If you have been on the fence about whether or not a security certification would benefit your IT career, the short answer is – yes. Putting in the time and effort to earn an in-demand certification can significantly boost your salary. Also, it may open doors to a wealth of new opportunities.
So, how do you choose which one is right for you? The primary factors in deciding which security certification to pursue should all be tied to specific career goals, the job market you’re wanting to be in, and your personal goals.
According to the most recent salary and job data, there are five certifications worth your time and effort. They are:
1. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Long considered the “gold standard” in security certifications, the CISSP is one of the most in-demand certifications among security professionals. The CISSP is a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in a range of security functions.
To earn the CISSP designation, you must have at least five years of experience working in at least two of the eight subject areas covered by the CISSP exam: Security and risk management, communications and network security, asset security, software development security, security engineering, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, and security operations. Even if you don’t have five years of experience, you can successfully pass the CISSP exam and earn the associate designation while you gain the work experience.
2. Cisco CCNA Security
For individuals who hold the Cisco CCNA credential, which demonstrates their ability to install, configure, operate, and maintain Cisco devices securely, the Cisco CCNA Security is the next logical step, should they wish to work in network security administration. In order to begin the certification process, you must meet the criteria for the Cisco CCENT certification and have at least one to three years of work experience in networking.
Earning this certification includes education and training in network security, more specifically related to testing, deploying, configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting Cisco network security solutions to ensure that the network remains secure. Upon completion of Cisco CCNA Security training courses, you must pass two exams (one for the CCENT and one for the CCNA Security) to earn the cert. The potential pay for someone with this credential varies, but the average sits between $53,514 to $90,642 per year.
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3. CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
One of the oldest security certifications – introduced in 1978 – is designed for those who work in jobs that require them to audit, monitor, assess, and control IT systems. The CISA professional ensures compliance with the latest standards and best practices.
To earn this certification, you must have at least five years of experience in IS monitoring or control to qualify for the CISA exam. This exam is only offered three times a year. It covers such topics as auditing processes, asset management, IT governance and management, and operations. Maintaining the certification requires completing ongoing continuing education courses. You have the potential to earn an annual salary of about $122,326 with this certification.
4. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
Protecting vulnerable networks against hacking often requires thinking like a hacker. This is why many companies are hiring “white hat” or ethical hackers to test their security programs and help identify potential gaps. But how can companies trust that the people they employ to test their networks aren’t the “bad guys” themselves? This is where the CEH certification comes in.
Anyone who wishes to enter into this high demand field should hold the Certified Ethical Hacking certification. The exam tests an individual’s ability to find security vulnerabilities using the same methods that hackers use.
CEH certified professionals are in high demand. The annual salary for an ethical hacker can be about $111,502 per year.
5. CompTIA Security+
The CompTIA Security+ certification validates foundational security knowledge of IT security concepts. CompTIA’s vendor-neutral certification is recognized around the globe.
The CompTIA Security+ certification site recommends individuals earn the CompTIA Network certification and have at least two years of work experience in the IT field with a focus on security, as well as passing an exam. The exam covers a range of topics, including network security, compliance, identity and access management, application, and data and host security, among others. The InfoSec Institute notes that individuals with this credential can earn $95,829 per year.
Choosing a certification should be based on your existing skill set, job market, and personal goals. Refresh your skills via ITProTV’s online IT training courses and official test materials and prepare to take your career to the next level.