You might already be aware that cybersecurity is a growing profession. You might even be aware that it’s the fastest-growing tech progression in the United States. But are you aware of how to land your first cybersecurity job?
Unlike a lot of tech fields, cybersecurity experts can demonstrate their knowledge of specific techniques and technologies by acquiring certifications. These cybersecurity certifications often focus on specific topics of interest and can be acquired by passing the needed exam. Some mid- and senior-level certifications also come with prerequisites you must reach before attempting.
Do You Need a Cybersecurity Certification to Get a Job
Entry-level cybersecurity jobs—and most cybersecurity jobs—will be easier to get if you have certification. Do you need a cybersecurity certification to get a job? Not necessarily, but they will help you stand out in a crowded field and prove beyond a doubt what your capabilities are.
So ultimately, you don’t need one, but there are plenty of jobs that do require certifications, and you’ll be more likely to get hired and get paid more if you do have specific certifications.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a degree to learn enough to acquire any of these certifications. Well, a degree helps, simply enrolling in a cybersecurity bootcamp will prepare you for entry-level cybersecurity certificates like CompTIA Security+.
The Most In-Demand Cybersecurity Certifications
Now that you’ve decided to get a cybersecurity certification, where should you start? How about where the jobs are? There’s currently more than 500,000 cybersecurity jobs available in the U.S. alone, so there are plenty of avenues to explore before deciding.
That’s why we did the research to find out which cybersecurity certificates are the most desired right now among employers in the U.S.
1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional – CISSP
2022’s most in-demand cybersecurity certification is CISSP, offered by (ISC)². Earning your CISSP means you have documented experience in cybersecurity and are looking to level up your career.
You can’t be CISSP certified until you have a minimum of five years experience in any two of the eight cybersecurity domains. Although, a four-year cybersecurity degree does count for one year of experience, as does part-time and freelance work.
A mid-level cybersecurity certification topping the list is no surprise. As companies continue to take cybersecurity more seriously, expertise will be even more in demand.
2. Certified Information Systems Auditor – CISA
The No. 2 most in-demand cybersecurity certification at the moment is CISA, which is awarded by ISACA. Much like CISSP, CISA is a certification for experienced cybersecurity professionals and requires a minimum of five years experience.
However, it is more specialized than CISSP and entry-level certifications. CISA focuses only on security auditing techniques, like analyzing vulnerabilities, designing and shipping fixes, and compliance reporting.
That means CISA certification prerequisites are not only five years of experience, but those years must be in IT, auditing, compliance, or similar domains.
3. Certified Information Security Manager – CISM
Next up is another ISACA certification, this one focusing on management. CISM also requires five years of experience, although there are several ways to waive some of this requirement, including two years of general information security or use other certifications you’ve qualified for.
As this is a management certification, you can expect to make over $100,000 after acquiring it and finding the right job. Despite the obvious benefits, you should be sure you’re ready and willing to make the switch to management. While there are still technical things you’ll work on like infrastructure and development, you’ll also be a people manager, which naturally comes with aspects outside of cybersecurity.
4. CompTIA Security+
Probably the most familiar name on the list, CompTIA Security+ is the most common cyber-security certification. In order to truly begin your cybersecurity career, you’ll need this entry-level certification which has no prerequisites.
CompTIA Security+ is a broad certification that proves you are comfortable working in compliance, incident reporting, infrastructure, penetration trusting, and pretty much any other facet of cybersecurity.
While there are no requirements to be eligible, it’s important you have some either attend a cybersecurity bootcamp or get a degree before attempting certification.
5. Certified Ethical Hacker – CEH
Perhaps the most fun name on the list is Certified Ethical Hacker at No. 5. Presented by the EC-Council, a CEH will spend their time looking for weaknesses in their employer’s security network. Essentially, they are paid to think like the people who are trying to hack maliciously. If you become a CEH, you’ll be looking at jobs from some of the world’s top companies, or even governments and military branches.
There are two ways to become a CEH. You can qualify once you’ve worked two years in cybersecurity or you can simply take official EC-Council training. While salaries aren’t as high as some previous certifications on the list, it’s a great option if you’re looking to offer unique skills early in your career.
6. GIAC Security Essentials Certification – GSEC
The Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) offers several levels of cybersecurity certification. The GSEC is their entry-level certification and is comparable to CompTIA Security+, although you should have some professional IT experience before taking the exam.
If you acquire the GSEC you’ll be certified to work on things like cloud security, defensive infrastructure, cryptography, and incident response.
7. Systems Security Certified Practitioner – SSCP
Awarded by (ISC)², the SSCP is a mid-level certification that proves you can own and monitor a secure IT network. The SSCP is a great option if you’ve acquired CompTIA Security+ and are looking to make a step up.
Plus, all you need is one year of professional cybersecurity work. Some degrees will also qualify you for the SSCP, which makes it a great option for recent grads looking to get paid a little more in their first job.
8. GIAC Certified Incident Handler – GCIH
Another GIAC certification, the GCIH is an incident response-focused certification that is a good option early in your career. If you acquire the GCIH, you’ll demonstrate that you’re capable of cyberattack defense, investigation, and other incident-related aspects of cybersecurity.
There is no formal requirement for the GCIH, but you should have a good working knowledge of incident response before taking the exam.
9. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner – CASP
CompTIA’s second certification on the list is naturally a more advanced version of their entry-level certification. It’s a great option if you’re looking to advance your skills and career, but don’t necessarily want to take the step into management and want to continue to work on the technology aspect.
The CASP focuses on skills such as architecture, cloud security, risk management, and more advanced cybersecurity topics. There is no prerequisite for the certification, but CompTIA recommends at least 10 years of cybersecurity experience.
10. Offensive Security Certified Professional – OSCP
Rounding off our list of the most popular cybersecurity certifications right now is the OSCP. As the word offensive suggests, this certification is popular for penetration testers and ethical hackers.
If you enjoy solving puzzles and taking a more proactive role at work, the OSCP is one of the most in-demand certifications for penetration testers. There is no prerequisite for the OSCP, but you should be familiar with offensive technologies like Linux and Python.
What Cybersecurity Certification Should You Get?
The choice is ultimately up to you and what you have found interesting or fun in your early cybersecurity journey. First of all, you’ll need to get a cybersecurity certificate for beginners.
Once you’ve gotten your first one and started at your first job, spend some time exploring and playing around with different technologies. When you’re ready to get your next certification, make sure you find out which ones are most in-demand, and find the one that suits your skillset and personality.
Looking to do more penetration testing? Go for the OSCP or CEH. Hoping to enter management? Try the CISM. Do you want to build your own network? Look into CASP.
Make the choice that makes sense for you but can also get you the job you desire.
Cybersecurity Certification at Coding Dojo
One of the best ways to enter the world of cybersecurity is enrolling in a cybersecurity bootcamp. Coding Dojo’s online cybersecurity bootcamp will get you ready to get your first certification in just 24 weeks and a fraction of the cost of a degree.
Our bootcamp gets you up to grips with the basics of cybersecurity in just about eight weeks. By the end of the course, you’ll be enmeshed in the world of what it takes to be a professional cybersecurity expert. You’ll also receive vouchers to take the CompTIA Security+ exam or the CySA+ exam.
If you’re looking to expedite your career in the fastest growing tech sector, you can apply for Coding Dojo’s cybersecurity bootcamp today!