Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime in the U.S., and they continue to grow in size and sophistication. Companies like Facebook, Panera Bread, Under Armour and Uber made headlines after having customer information stolen. With each breach, administrative fears and the demand for cybersecurity certifications increase.
These fears are not unfounded. Centrify found that 66 percent of customers in the U.S. would likely halt any interaction with a business that's officially been hacked.
As a company, you might find yourself scrambling to hire top cybersecurity talent or equip your IT team with cybersecurity certifications. As an IT professional, the demand for cybersecurity skills presents a huge opportunity to boost your résumé, stand out among candidates and increase your earning potential.
Ready to jumpstart your IT career? Explore cybersecurity certifications here.
But with so many IT security certifications out there, where do you start?
As the leading IT training company, we compiled the top cybersecurity certifications IT professionals need to earn in 2019:
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NCSF)
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security
1. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
To stop a hacker, you must be able to think like one. It's an interesting balance between toeing the line of moral actions and processing the malicious thoughts the average cybercriminal would have. This kind of mentality isn't easy to come by, which is why the Certified Ethical Hacker course was created.
This class teaches the skills you need to think and act like a hacker.
- Hacking technologies that target cloud computing technology, mobile platforms and the latest operating systems
- Coverage of the latest vulnerabilities, malware and viruses
- Information security laws and standards
CEH students go through real-time scenarios where they are exposed to different ways hackers penetrate networks and steal information. Students learn how to scan, test and hack and protect their systems.
IT professionals who complete this course have many positions to choose from, the most notorious being penetration testing. Penetration testing jobs require you to hack into a network without actually stealing any data. This job function demands a high level of trust, which is well rewarded. Penetration tester salaries often top out at just over $130,000 annually, according to PayScale.
The CEH certification benefits security officers, auditors, security professionals, site administrators and anyone concerned about network infrastructure security.
Earn Your CEH Certification
2. CompTIA Security+
CompTIA Security+ is a base-level certification for IT professionals new to cybersecurity. You only need two years of IT experience to complete it. The CompTIA Security+ certification is regarded as a general cybersecurity certification because it doesn't focus on a single vendor product line.
In this course, you learn about broader IT security concepts, including:
- Network attack strategies and defenses
- Elements of effective security policies
- Network- and host-based security best practices
- Business continuity and disaster recovery
- Encryption standards and products
CompTIA Security+ is great for anyone looking to gain basic IT security knowledge. It helps build a solid foundation that you can enhance with other courses. The certification is so well-respected that the U.S. Department of Defense mandates it for all employees.
Because security applies to all levels and job roles, this course will also benefit application developers, PC support analysts and senior managers in accounting, sales and marketing roles.
Earn Your CompTIA Security+ Certification
3. Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)
Another popular certification for general cybersecurity knowledge is the Certified Information System Security Professional course. Many IT companies consider CISSP a base requirement for employees responsible for network security.
This course challenges you in various cybersecurity domains, including:
- Access Control
Like CompTIA Security+, this certification is not vendor-specific, so the knowledge can be applied to a variety of setups.
To take this exam, you need at least three to five years of field experience. The CISSP is considered the “crown jewel” of cybersecurity certifications, and passing the exam can lead to some incredibly lucrative positions. Security architects, for example, can make more than $150,000 annually.
The CISSP certification is a must-have for people looking to move into a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role. But it’s also a salary-booster for analysts, systems engineers, consultants and IT security managers.
Earn Your CISSP Certification
4. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
The Certified Information Security Manager certification is revered as one of the best cybersecurity courses out there, and for good reason. You need at least five years of experience in the field to even apply.
Over the course of this management-focused certification, you will learn about four sections of cybersecurity:
- Information security program development and management
- Information security management
- Information security incident management
- Information risk management and compliance
The exam is incredibly rigorous and demands a lot of time and knowledge, but the end result is worth it. Many CISM certification holders pursue a CISO title, a position that earns an average of $160,000 per year, according to PayScale.
Any IT professional interested in managing enterprise information security can increase their earning potential by taking this course.
Earn Your CISM Certification
5. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
The CISA certification focuses on information auditing. As an IT professional, being CISA-certified demonstrates that you have rigorous audit experience and are capable of managing vulnerabilities and instituting controls at an enterprise level.
Like its sibling test CISM, CISA requires applicants to have five years of experience before registering. Students learn about information systems control and monitoring skills, including:
- The process of auditing information systems
- IT management and governance
- Protection of information assets
A globally recognized certification, CISA is the main requirement for high-level IS audit, assurance and control positions.
Earn Your CISA Certification
6. NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NCSF)
The new NCSF certifications are built around the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, released in 2014.
By 2015, 30 percent of U.S. organizations were using the NCSF Framework, and adoption has only increased across enterprises, the public-sector and SMBs.
NCSF certifications validate that cybersecurity professionals have the baseline skills to design, build, test and manage a cybersecurity program using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
NCSF Foundation Certification
This program is for executives, business professionals or information technology professionals who need a basic understanding of NCSF to perform their jobs. NCSF Foundation training and certification helps establish a common NCSF vocabulary across an organization.
NCSF Practitioner Certification
This program teaches you the best approach to designing and building a comprehensive technology-focused cybersecurity program. You’ll learn how to operationalize a business-focused cybersecurity risk management program that will minimize risks and protect critical assets.
By earning your NCSF Practitioner certification, you’ll develop a deep understanding of NCSF and come away with a methodology for adapting and operationalizing it.
Earn Your NCSF Certifications
7. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Traditional IT security practices don’t transfer well to the cloud — 84 percent of organizations say traditional security solutions don’t work in a cloud environment.
The CCSP certification ensures that IT professionals have hands-on experience and a deep understanding of cloud security architecture, design, operations and services. It’s designed for security professionals with extensive experience in information technology, IT architecture, governance, cloud and web security engineering.
The certification covers a range of topics, including:
- Cloud architecture and design concepts
- Cloud data security
- Platform and infrastructure security
- Cloud operations
- Legal and compliance
It's an ideal certification for systems architects, systems engineers, security managers, security administrators and enterprise architects.
Candidates must have a minimum of five years’ experience of security-related work in a cloud-computing environment.
Earn your CCSP Certification
8. Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
More than 4,000 ransomware attacks occur every day, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A hacking forensic investigator is tasked with analyzing attacks and extricating information to report hacking crimes and conducting audits to prevent future attacks.
Forensic investigators explore everything from theft of intellectual property and corporate IT usage violations to IT system fraud and misuse.
The CHFI is an advanced certification for forensic network security investigators. It validates your ability to gather necessary evidence and prosecute offenders in a court of law.
The certification covers topics including:
- Incident response and forensics
- Recovering deleted, encrypted or damaged file information
- Technical examination, analysis and reporting of computer-based evidence
Earn your CHFI Certification
9. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security
The CCNA validates that you have the applicable knowledge and hands-on skills to protect Cisco networks.
If your organization utilizes Cisco technology or you’re interested in developing your Cisco skills, the CCNA is a strong associate-level certification that can propel your Cisco security career forward.
The CCNA certification demonstrates your ability to:
- Recognize threats and vulnerabilities in a Cisco network
- Mitigate security threats
- Develop an effective security infrastructure
The CCNA certification establishes a strong foundation for job roles including network security specialist, network support engineer and security administrator.
Earn your CCNA Certification
Choosing the Best Cybersecurity Certification for You
These top cybersecurity certifications will keep your IT staff up to date on the latest techniques and security best practices or help elevate your income and marketability.
But being security-aware is not only for IT professionals. All business staff should have a foundational understanding of cybersecurity and the risks technology poses.
So why aren’t more IT professionals investing in these skills? The biggest hurdle to earning a cybersecurity certification is time. Whether you prefer instructor-led or online learning, New Horizons can provide the right cybersecurity training experience for you.
Unsure which course you should take first? See which cybersecurity certification path is right for you using the New Horizons cybersecurity roadmap.