Which Cybersecurity certificate is right for you?
The analytics software company Burning Glass Technologies has published a report stating that cybersecurity job postings have grown by 94% in the last 6 years. The demand for cybersecurity specialists is outstripping the supply of candidates!
The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down all sectors, but it seems that cybersecurity jobs are much less affected than other IT professions. Maybe it is your time to join the cybersecurity path.
Getting into cyber security
When you look at the numbers, a career in cybersecurity sounds like an obvious choice. You can be hired as a Security Analyst, Cybersecurity Engineer, or a Penetration Tester and earn really good money. You will work with a variety of great solutions, such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP), event management systems, and of course, firewalls, switches, and other network devices.
Although it is important to have a degree in computer science or another closely related field, most employers will also expect you to be certified and have some hands-on experience in networking.
Learn to walk before you run
CompTIA Security+ is considered one of the first choices for a future security specialist. You might be surprised to learn that even though it is your first step in cybersecurity, you should have at least two years of experience in IT with a security focus! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Well, not really. Actually, when you think about it, it makes sense. How can you analyze a malware ransomware attack if you have not even installed an antivirus application in a production environment or configured a basic firewall before?
So, before we talk about cybersecurity certificates, here is a list of entry-level IT networking certificates that will help you to move up and form part of the cybersecurity world:
- CompTIA Network+ - a vendor-neutral certificate which teaches you core security concepts
- Cisco: CCNA – commonly seen as a must-have certificate for any IT job
- Microsoft: MTA Networking Fundamentals – covers key fundamental concepts of all networking topics
I am ready… give me a REAL cybersecurity certificate
When you know how a stateful firewall works and how to configure an access list, it is time to get a cybersecurity certificate. Here are your best options:
- Security+ - an entry-level cybersecurity certificate. The new edition (SY0-601) published in late 2020 covers some high-demand topics, such as penetration testing and security auditing.
- CySA+ - a path to become a Cybersecurity Analyst. You will learn about threat management, incident response, and risk mitigation.
- CBROPS – another certificate that counts as the first step in cybersecurity. You will master all security concepts and procedures.
- Other certificates:
- CEH – become a Certified Ethical Hacker. Prove you know how to analyze malware, identify a network attack, and understand all security concepts.
- CISSP – become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. This certificate is more focused on security principles and practices, preparing you to become a Chief Information Officer or a Security Manager.
- CISM – a management-focused security certificate
So… which cybersecurity certificate should I choose?
To be honest, as long as you have some hands-on experience and an entry-level general IT certificate, it does not matter. When you get certified, you boost your CV and increase your chances of landing an awesome cybersecurity job.
Let’s be honest for a moment – if you get Security+, CEH, and CCNA without any hands-on experience, it is not going to help your career. It is crucial to pay attention to the practical side of all these certificates and gain some experience.
They are not joking when they ask you to have at least 2 or 3 years of experience. The good news is that you can actually create a lab at home and see all these security concepts in action. Let me explain what I mean.
It is all about hands-on experience
When you open any security or cybersecurity book, you will probably start with some general terms, such as virus, trojan, and rootkit. After reading a few pages, you will clearly understand all the differences. Now stop there and see a virus in action. Here is how:
Install a virtual machine or use a test laptop to visit https://www.eicar.org/?page_id=3950 and see if your antivirus application identifies EICAR - a test virus. Check the log to see how this file has been identified and removed from the system. Take the same approach for every single security aspect you learn, and a cybersecurity path will be available to you much, much faster.
Another example? You will learn how important it is to create a secure password policy. Test it here and see if you can come up with a secure password: https://howsecureismypassword.net/
Play with it - you can create a password that will require NONAGINTILLION YEARS to crack... that’s 1 followed by 273 zeros… To make it clearer, it’s this:
They say you learn something new every day, don’t they?
Get prepared with MeasureUp learning materials
You also have our bundles to expand your learning experience and save more money. Bundles are put together for either a specific Job Role Path or a Complete Learning Solution for a specific title. In this case, Bundle CsyA+ (CS0-001): CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst – Pack is a great option!