Day by day, the demand for ethical hackers and penetration testers increases because the number of cyber-attacks has grown exponentially in the last few years. Even companies like Google Facebook Netflix have been a victim of these cyber-attacks. So, security has become the number one priority of all IT organizations. According to Gartner, by the year 2022, the security market will reach about $170.4 billion. Since we are dealing with a huge amount of data securing the data has become a very complex task. There are very limited professionals in the security domain who are having the necessary competency to deal with current security issues in the IT domain. But now, the interest in the cybersecurity domain has increased among the IT folks. People now know that this domain has a huge potential, and that is why they have started mastering cybersecurity concepts and the tools involved in it.
There are multiple certification bodies who are examining security professionals and validating them through their certification program. If you are really good with the security concepts and tools, you will be able to achieve certification in cybersecurity. Now there are multiple cybersecurity certifications available in the market to create confusion among beginners about which certification to go for. In this article, I will talk about the best cybersecurity certifications for beginners. if you can get certified in any of these certifications, you will be considered a proven cybersecurity expert. The certificate will validate your expertise in the IT security domain and your command of security tools.
CompTIA Security+ Certification
The CompTIA Security+ exam is a globally acknowledged certification exam that confirms the standard skills you will need to perform important tasks that deal with security and pursue a career as an IT security professional. It is a very hands-on oriented certification. It ensures that the certified security professional is very well-groomed to solve any sort of issues that deal with information security. CompTIA Security+ is the first security certification that an IT professional who seeks a cybersecurity career should acquire.
The CompTIA Security+ certification is often considered one of the best information security certifications in the cybersecurity market. It is an Entry-level cybersecurity certification. The focus of this certification exam is core cybersecurity skills required by security and network administrators. It is also accredited by ANSI that ensures the capability to apply the required knowledge, skills, and attributes that are required to be compliant with the ISO standards.
SY0-601 is the latest version of the CompTIA Security+ exam currently. This certification will validate the knowledge and skills required to understand the enterprise security environment, recommend, and implement correct security solutions to the enterprise, monitor the security of hybrid environments, including cloud, IoT, and mobile. After this certification, you will know how to operate with applicable laws and policies, risk and compliance, and identify, analyze, and respond to cyber threats. The CompTIA Security+ certification exam has a maximum of 90 questions which are a combination of multiple-choice and performance-based questions. The duration of the test is 90 minutes. You must score at least 750 to pass this exam. The CompTIA Security+ certification exam fee is 370$. As CompTIA Security+ certified professional, you will be able to earn about $131,000 per year.
CEH stands for Certified Ethical Hacker. This certification authorizes an individual to have an understanding and knowledge similar to a hacker. A CEH certified professional can find flaws and vulnerabilities in a particular system by using multiple hacking tools. As a certified ethical hacker, you will be using different kinds of techniques and tools to test an organization’s IT security and to identify vulnerabilities, then you will use the results of such tests to remediate vulnerabilities, strengthen security and lower an organization’s risk factor. You will also be working with different departments of an organization to advise their security needs and requirements. A certified ethical hacker will also update security policies and procedures continuously, and finally, as an ethical hacker, you will provide training as a part of the company security awareness and training program.
The CEH certification has certain objectives, it establishes a minimum standard that a person should meet to become a professional security specialist. The exam is computer-based, with questions in multiple-choice format. The exam duration is for 240 minutes, and there is a total of 125 questions that you should answer, and you need to answer at least 88 of them correctly to pass the exam, which is roughly 70%. So, you need to get 70% or more to pass the exam successfully. The next step after you have attained certified ethical hacker certification is CEH practical exam. It is a 6 hour rigorous exam that requires you to demonstrate your skills on ethical hacking techniques such as network, scanning, vulnerability analysis, web application hacking and many more. You will have to answer about 20 challenges, and you need to score above 70% to pass the exam successfully. With certified ethical hacker credentials at entry level, one can earn $80,000, and with five to ten years of experience, you can make approx. $120,000.
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a networking certification offered by CISCO. A network engineer has a huge part to play in an organization by keeping the network on the organization secure all the time. CCNA 200-301 is the core networking certification that will validate the candidate on the ability to install, configure, secure, operate, and troubleshoot organization’s network in various aspects. Organizations know the ROI of a certified network engineer, so CCNA is a vital certification to go for.
The certification exam of CCNA checks your knowledge and skills on network fundamentals, IP services, IT connectivity, automation, programmability, and security fundamentals. The good thing for beginners about this certification is that there is no prerequisite to appear for this certification exam. You just need to have a good understanding of the topics covered in the certification exam, and you can go ahead and give the exam. Basic knowledge of IP address and network fundamentals is good enough to provide the certification exam.
The certification exam of CCNA 200-301 consists of 100-120 questions. Out of 1000, you will have to score at least 850 to pass this exam. The total duration of the CCNA certification exam is 120 minutes. The cost of the CCNA certification exam is 300 USD which includes proctoring facilities also. As a CCNA certified professional, you will earn between $55,000 to $90,000 per year, depending on the years of work experience in the IT domain. This certification is valid for 3 years from the day you achieve it, after 3 years, you will have to renew the certificate. With certification like CCNA, you will have multiple career path options such as Network Support Engineer, Network Associate, Helpdesk Engineer, System Administrator, Service Desk Engineer, etc.
CASP+ stands for CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner, and as the name suggests, it is an advanced certification offered by CompTIA, but important to know for beginners as well so that they can plan and prepare for it well. This security certification checks the knowledge and skills on enterprise security for its architecture, operations, integrations. You must also know about security risk management, research, and collaboration. This is a performance-based certification, and it is suited for practitioners who practically develop and implement security solutions and not for managers. A CASP+ certified professional creates policies and frameworks for implementing cybersecurity solutions.
The certification is well-aligned towards security projects in the government domain because DoD approves this certification for directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements and compliant with ISO 17024 standards. And since it is an advanced certification, you need to have 10 years of overall experience with 5 years of work experience in the security domain before attempting this exam. As a usual trend, most candidates first clear CompTIA Security+ certification, and then they appear for CompTIA CASP+ certification because a lot of fundamental topics in CASP+ are related to Security+ certification.
A certified CASP+ professional is responsible for planning, engineering, and implementing enterprise solutions, analyzing risk impact, translating business needs into security requirements, etc. The CASP+ certification exam has a total of 90 questions which are multiple-choice and performance-based types of questions. The duration of this exam is 165 minutes. The cost of this certification exam is 452$, and when you go for the basic bundle of 799$, you also get one retake and a self-paced study guide. CompTIA has not defined any passing mark for this exam as soon as you finish the exam, you will be intimated whether you passed or failed. As a certified CASP+ professional, on an average, you can earn about $104,650 per annum.
Informational Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² created the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification in 1994. This certification is quite popular and very much trusted by professionals in the security domain. This certification helps you define the design, architecture, controls, and management for a secure enterprise environment.
Although I would not say that this certification is for beginners, I have kept this certification on the list because it is important for beginners to know about this certification. It is preferred that a candidate who wants to try for CISSP certification should first go for a beginner certification. Most IT professionals who want to get into the management position in the security domain go for CISSP certification because it is more focused on management practices, principles, and strategies.
The CISSP certification exam has a total of 250 questions which are multiple-choice questions and advanced innovation-type questions. This exam’s duration is 6 hours, and to pass this exam, you have to score 700 out of 1000. The CISSP certification exam fee is 699$. To go for this certification, you should have 5 years of paid work experience, and you should have worked in at least 2 security domains, which are a part of the certification exam. With CISSP certification, you can get into job roles such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), IT director, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Security Consultant, Network and Security Architects, and many more management-level roles. With CISSP certification, on an average, candidates earn approx. $116,573, and as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), you can make approx. $164,412.
These are the best Cybersecurity certification for beginners. If you are looking to make a career in the security domain, you must prepare and get certified in one of the certifications mentioned in this article. I would recommend starting with either CompTIA Security+ or CEH certification.