Are you considering a career in IT security? These are the top three certifications that can help you on that path!
If you’re an IT professional who has a strong love for making sure the good guys win and the bad guys lose, then you might want to consider a career in IT security. Because IT security is essential across all companies, no matter how big or how small, there is always a demand for newly qualified security professionals.
Both the career progression and financial outcomes can grow pretty quickly in this dynamic sector of the IT market.
If you’ve decided this is the career move for you, you’ll next need to invest some time and money into getting certified. But which certifications are best, and what do they entail?
In this article we’ll be exploring three of the top IT security certification options starting from entry level to experienced professional.
This certification is a great starting point for new IT professionals looking to specialize in security as it covers a basic yet comprehensive understanding of networks, data, and of course security.
Security+ is a great way to show your prospective employer that you have an in-depth and thorough understanding of IT security as well as a degree of knowledge focused towards network and data management.
One of the best things about CompTIA is that it is vendor-neutral and recognized worldwide, meaning that wherever you decide to settle, your certification will remain valid. It is also one of the 5 course certifications required for IT professionals looking to work for the DoD, which gives security+ a bit of extra gravitas within the certification sector.
Security+ is also great for relative IT newbies, as it only requires 2 years of general IT experience to undertake and only requires the successful completion of one exam.
On average, IT professionals with Security+ can earn around $95,829 a year, making it a great choice for those looking to step up their career earnings too!
CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
CEH is great for those who are more established in their field and ready to learn advanced security techniques.
What makes CEH so different from other IT security certifications out there is its mantra: ‘to stop a hacker you need to think like a hacker’. That means that on this course, participants will actually learn hacking skills (known as ‘white hat’ hacking), which they can use to help defend their company from threats both in a preventative capacity and in an active hacking situation.
Through training for the CEH certification, you’ll learn the ins and outs of a variety of systems. You’ll be able to pinpoint their weaknesses and target vulnerabilities with the aim in turn of learning how to safeguard and reinforce these weaknesses to prevent cyber-attacks.
CEH’s strongest selling point is just how in demand qualified individuals are, with the certification being one of the DoD’s core 5 certifications expected, due to its usefulness and importance. Because of this, Certified Ethical Hackers can expect to make around $111,502 a year.
CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
The CISSP certification is designed for established IT security professionals who want to reach the peak of their careers. It requires a minimum of 5 years of full-time practical experience working with at least two of the eight key domains security professionals deal with.
Also known as (ISC)², the CISSP certification’s largest selling point is that it truly does represent the ‘gold standard’ of IT security certifications. Like Security+, it is vendor-neutral, recognized globally, and is seen as a standardized level of IT security competency — meaning that working internationally is no problem. It is also, like CEH and Security+, one of the 5 key certifications required by the US Department of Defense.
The main drawback of the CISSP certification (aside from it require such a large degree of industry experience) is that those certified will be required to undertake annual continuing credits, which can incur further costs.
Average salaries of those that are CISSP certified vary between $73,627 and $119,184 a year. However, with it being so globally recognized, estimated salaries might be higher or lower from country to country.
A Bright Future
While the costs for training and certification may be daunting for some, it is important to remember that you are investing in your future. By increasing your qualifications, you are increasing your potential lifelong earnings.
That means that after a few years, your certification investment will likely be paid off in full! It’s also worth asking around within your company, as your employer may opt to pay for your training, or may offer a subsidy program to help you take your next steps.
Most importantly, whatever certification you choose, one thing is certain, the IT security industry is booming, offering fast employment, career progression and working opportunities from the DoD to the whole wide world!