Network security is a big buzzword in the tech world and with good reason — people need to know their information is safe. With that in mind, which of these certifications can help you get a job in that booming field?
In the 21st century job market, careers in IT are some of the most hotly contested, and the difference between hiring and rejection can often come down to individual certifications. In this article we’ll be taking a look at two of the most popular and most sought-after certifications, CEH and CISSP, and weighing which one might be the most valuable for you and your career intentions.
The CEH certification stands for Certified Ethical Hacker, and is a qualification very much designed for the pitfalls of the internet age. Ethical hacking is where an IT professional uses the same hacking techniques as malicious hackers to protect and prevent a company’s systems from falling into the hands of criminals. Put simply, the statement at the core of CEH is; ‘to stop a hacker you need to think like a hacker’.
When enrolled in this course you will learn about a variety of systems, finding out where their weaknesses or vulnerabilities may be, and how you can identify and reinforce these gaps to prevent successful hacking attempts.
The CEH certification is suited to those more advanced or established in their field, as you will be expected to have a strong foundation of knowledge regarding IT. Technical knowledge is less expected, however having some awareness is always beneficial.
Standing for Certified Information Systems engineer, the CISSP certification is an internationally recognized qualification, and is ideal for those looking to work in multiple countries, as well as those uncomfortable with hacking.
In some regards however, being CISSP certified is a much more challenging process than gaining a CEH qualification. While courses can be completed in around six days, you are required to have a minimum of five years of experience across multiple databases before you even qualify to train.
One of the key benefits of CISSP is that it is so broad, and can be sought after and applied to a variety of different roles in the IT industry. If you’re looking to climb the IT employment ladder, then working towards a CISSP qualification is beneficial for achieving higher pay brackets.
Things to Consider
There are several factors which may influence whether you chose CEH or CISSP, both certifications or neither of them. After all, as these are high level, highly sought after qualifications, they can become expensive, unless you achieve the funding of your current employer.
1) Future Goals
One of the main deciding factors for selecting the right certification for you comes down to what you aim to get from taking it in the first place. Are you looking to become more hirable? Are you looking to become a specialist in a sector of IT? Are you looking to step up the career ladder?
Asking yourself questions such as these will help you to decide the type of certification most suited to your needs and wants.
2) What Knowledge and Experience do you Already Have?
As previously mentioned the CEH and CISSP certifications are not entry-level qualifications, and oftentimes you will need years of industry experience and knowledge before you are eligible to undertake them.
Not to despair if you’re just starting out on your IT career, however, as there are many other qualification options tailored to entry-level individuals, such as the various Cisco qualifications.
3) Is My Career Path in High Demand?
In terms of finding a job or climbing up the career ladder, there is no point in paying out for courses which give you a niche specialism which not many employers are looking for. Instead you should aim to find the happy medium between specializing, thus making yourself more desirable, and having a career pathway that is in high demand. The CEH, for example, epitomizes this balance.
With all the sensationalist media around data leaks and hacks, IT security is currently big business. However, by specializing in ethical hacking, you stand out from the competition who may only specialize in general network security.
The Big Question
So, all things considered, which qualification holds more value in the modern IT market? The answer is…both! As both IT security certifications are geared towards different career goals, the decision as to which one is more valuable is entirely down to you and what you aim to achieve.
Certain career pathways, such as working for the Department of Defense, even require you to have both certifications at a minimum, so depending where you want your IT skills to take you, your mind may already have been made up for you!
Once you decide which certification to pursue first, you can start the process of training for the tests that can help move your career forward. Armed with new, useful knowledge and a certification that proves you know your stuff, you’ll be able to find the perfect job to meet your career goals.