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Best Cybersecurity Certifications for security professionals in 2022

Best Cybersecurity Certifications for security professionals in 2022. Elevate your career in information security with these in-demand credentials. Solidify your skills as a cybersecurity professional by becoming certified. Here is a list of some of the best cybersecurity certifications available today.

In this post, you will be enlightened on Which certifications are best for cyber security? In 2022 what is the highest paying cyber security certification? What is the easiest cyber security certification to get? What security certification should I get first? Is a cybersecurity certificate worth IT?

Cybersecurity (sometimes called computer security or information security) is the practice of protecting computers, networks, and data from theft, damage, loss, or unauthorized access. Cyber attacks are continuing to increase. We can blame it on how fast tech advances or the inability of businesses to keep up (or both). Regardless, the threat is serious.

Here’s a quick overview of the best cybersecurity certifications for security professionals in 2022 to help you compare them: 

CertificationExam CostPrerequisitesWho is it for
CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)$950-$1,1992 years of experience in information security; graduates of EC-Council trainingProgrammers interested in penetration tester roles.
CISM: Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)$575 for members; $760 for non-members5 years of experience in a managerial role related to information security Programmers interested in solidifying their managerial experience
CompTIA Security+$3812 years of IT security experience is recommended, but not requiredAspiring cybersecurity professionals just beginning their careers
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)$480No formal requirements, but the exam provider recommends this certification exam only to IT professionals with at least 10 years of experienceSecurity engineers and architects seeking more advanced roles in enterprise security
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)$7495 years of experience in at least two cybersecurity topics areas like Security and Risk Management, Security Engineering, Software Development Security, Communication and Network Security, and more. Cybersecurity professionals looking to move into management and senior roles
GSEC: GIAC Security Essentials$2,499No specific prerequisites; however, we recommend getting familiar with basic computer science before enrollingCybersecurity beginners
ECSA: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst$2502 years of experience or completion of an EC-council training courseCybersecurity beginners interested in penetration testing careers. 
SSCP: Systems Security Certified Practitioner$249No specific prerequisites; however, we recommend getting familiar with basic computer science before enrollingCybersecurity beginners
CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor$575 for members; $760 for non-members5 years of experience in IT auditing or assurance. ISACA also recognizes degree programs in place of each two-year requirement of experience Experienced cybersecurity professionals looking to solidify their experience in auditing. 
GIAC Certified Incident Handler (CIH)$2,499No official prerequisites, though we recommend you have a basic understanding and relevant experience with security principles and networking protocolsBeginner cybersecurity professionals that want to specialize in incident response

What are the Best Cybersecurity Certifications in 2022?

Top 5 in-demand and highest paying Cybersecurity Certifications for security professionals:

1. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

The CEH (ANSI) certification is an intermediate-level credential offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). It’s a must-have for IT professionals who are pursuing careers in white hat hacking and certifies their competence in the five phases of ethical hacking: reconnaissance, enumeration, gaining of access, access maintenance, and track covering. 

CEH credential holders possess skills and knowledge of hacking practices in areas such as footprinting and reconnaissance, network scanning, enumeration, system hacking, Trojans, worms and viruses, sniffers, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering, session hijacking, web server hacking, wireless networks and web applications, SQL injection, cryptography, penetration testing, IDS evasion, firewalls, and honeypots. CEH V11 provides a remapping of the course to the NIST/NICE framework’s Protect and Defend (PR) job role category, as well as an additional focus on emerging threats in the cloud, OT, and IT security, such as fileless malware.

To obtain a CEH (ANSI) certification, candidates must pass one exam. A comprehensive five-day CEH training course is recommended, with the exam presented at the course’s conclusion. Candidates may self-study for the exam but must submit documentation of at least two years of work experience in information security with employer verification. Self-study candidates must also pay an additional $100 application fee. Education may be substituted for experience, but this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Candidates who complete any EC-Council-approved training (including with the iClass platform, academic institutions, or an accredited training center) do not need to submit an application prior to attempting the exam.

Because technology in the field of hacking changes almost daily, CEH credential holders are required to obtain 120 continuing education credits for each three-year cycle.

Once a candidate obtains the CEH (ANSI) designation, a logical progression on the EC-Council certification ladder is the CEH (Practical) credential. The CEH (Practical) designation targets the application of CEH skills to real-world security audit challenges and related scenarios. To obtain the credential, candidates must pass a rigorous six-hour practical examination. Conducted on live virtual machines, candidates have presented 20 scenarios with questions designed to validate a candidate’s ability to perform tasks such as vulnerability analysis, identification of threat vectors, web app and system hacking, OS detection, network scanning, packet sniffing, steganography, and virus identification. Candidates who pass both the CEH (ANSI) and the CEH (Practical) exams earn the CEH (Master) designation.

2. CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

The CISM certification is a top credential for IT professionals who are responsible for managing, developing and overseeing information security systems in enterprise-level applications or for developing organizational security best practices. The CISM credential was introduced to security professionals in 2003 by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

ISACA’s organizational goals are specifically geared toward IT professionals who are interested in the highest-quality standards with respect to the auditing, control, and security of information systems. The CISM credential targets the needs of IT security professionals with enterprise-level security management responsibilities. Credential holders possess advanced and proven skills in security risk management, program development and management, governance, and incident management and response.

Holders of the CISM credential, which is designed for experienced security professionals, must agree to ISACA’s code of ethics, pass a comprehensive examination, possess at least five years of experience in information security management, comply with the organization’s continuing education policy and submit a written application. Some combinations of education and experience may be substituted for the full experience requirement.

The CISM credential is valid for three years, and credential holders must pay an annual maintenance fee of $45 (ISACA members) or $85 (nonmembers). Credential holders are also required to obtain a minimum of 120 continuing professional education (CPE) credits over the three-year term to maintain the credential. At least 20 CPE credits must be earned every year.

3. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA’s Security+ is a well-respected, vendor-neutral security certification. Security+ credential holders are recognized as possessing superior technical skills, broad knowledge, and expertise in multiple security-related disciplines.

Although Security+ is an entry-level certification, the ideal candidates possess at least two years of experience working in network security and should consider first obtaining the Network+ certification. IT pros who obtain this certification have expertise in areas such as threat management, cryptography, identity management, security systems, security risk identification and mitigation, network access control, and security infrastructure. The CompTIA Security+ credential is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to meet Directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. In addition, the Security+ credential complies with the standards for ISO 17024.

The Security+ credential requires a single exam, currently priced at $381. (Discounts may apply to employees of CompTIA member companies and full-time students.) Training is available but not required.

IT professionals who earned the Security+ certification prior to Jan. 1, 2011, remain certified for life. Those who certify after that date must renew the certification every three years to stay current. To renew, candidates must obtain 50 continuing-education units (CEUs) or complete the CertMaster CE online course prior to the expiration of the three-year period. CEUs can be obtained by engaging in activities such as teaching, blogging, publishing articles or whitepapers, and participating in professional conferences and similar activities.

4. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

CISSP is an advanced-level certification for IT pros who are serious about careers in information security. Offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, known as (ISC)2 (pronounced “ISC squared”), this vendor-neutral credential is recognized worldwide for its standards of excellence.

CISSP credential holders are decision-makers who possess the expert knowledge and technical skills necessary to develop, guide and manage security standards, policies, and procedures within their organizations. The CISSP certification continues to be highly sought after by IT professionals and is well recognized by IT organizations. It is a regular fixture on most-wanted and must-have security certification surveys.

CISSP is designed for experienced security professionals. A minimum of five years of experience in at least two of (ISC)2’s eight common body of knowledge (CBK) domains, or four years of experience in at least two of (ISC)2’s CBK domains and a college degree or an approved credential, is required for this certification. The CBK domains are security and risk management, asset security, security architecture, and engineering, communications and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations, and software development security.

(ISC)2 also offers three CISSP concentrations targeting specific areas of interest in IT security:

  • Architecture (CISSP-ISSAP)
  • Engineering (CISSP-ISSEP)
  • Management (CISSP-ISSMP)

Each CISSP concentration exam is $599, and credential seekers must currently possess a valid CISSP.

An annual fee of $125 is required to maintain the CISSP credential. Recertification is required every three years. To recertify, candidates must earn 40 CPE credits each year, for a total of 120 CPE credits within the three-year cycle.

5. CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

ISACA’s globally recognized CISA certification is the gold standard for IT workers seeking to practice information security, audit control, and assurance. Ideal candidates can identify and assess organizational threats and vulnerabilities, assess compliance, and provide guidance and organizational security controls. CISA-certified professionals demonstrate knowledge and skill across the CISA job practice areas of auditing, governance and management, acquisition, development and implementation, maintenance and service management, and asset protection.

To earn the CISA certification, candidates must pass one exam, submit an application, agree to the code of professional ethics, agree to the CPE requirements, and agree to the organization’s information systems auditing standards. In addition, candidates must possess at least five years of experience working with information systems. Some substitutions for education and experience with auditing are permitted.

To maintain the CISA certification, candidates must earn 120 CPE credits over a three-year period, with a minimum of 20 CPE credits earned annually. Candidates must also pay an annual maintenance fee ($45 for members; $85 for nonmembers).

What Cybersecurity Certifications Should I Get First?

Choosing your first cybersecurity certification can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to go with a widely respected industry standard like CompTIA Security+ that covers the fundamentals of cybersecurity.

More than half a million information technology pros have earned CompTIA Security+. There are several reasons for the certification’s popularity:

  • It is respected both industry-wide and globally. Employers know who CompTIA is. Because of this, CompTIA Security+ will add weight to your resume and give you immediate credibility with employers.
  • It is an entry-level cybersecurity certification. This makes it perfect for beginners without prior IT or work experience.
  • There are no prerequisites required for CompTIA Security+. That’s why it is an ideal first cybersecurity certification to earn.
  • It is vendor-neutral. Vendor-neutral certifications apply to any type of equipment. They provide foundational skills technicians need to successfully earn vendor-specific cybersecurity certifications in the future. These designations give IT pros the diverse skill set employers to want to see.

According to ServerWatch, CompTIA Security+ is “one of the best entry-level, vendor-neutral network security certifications.” It notes that CompTIA Security+ is also one of the highest-paying IT certifications. With a vendor-neutral certification like CompTIA Security+, technicians are prepared to successfully handle a variety of cybersecurity issues.

CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level cybersecurity certification, but that doesn’t mean it’s lightweight. It is chosen by more corporations and defense organizations than any other certification for validating baseline security skills. It is also popular because it fulfills the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 8570 compliance.

What Certifications Do You Need for Cybersecurity?

Getting started in cybersecurity can be a challenge, despite the fact that job vacancies abound. The right entry-level certification makes it much easier to start your cybersecurity career. But which beginner-level credential is best for you?

Entry-Level Certification Options

CompTIA Security+

Not only is CompTIA Security+ one of the most widely held and highest paying cybersecurity certifications, but it’s also a great entry-level, vendor-neutral certification for those new to cybersecurity. An article by Infosec placed CompTIA Security+ first on the list of the top 7 cybersecurity certifications to get in 2022. The article referred to the certification as “the first port of call on the way to studying more advanced certs.”

GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)

GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF) was designed for those who are new to information security and want to get into the field. It covers fundamental concepts of information security, including risks and information and the best ways to protect data.

Penetration Testing Certification Options

Interested in specializing in penetration testing? If so, you’ll need the right certifications. One of the best certifications for IT pros who want to get into penetration testing is CompTIA PenTest+.

CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA PenTest+, a vendor-neutral certification that helps IT pros master penetration testing, as well as gain vulnerability assessment and management skills. It is the most comprehensive exam on the market, covering all stages of penetration testing. Other penetration testing exams only cover some of the stages of penetration testing.

CompTIA PenTest+ ensures candidates can propose remediation techniques, communicate results to their management team and effectively provide practical recommendations. CompTIA PenTest+ can help you land a job role as a penetration tester, web app penetration tester, vulnerability analyst, security consultant or cybersecurity analyst. CompTIA PenTest+ is compliant with ISO 17024 standards and approved by the US DoD to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements.

GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)

GPEN is a vendor-neutral designation that prepares you to conduct effective penetration testing. It validates an IT pro’s skills for conducting a penetration test following best practices. Those who earn GPEN can confidently engage in reconnaissance, conduct exploits, and follow a process-oriented approach to penetration testing projects. GPEN is designed for ethical hackers, penetration testers, forensic specialists, and other IT security professionals.

Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

The Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) is an ethical hacking certification and a gateway certification into penetration testing. OSCP is a good certification option for network administrators and those already working in IT security, such as penetration testers, security consultants, cybersecurity engineers, cybersecurity analysts, and other security pros. An ideal candidate for this certification would have a comprehensive understanding of networking and TCP/IP. They would also be familiar with Linux, Bash scripting, and Python or Perl.

Senior-Level Cybersecurity Certifications

Getting at least one senior-level security certification can boost your pay and help you land a higher-level job role. It can also distinguish you as a subject-matter expert in cybersecurity.

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

CASP+ is a vendor-neutral, advanced cybersecurity certification designed for security architects, technical lead analysts, senior security engineers, and application security analysts. It covers the hands-on skills they need to implement impactful solutions within set cybersecurity policies and frameworks. 

CASP+ is the only performance-based certification designed for advanced cybersecurity technicians, not managers. It is unique in that it covers security architecture and engineering – not just one or the other. CASP+ is the only designation that enables technical leaders to assess cyber readiness within an enterprise and design and implement solutions that ensure an organization is prepared for future attacks.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is one of the most pursued and highest-paying cybersecurity certifications, according to Global Knowledge. The certification yields $147,885* per year. Candidates for the CISSP exam need at least five years of paid work experience as a security analyst. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science can trim off one year of the work requirement. If your sights are set on being a chief information security officer (CISO), security administrator, or security architect, CISSP might be the best cybersecurity certification for you.

GIAC Security Expert (GSE)

GIAC Security Expert (GSE) is also considered one of the best cybersecurity certifications for 2022, but this senior-level certification is among the most challenging to earn. There are several prerequisite certifications required for the GSE exam, including the GSEC, GCIA, and GCIH – all offered by GIAC/SANS Institute. Those who earn GSE prove that they have the highest level of expertise in many different areas of the cybersecurity discipline, including writing, hands-on technical work, research, collaborative work, and a solo presentation.

Cybersecurity career Options and Requirements in 2022

As a cybersecurity professional, your main goal is to protect data. Specific job duties might vary depending on the field you’re employed in – government, finance, technology, and healthcare organizations might have different nuances with how they approach cybersecurity, for example. 

Here are a few different career options you can choose from when seeking a career in cybersecurity: 

  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Information Security or Vulnerability Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Cybersecurity Architect
  • Security or Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Security or Cybersecurity Administrator
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Auditor
  • Security Director
  • Security Consultant
  • Cryptographer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Vulnerability Assessor
  • Incident Responder
  • Forensic Expert
  • Source Code Auditor
  • Security Manager

Can you score any of these roles armed with a certification for cybersecurity? Not quite. Most recruiters look for a minimal four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field as a baseline. Undergraduate education will typically cover a foundation in programming, artificial intelligence, cryptography, statistics, and ethical hacking. 

Your next method of standing out from the competition is securing a master’s degree in computer science or a related field. Graduate studies will cover ethics, biometry, cryptography, digital forensics, and more. Now, this isn’t usually a requirement for the above positions. However, you’ll often see it listed as “preferred” or “nice-to-have.” 

Maybe you have both a bachelor’s and master’s, or maybe you just have a bachelor’s degree. But the cherry on top is a cybersecurity certification. 

Frequently asked questions on the Best Cybersecurity Certifications

How do you get certified in cybersecurity?‎

Getting a cybersecurity certification typically involves passing an exam (sometimes multiple exams). Some certifications also require you to sign a code of ethics. To maintain your certification, you’ll need to complete a specified amount of continuing education.

How long does it take to get certified in cybersecurity?‎

The length of time you’ll need to prepare for a certification exam will depend on what you already know and what you’ll need to learn. Preparing could take anywhere from a week to several months (assuming you meet the work prerequisites).

What cybersecurity certification should I get first?‎

If you’re just starting out in cybersecurity, consider the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate to build foundational skills and get hands-on experience with cybersecurity analyst tools. Once you’ve established familiarity with cybersecurity technology and best practices, the CompTIA Security + is considered among the best entry-level, vendor-neutral credentials.

Does cybersecurity require coding?‎

You probably won’t need to know how to code for most entry-level cybersecurity jobs. The ability to read and understand code becomes increasingly helpful as you advance in the field. Some programming languages you might consider learning include JavaScript, HTML, Python, C, and C++.

Is cybersecurity a good career?‎

If you’re interested in computers, networks, and how they work, a career in cybersecurity could be a good fit for you. Jobs in the field tend to be in-demand and high-paying. The median salary for an information security analyst, for example, is $103,590 per year. 

What skills do I need for cybersecurity?‎

The skills, practices, and technologies you’ll use as a cybersecurity professional will continue to evolve along with computer and network technology. The desire to learn, ability to problem solve, and attention to detail will serve you well in this field. Other, more technical skills and technologies to learn include:

  • SIEM tools (security information and event management)
  • Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
  • Digital forensics
  • Mobile device management
  • Data management
  • Application security development
  • Audit and compliance knowledge

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