Earning cybersecurity certification may boost your career potential, possibly giving you a better shot at earning a promotion or making a higher salary. Fortunately, the number of career paths within cybersecurity means there are a wealth of certification options to pursue.
Before earning certification in cybersecurity, it’s important first to earn a degree that will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the field. Adding on a certification after earning a degree in cybersecurity can help give you an added edge both within your organization and on the job market.
Cybersecurity certifications can prove especially valuable for experienced professionals who have decided to take the next step in their careers. With a degree and a major certification, they may make themselves more attractive candidates for leadership positions or for moving to a different company or industry.
Students have many options to consider. The following five information security and cybersecurity certifications rank among the major certifications in the field, each focusing on specific areas.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Organizations hire an ethical hacker to launch a cyberattack on their computer systems, exposing the security weaknesses they need to address. A CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification provides those who want to become an ethical hacker with all the latest information on tools, techniques and methodologies. Students take on hacking challenges and learn how to reverse engineer malware, among other skills.
Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
Coursework in the OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional) certification program also focuses on ethical hacking, also called penetration testing. Those who earn the OSCP learn the skills and tools needed to succeed in penetration testing and the mindset it takes to become a successful hacker.
Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)
Some cybersecurity experts focus on monitoring, assessing and auditing an organization’s information security systems. Earning a CISA (Certified Information Security Auditor) certification prepares you for that role. Students learn the auditing process, the proper governance and management of IT and the protection of information assets, among other skills.
GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler)
Those who earn the GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler) certification prepare themselves for roles in which they detect, respond and resolve cybersecurity incidents. In earning the GCIH, they learn to identify common attack techniques, vectors and tools. They also develop the skills and knowledge needed to respond to those attacks.
In some cybersecurity careers, the work focuses on designing systems built to withstand attacks. Those who earn a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification learn to design such systems and how to implement and manage them. Those who earn the CISSP also have formed a community that offers networking opportunities, educational tools and other resources.
Not every certification program is for every information security professional. But with the variety offered, it’s easy enough to find the cybersecurity certification program that will help prepare you for success in your chosen area of the field.