificate.
How To Network offers an advanced CompTIA Security+ Certification Training Program which helps in establishing the core knowledge required to clear the certification exam.
3) GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
GIAC targets system administrators, managers, and information security officers with a need for a comprehensive overview of information assurance principles, defense-in-depth techniques, risk management, security policies, and business continuity and disaster recovery plans with the GISF. Comparable topics are covered on the single GISF and CompTIA Security+ exams, but GISF is regarded as more difficult. In general, GIAC exams require test-takers to apply their knowledge and problem-solving skills, so training or on-the-job experience is highly recommended.
The cost of the GISF exam is $689 if you take a SANS training course and then take the exam. GIAC refers to taking the exam without completing training as a “certification attempt,” which increases the exam fee to a whopping $1,249. In the certification-attempt package, GIAC includes two practise exams.
Consider pursuing GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), an intermediate-level certification that goes far beyond foundational information security concepts, after earning the GISF.
4) (ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
The (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is likely the most well-known and sought-after certification in the security industry today. Nevertheless, (ISC)2 offers multiple security-related certifications, with the ANSI-accredited SSCP serving as the entry-level credential. The SSCP prepares you for entry-level positions such as systems security analyst, network security engineer, and security administrator if you lack prior technical or engineering-related information technology experience.
To earn the SSCP, you must pass a single exam covering seven CBK domains:
- Access Controls
- Security Operations and Administration
- Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis
- Incident Response and Recovery
- Network and Communications Security
- Systems and Application Security.
Before taking the exam, (ISC)2 recommends that you attend training courses or conference workshops, participate in webinars, and read white papers and books to ensure you have sufficient practical security knowledge.
The exam costs $250, and (ISC)2’s website offers a variety of study materials for purchase.
5) ISACA CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate
ISACA is well-known in the security industry for its Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certifications, as well as similar certifications that grant intermediate to advanced credentials. The CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate is a relatively recent addition to the ISACA certification programme and was created to fill an entry-level niche. This certificate focuses on five cybersecurity-related domains:
- architecture principles
- Network, system, application, and data security
- Incident response; and security of evolving technology. It is designed for recent postsecondary graduates and those seeking career changes.
The single exam costs $150, and the certificate has no expiration date or periodic recertification requirements.
How To Get Prepared for Exam
Be prepared to devote a substantial amount of time to self-study regardless of the certification that seems most appropriate. When preparing for a certification exam, many test-takers prefer to use a top-rated study guide along with some practice tests and flash cards. If your learning style is more conducive to formal instructor-led training, you should consider the associated costs and time commitments. Depending on whether you choose online, virtual classroom, or in-classroom delivery, certification-specific training costs typically range between $400 and $5,000 while some websites like Howtonetwork.com offers free study guide to the aspirants. Check out the link: CompTIA Security+ Study Guide