10 Essential Cybersecurity Certificates for Professionals

June 21, 2019 • Shannon Flynn


Cybersecurity is an increasingly important and relevant topic in today’s society, and certifications can help professionals show that they’re ready to succeed in 2019 and beyond. If you want to earn cybersecurity certificates this year, here are 10 to consider:

1. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification prepares people to recognize the vulnerabilities in systems and networks that could make cybercriminals more likely to strike. EC-Council has a CEH certification program that requires participants to meet minimum ethical hacking standards, which helps establish the practice as a respected profession.

What Participants Need to Know:

  • Content comprising 20 modules
  • Awareness of nearly 350 attack methods and techniques
  • The five phases of ethical hacking
  • Up-to-date topics including IoT Security, Cloud Computing and Cryptography

Possible Job Options

  • Penetration tester
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • IT auditor

2. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

This is arguably a most-demanded cybersecurity certification in today’s world. (ISC)² offers a comprehensive CISSP course, but getting CISSP is not for everyone. People who are interested in the exam must have at least five years of relevant, paid work experience first.

What Participants Need to Know

  • Topics spanning eight security subject areas known as domains
  • They include Software Development Security, Communication and Network Security, Asset Security, Security Operations and several others
  • People must also agree to a code of ethics before receiving their certifications

Possible Job Options

  • Security manager
  • Network architect
  • Chief information security officer (CISO)

3. Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO)

This certification blends knowledge and practical application for top-level cybersecurity employees. EC-Council’s certification program requires people to have at least five years of experience in at least three of five topic areas. Like the CISSP exam, the CCISO exam breaks down its content into domains.

What Participants Need to Know

  • Mastery of five domains including Information Security Core Competencies, Governance and Risk Management, and Security Program Management and Operations
  • How to apply security best practices to benefit organizations at large

Possible Job Options

  • Best for people who are currently in cybersecurity leadership roles or aspire to take such positions soon
  • Also appropriate for some middle-level managers seeking higher positions

4. CompTIA PenTest+

Penetration testing is essential for determining a network’s readiness to withstand attacks. This certification option from CompTIA is excellent for cybersecurity professionals who regularly carry out penetration tests or check for vulnerabilities in other ways. It combines textbook knowledge with hands-on skills.

What Participants Need to Know

  • How to gather information and report details about exploits
  • Techniques for using the latest penetration test tools
  • The key aspects of compliance-based security assessments

Possible Job Options

  • Penetration tester
  • Security analyst
  • Network security operations professional

5. NIST Cybersecurity Framework Foundation Certification

This comprehensive course centers on how a cybersecurity strategy based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can help organizations avoid risks. This cybersecurity certificate is ideal for people who are currently involved in infrastructure security or those who want to improve their current methods.

What Participants Need to Know

  • The main challenges that hinder organizations from implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and how to deal with them
  • The benefits of having a cybersecurity framework in place that adheres to known standards — specifically, those provided by NIST

Possible Job Options

  • A private-sector cybersecurity role
  • IT manager

6. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

This is another one of the most-demanded cybersecurity certification options a person can pursue. The certification from ISACA tests whether people are ready to assess vulnerabilities within organizations and report them through the proper channels.

What Participants Need to Know

  • Audit guidelines
  • Audit standards
  • The tools and techniques used for auditing

Possible Job Options

  • Cybersecurity auditor
  • IT compliance professional
  • IT quality assurance professional

7. EC-Council Certified Encryption Specialist (ECES)

Encryption is a popular topic in the world of cybersecurity since it helps keep valuable information secure. This certificate puts people in an excellent position to apply their encryption knowledge to the real world. Learners can earn this certification and acquire practical skills employers want and need.

What Participants Need to Know

  • The main algorithms used for cryptography
  • Knowledge of the classic algorithms as well as modern ones
  • How to set up a VPN
  • How to encrypt a drive

Possible Job Options

  • Ethical hacker
  • Penetration tester
  • Network analyst

8. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

This is another certification that people can get from (ISC)². However, unlike the one mentioned earlier, it’s more broadly applicable to people who are not yet in leadership roles.

What Participants Need to Know

  • The best practices and policies for securing IT infrastructure at the organizational level
  • How to monitor the IT infrastructure for possible problems and fix vulnerabilities if found

Possible Job Options

  • Systems/network administrator
  • Database administrator
  • Systems engineer

9. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

This is considered a most-demanded cybersecurity certification because of the growing prevalence of cloud computing in today’s workforces, as well as the fact that two leading bodies — the Cloud Security Alliance and (ISC)² — teamed up to create it. This is also a vendor-neutral course that lets people apply their knowledge to any cloud platform.

What Participants Need to Know

  • Information spread across six domains, such as Cloud Data Security and Cloud Application Security
  • An understanding of legal and compliance topics related to the cloud

Possible Job Options

  • Any position that requires a person to consistently work to secure the cloud
  • Cloud security consultant

10. Certified Network Defender (CND)

This course, available from EC-Council, gets people ready to find issues in their networks and address the problems. It also goes into how malicious hackers operate, and some of the warning signs professionals need to watch for when keeping systems secure.

What Participants Need to Know

  • The fundamentals of network defense
  • Secure configuration and management of a VPN
  • Network traffic signatures and analysis

Possible Job Options

  • Network administrator
  • IT auditor

Continue Your Education With Cybersecurity Certificates

This list of 10 certificates for cybersecurity professionals shows that you have plenty of options when finding one that suits your current needs and career aspirations.

Keep in mind that each bulleted list under each heading is only a sampling of some of the main concepts covered and the jobs you may get after earning such a certification. In any case, cybersecurity certificates could help you gain skills to excel in the field.