Whether you’re thinking of switching jobs, or you simply want to be prepared for any careers opportunities that might arise, obtaining a cyber security certification (or an IT security certification) is something you should keep in mind.

The process of getting your own cyber security certification might seem tedious for some people. However, the rewards definitely make up for the process. Because we want to help you out, we thought we’d provide you with a comprehensive guide on cyber security certifications. This contains all the important information you should know.

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The Basics of Cyber Security Certifications

When we say cyber security, we mean many different things, from intrusion, to forensics, to ethical hacking. All these types of cyber security come from different accredited institutions, such as EC Council, CompTIA, ISACA, or GIAC. In order to get a certification, you have to enroll in their program. Typically, they offer three main programs, according to your previous knowledge of cyber security. Thus, cyber security certifications can be entry-level, intermediate, and of course expert.

The entry level certification is designed to provide you with the basics of cyber security. These are the main principles, tools, practices, technologies, and so on. If you’re already familiar with these, then you should definitely opt for either an intermediate level certification, or an expert one. Both of them already assume that you have a certain amount of experience in the field.

A really important thing that you should keep in mind when it comes to cyber security certifications is that you can use them no matter your job position or the organization you’re going to work for. That’s because they’re universally recognized. However, what you do have to do is renew these cyber security certifications every 3 to 4 years.

How Much Do You Have to Pay for Cyber Security Certifications?

One of the biggest concerns of people who want to obtain cyber security certifications is the cost of the entire process. For instance, the exam that you have to take at the end of the training for the entry-level certification costs around $300 to $600. Also, you should consider the amount of time you’re going to spend on this training. Especially if you don’t have that much free time. The same level of certification takes about three to nine months to finalize.

teachers showing trainees things on computers

If money is what concerns you, make sure to check whether the university you’re studying at, or the company you’re working for are willing to cover the costs. There are many cases in which this is true. Some companies cover the entire costs, while others cover at least part of them.

Are Cyber Security Certifications Worth It?

The answer to this questions varies from person to person. That’s mostly according to whether that person had any use for the certification or not. However, most people agree that having a cyber security certification is something you should be looking forward to. That’s because it will look great on your resume. Furthermore, it will help persuade future employers that you are right for the job. If you acquire this certification while you’re already working in a company, it will increase your chances of getting a promotion and/or a raise.

Main Types of Cyber Security Certifications

CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)

If you’re interested in business systems and information technology, and want to make a career auditing, monitoring, and assessing them, then this cyber security certification is definitely a good choice for you. It comes from ISACA, or the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. The CISA certification is available for people who pass an exam and then apply for the opportunity to get one. Once you do get one, you’ll be able to prove that you are knowledgeable in assessing vulnerabilities, reporting on compliance, and establishing control.

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

This is a high-level certification, so it’s not suited for people who are still entry-level or intermediate. However, it’s one of the most well-known cyber security certifications. So it will definitely go a long way to building your CV. In a top made by ITCareerFinder in 2014, the CISSP certification was the second top-paying one. This certification is focused on management and security policy. It trains professionals to design and implement information security programs of their own. At the same time, they’ll also learn how to manage them.

CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)

If you’re in a managerial position, like CIO of IT security, then you should consider applying for this certification. This one also comes from ISACA. It aims to make you understand the connection between the main goals of your company and your information security program. As in the case of the CISSP, you will also learn how to implement your own program. If you want to receive this certification, you’ll have to pass an exam first. Moreover, you’ll have to be able to prove that you’ll continue your education and keep yourself up to date in the field of business information security.

CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

Finally, we’re ending our list of some of the best and most well-known cyber security certifications with a CEH certification designed for penetration testers and white hackers. Since hackers always come up with new ways to disrupt systems, the need for highly trained white hackers increases as well. This certificate comes from EC-Council, and it’s perfect for people at the intermediate level. It aims to teach you all about scanning networks, footprinting, worms and viruses, system hacking, sniffers, session hijacking, cryptography, and many others.

faceless person in a hoodie hacking into a computer

Summing It All Up

As we hope we’ve managed to prove with today’s guide to cyber security certifications, having one such certification is going to provide you with an advantage over fellow competitors who don’t. Whether you’re looking for a new job, or simply for the possibility of advancing at your current job, it’s definitely worth investing some time and money into obtaining a cyber security certification. Luckily, there are many organizations who offer one. So all you have to do is choose the one that best suits your needs.

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