7 IT Security Certifications Employers are Looking for in 2015


The importance of reliable cybersecurity solutions has only been increasing in recent years, and with high-profile data breaches occurring so frequently, a growing number of companies are making greater security investments and pushing to hire the best IT security professionals available. According to the most recent IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index released by research and analysis firm Foote Partners, applicants with advanced IT certifications are not only looked upon more favorably than candidates without such achievements, but they can also expect to receive higher compensation. Pay for professionals with any of the more than 60 information security and cybersecurity certifications tracked by the ITSCPI has been steadily increasing since 2013, with an average 8 percent raise in market value over the last two years.

"It's been a long time coming, but 2015 will be a year when discretionary spending for security - that is, everything not related to compliance spending - will start to reflect the fact that … virtually every industry is formulating a cybersecurity strategy and searching for people with skills in this area," said David Foote, co-founder and chief analyst for Foote Partners. "There is ample evidence of a global gap in cybersecurity skills. But with a lack of consistency in jobs and career paths for security professionals, we can expect organizations to have difficulty attracting and retaining cybersecurity talent in the foreseeable future."

"Cybersecurity certifications have shown an average 8% raise in market value since 2013."
While there are a number of sought after IT certifications in the job market right now, below are the seven certifications that are most in demand based on increases in market value and premium pay:


The ISSEP certification was developed alongside the U.S. National Security Agency to ensure the highest standard of IT security. The certification deals with the integration of security methodologies and best practices for any information system, including applications, business practices and projects. The market value for an ISSEP certification increased nearly 37 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from the previous quarter.


Offered by the Global Information Assurance Certification group, the CPT certificate is ideal for IT professionals who deal with assessing target networks and systems in order to identify vulnerabilities. The certification provides information on the critical aspects of penetration testing methodologies, as well as the legal issues concerning penetration testing and the best way to conduct such a test. The market value for the a GIAC Certified Penetration Tester increased more than 28 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from the previous quarter.


Professionals with this certification prove to employers that they are able to conduct a comprehensive analysis of IT systems, as well as accurately interpret the evidence gathered through the analysis to deliver results to stakeholders efficiently and effectively. The CFA certification also enables candidates to demonstrate they are capable of performing such analysis within a constricted time frame. The requirements and testing scenarios to achieve the certification are constantly being updated to reflect the latest cyber threats and include real-world examples applicants may encounter. The market value for the CFA certification has increased more than 15 percent in the first quarter of 2015.


The ECSP certification deals with the fact that the majority of software vulnerabilities occur due to programming errors. Candidates with an ECSP certification have proven they are capable of developing programs using high-quality code by making use of best practices and reliable programming techniques that resist vulnerabilities. ECSP certifications are available for both .Net and Java systems, making the certification highly desirable. The value of such a certification has increased 12.5 percent since the beginning of 2015. Security certifications are one of the best ways to guranatee a good job and high salary in today's workforce.Security certifications are one of the best ways to guarantee a good job and high salary in today's workforce.


This certification was created by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants to test the abilities of IT professionals to identify holes and weaknesses in an end user's network defense by using the same methods malicious hackers would employ. IT professionals with Ethical Hacker certifications are greatly needed in the enterprise, as businesses hope to be able to catch critical vulnerabilities before cybercriminals do. According to the 2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted by business training and certification company Global Knowledge and Windows IT Pro, Certified Ethical Hackers make an average salary of $95,000.


IT professionals with a CISA certification have been tested to ensure they are able to manage critical vulnerabilities, ensure compliance with required IT standards and propose controls, processes and updates to an organization's policies. Applicants with this certification are often in charge of auditing, monitoring, controlling or assessing responsibilities within the IT or business network ecosystem. To achieve a CISA certification, candidates must have a minimum of five years in auditing, control or security experience and be able to pass an exam offered only three times a year. Because of the more rigorous requirements for the Certified Information Systems Auditor certificate, the average annual salary for an IT professional with such an achievement is $106,000.


IT professionals with a CISSP certification are proven to have the vendor-neutral security expertise necessary to complete high-level tasks that ensure the security of business environments in a variety of IT areas, including architecture, design, management and controls. Security is a growing concern for most enterprises, increasing the demand for IT professionals who are capable of identifying security vulnerabilities and improving defenses. Because of the rising interest in such IT workers, the average yearly salary for an employee with a CISSP certification is $110,600, according to the Global Knowledge survey. This high salary is due in part because of the need for professionals with such skills, but also because of the requirements to obtain such a certification. Candidates for a CISSP certificate must also earn Continuous Professional Education credits every year to maintain their certification, as well as have at least five years of full-time experience in at least two of the areas tested on the exam.

Improve your job prospects, Get Certified!

There has never been a better time to be a knowledgeable IT professional than right now. With so many unfilled positions throughout the enterprise, candidates with the appropriate certifications can take advantage of higher salaries than ever before. For IT workers looking to achieve the certifications that will give them a leg up in the current tech workforce, taking classes to achieve advanced certifications can give applicants a boost to their otherwise tired resumes.

Computer learning centers around the country offer courses on in-demand fields like cybersecurity and network administration, allowing students to gain experience in profitable areas. Classes can be taken online, at night or on the weekends to accommodate even the busiest schedule. Exams on a variety of advanced certifications are also available to make a resume stand out from the crowd and command the highest salary possible.

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Aug 2015

By: Terry Mott