12 Cybersecurity Certifications That Will Get You Hired

Akansha RukhaiyarAkansha Rukhaiyar | 12 minute read | September 22, 2022
Cybersecurity Certifications That Will Get You Hired

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Cybersecurity has undoubtedly proven to be a lucrative field with numerous exciting opportunities. Many cybersecurity professionals make well over six figures, and with hackers constantly finding new ways to infiltrate systems, a job in cybersecurity is never going to be boring.

While some cybersecurity professionals have a degree in cybersecurity, many don’t, and it’s not necessary to land a cybersecurity job. Arguably, certifications are more important than your degree when it comes to cybersecurity, and there are certifications for all levels—from beginners just getting started to certifications for advanced professionals looking to upskill.

With so many options, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. That’s why we’ve created this guide. Below, we’ll detail the twelve cybersecurity certifications that will help get you hired (or promoted). Ready? Then let’s get started.

What Is a Cybersecurity Certification?

A cybersecurity certification is a credential that evinces your expertise. Entry-level certifications will cement your understanding of foundational cybersecurity principles and tools. Mid-level and expert cybersecurity, on the other hand, will help you specialize in a more niche area.


Company Course/Certification Rank Price Details
springboard-logo-copy Cybersecurity Career Track N/A $11,340 Learn More
comptia-logo Cybersecurity Certification 4.37 $949 Learn More
giac-logo Security Essentials Certification N/A $949 Learn More
isaca-logo Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate N/A $220 Learn More
isc Security Administrator Certification N/A $249 Learn More
giac-logo Incident Handler certification N/A $949 Learn More
offensive-security-logo Security Certified Professional N/A $5499 Learn More
ec-council-logo Ethical Hacking Certification N/A $1119 Learn More
isaca-logo Information Security Manager certification N/A $760 Learn More
isc Premier Cybersecurity Certification N/A $599 Learn More
comptia-logo Advanced-Level Cybersecurity Certification N/A $480 Learn More
isaca-logo Information Systems Auditor Certification N/A $760 Learn More

Best Cybersecurity Certifications

These cybersecurity certifications can help kickstart your cybersecurity career, or help you upskill:

Entry-level Cybersecurity Certifications

Are you interested in cybersecurity and want to hit the ground running? These cybersecurity certifications will arm you with enough knowledge to land an entry-level job:

1. Springboard Cybersecurity Career Track

Springboard Cybersecurity Career Track
Prerequisites

Soft skills test

Overview

Springboard’s Cybersecurity Career Track has a job guarantee with a full refund if you graduate and don’t find a job within six months. This track will convert beginners into professional cybersecurity specialists within six months.

Springboard offers flexible hours for this certification. This means full-time professionals can also pursue it. You will also receive 1:1 career guidance and mentorship support from industry experts. Before enrolling in this certification, you need to complete a soft skills test.

Furthermore, Springboard has partnered with CompTIA, the world’s leading cybersecurity association. Therefore, you also graduate with a CompTIA Security+ Certification.

Best For

This certification is ideal for those looking for a self-paced but intensive course with formal training. It covers networking, interviewing, and CV-building to prepare you for the cybersecurity workforce. It’s suitable for those looking for additional certification in CompTIA Security+.

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Price

This certification costs $9,900 if you pay upfront. You can also pay in installments over six months, amounting to $11,340. Deferred tuition plans are also available.

2. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+
Prerequisites

None

Overview

With CompTIA Security+, you will learn about risk analysis and access management, asset security, penetration testing, network security, cloud security, and many other core concepts. The certification exam consists of 90 questions which you need to answer in 90 minutes. They recommend having two years of IT experience before pursuing this certification. However, this is not mandatory.

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Best For

Those starting out in the industry will find this to be a good starting point. This certification will prepare you to become network engineers and security administrators.

Price

The exam fee is $381. Course packages with retake options and additional material can cost between $549-$949.

3. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

GIAC Security Essentials Certification
Prerequisites

None

Overview

The GSEC certification focuses on:

  1. Information security
  2. Cryptography
  3. Incident handling
  4. Linux security
  5. Web communication security, and other security policies.

    This course is designed to help an information security novice do well in the exam. The exam takes 4-5 hours and has up to 180 questions. They also provide resources through affiliate training courses. You need to renew the GSEC certification every four years. You can also collect credits in lieu of renewal.
Best For

Those new to information security with some background in information systems will find this certification to be a good fit. There are no prerequisites, but some relevant experience is recommended. The GSEC certification is often a requirement for cybersecurity job postings, so it’s a good idea to have this one under your belt.

Price

A single attempt at the GSEC certification costs $949, with renewal costing $469.

4. CyberSecurity Fundamentals Certificate (ISACA)

CyberSecurity Fundamentals Certificate
Prerequisites

None

Overview

This self-paced certificate course goes beyond teaching the fundamentals. It also gives the opportunity to test what you learned with application-based components. The course covers fundamental concepts of cybersecurity, network architecture, risk management, security tools, and threat analysis. The exam covers the fundamentals of information security, threat landscape, along with security operations and response.

Best For

Those who want practical experience while getting their certification will find this certificate useful. Since there are no prerequisites and the passing mark is 65%, anyone can take this certification and most can pass it.

Price

The exam fee is $199, and the course costs $220.

5. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) by (ISC)²

Systems Security Certified Practitioner
Prerequisites

None 

Overview

The SSCP validates that you have extensive knowledge in IT infrastructure. It is accompanied by an instructor-led course. This course stimulates the live classroom environment while also being self-paced. You get access to class recordings for a year. If you are already a part of a cybersecurity organization, you can ask your employer to buy the course for the entire team.

Best For

This certification is best for those who want to work in operational security. These could be network security engineers, security systems administrators, cybersecurity analysts, and database administrators. 

Price

The exam costs $249 and is valid for 4 years.

6. GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

GIAC Certified Incident Handler
Prerequisites

None

Overview

This certification teaches and reiterates your knowledge in identifying and mitigating security incidents. It covers the various kinds of security attacks, tools used by hackers, and response techniques.

The certification exam spans four hours and has 106 questions. You’ll be asked application-based questions that require specialized knowledge and technical skills. If you pass the certification, you will have in-depth knowledge of covert communications, malware investigation, and evasive techniques. 

The affiliated course will help you cover these topics. You will have unlimited access to all the exercises, along with tutorials for all the lab exercises.

Best For

This certification is ideal for those leaning towards incident handling and other entry-level cybersecurity jobs. The CGIH certificate is in high demand in the cybersecurity industry. It is often listed in job descriptions for cybersecurity engineers and incident handlers. If you want to work in that niche, this certification is ideal.

Price

The certification attempt costs $949, with renewal costing $469.

7. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

Offensive Security Certified Professional
Prerequisites

Yes. This certification has a mandatory requirement of experience. You need to have familiarity with Python or Bash and a solid understanding of TCP/IP networking. You also need Linux administration experience.

Overview

The OSCP certification has a self-paced ethical hacking course. You will have access to exercises through which you will get instant feedback on your solutions. You can choose the individual course option, which gives you ninety days of access with one exam attempt. The other course upgrades allow for longer access time and multiple/unlimited exam attempts. The exam spans 24 hours.

Best For

This certification will make you a competent penetration tester, and your body of knowledge in this sought-out field can help you ask for a high salary. It’s a good fit for anyone who wants access to the latest hacking techniques and lab access for practical experience.

Price

The individual course—which gives you one exam attempt, and offers 90 days of lab access—is $1499. The unlimited course—which offers a year of lab access and unlimited exam attempts—costs $5499.

8. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Certified Ethical Hacker
Prerequisites

Yes. If you just want to get certified without taking the course, you must show two years of work experience in any security-related field.

Overview

This is yet another cybersecurity certification focusing on ethical hacking. The highlight of this course is its 24 hacking challenges that will train you from beginner to expert level. It also covers case studies of real-life hacking incidents that will help you understand the nuances of a cyberattack. The certification also covers hacking in the context of cloud and IoT.

Best For

This certification is ideal for those wanting both technical and business knowledge related to security threat analysis. It can prepare them for executive or administrative roles related to security threat management.

Price

Depending on the package you choose, the certification can cost anywhere between $950 and $1119.

Mid-Level to Advanced Cybersecurity Certifications

These are some mid-level to advanced cybersecurity certifications that cater to those with existing experience in the industry:

9. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) by (ISC)²

Certified Information Security Manager
Prerequisites

Yes. You need at least five years of experience in information security management before getting certified. This must be accrued within the 10-year period before applying for certification. You can also fulfill this requirement within five years from the exam date. If you have other certifications, such as the CISA or CISSP, the first two years of this requirement will be waived. If you’ve completed the GIAC, the CompTIA+ security certification, or another related skill-based certification, then one year will get waived.

Overview

The CISM certification focuses on information security governance, compliance, and risk management. It’s more focused on the managerial (rather than technical) aspects of these core areas. The exam contains 150 questions. For the CISM exam, they have affiliate material that can help you pass.

Best For

Cybersecurity professionals with technical experience in IS/IT security looking to shift to a managerial position must consider this certification. 

Price

The certification exam costs $575 or $760, depending on whether you have a membership with ISACA.

10. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) by (ISC)²

Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Prerequisites

Yes. Some experience is required. 

Overview

The CISSP certification is popular among recruiters for senior information security job roles. The affiliate training course is self-paced and led by an authorized instructor. The course covers industry best practices through peer-to-peer discussions and post-course assessments.

Best For

This course is for CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, and other executives looking to upskill. It’s also good for directors and managers who want to transition into these roles.

Price

The certification costs $599.

11. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner
Prerequisites

No

Overview

CASP+ is another DOD-approved certification. It validates knowledge in incident response, automation, security solution frameworks, and cryptographic technology. It focuses on security architecture across conventional and cloud environments. The certification exam is for 165 minutes and has around ninety questions. It has both multiple choice and application-based questions. 

The affiliate course is instructor-led and contains a virtual lab component and practice tests.

Best For

It’s recommended (but not mandatory) that you have at least ten years of experience in IT administration and at least five years of technical security experience. 

Price

The CASP+ certification costs $480.

12. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Certified Information Systems Auditor
Prerequisites

Yes. A minimum of five years of experience in a qualifying field is required. 

Overview

The CISA certification covers privacy design solutions for technology platforms. The affiliate course teaches you how to plan, communicate, and conduct audits. You’ll also learn how to utilize data analytic tools and evaluate IT management controls.

The exam duration is four hours, and you have to answer 150 questions. It has the same 5-year requirements as mentioned under the CISM certification.

Best For

This certification benefits junior or mid-level IT auditors or consultants who want to build a career in security auditing. Employees with CISA certifications are known to hit 100K salaries easily.

Price

Like CISM, this certification exam costs $575 or $760, depending on the format you choose and whether you have a membership with ISC. The affiliate course costs $895.

How Do You Choose a Cybersecurity Certification?

How Do You Choose a Cybersecurity Certification

You can shortlist the ideal cybersecurity certification using the following factors:

Career Goal

Pinpoint why you want to go through the process in the first place. How does a certificate fit into your career goals? If you are just starting out in the industry or are looking for a knowledge refresher, you will want to go for entry-level credentials. If you have zeroed in on a specific niche within the field, the relevant mid-level or expert certification will be an ideal fit.

Experience and Skills

Take stock of your current experience levels and skillsets. You should also look at what’s expected of your ideal cybersecurity job title. The cybersecurity certification that fills this gap will be the one you should go for. You can check the syllabus of the various certifications to identify which one will help you boost your experience most efficiently.

Specialization/Area of Focus

Nailing down a specialization can help accelerate your career in cybersecurity and fulfill your annual salary goals. If you have a specialization in mind, choosing a certification becomes easy.

Price

Cybersecurity certifications require a certain level of commitment, both in terms of time and money. While evaluating the cost, consider whether the benefits are worth that value. If the certification guarantees a job, evaluate whether the kind of jobs they promise match your interest and expected salary. If the answers to both the above considerations are affirmative, then you know that the certification is worth the financial commitment.

Reviews and Ratings

Tap into external review websites and online forums to know about the certification. Do not just rely on quantitative ratings. Go ahead and ask the certification-holder specific questions about what they liked about the certification. Does the certification have components like practice exams or tests? When you have multiple reviews as a reference point, you can decide which certification is right for you.

Time Commitment

The most significant reason for people to discontinue their learning journeys through certification is that they couldn’t commit to the required number of hours. Pick a certification that has flexible hours or a schedule that matches yours. Also, look into whether the certification creator will assist you with catching up if you fall behind.

Companies You Want To Work For

Do you have a dream company on your list? Even if a cybersecurity certification is not listed in its formal requirements, consider how a particular certification can help you become an asset in the role. You can also go through the profiles of their employees in the role you want. Check what kind of cybersecurity certifications they have.

Making the Most Out of a Cybersecurity Certification

These questions will be instrumental in ensuring that you can make the most out of your experience:

How Does a Cybersecurity Certification Work?

Cybersecurity certificates can provide you with entry-level credentials. This formal training arms you with job-ready skills. The best cybersecurity certifications will test your knowledge through practice tests. 

Are There Any Prerequisites for a Cybersecurity Certification?

Entry-level cybersecurity certifications rarely have any requirements. Some experience in the relevant domain is usually necessary for mid-level and expert certifications.

What Should You Expect To Learn?

It depends. If you’re taking a certification aimed at entry-level cybersecurity analysts, then you can expect to learn the fundamental concepts of cybersecurity. For a more advanced course, you can expect to learn about a more specific topic, such as penetration testing, information systems, incident response, etc. 

What Will My Schedule Look Like?

Most of the above-listed cybersecurity certifications are self-paced. You will have plenty of time to study the material in the affiliate courses and other supplementary study sources. For certifications with live sessions, ensure you have time during the day to fit these classes into your schedule. Ask whether recorded sessions are available for such certifications.

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FAQs About Cybersecurity Certifications

We’ve got answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Is Cybersecurity a Good Career?

Yes. Cybersecurity is a growing field with high demand for both entry-level cybersecurity professionals and specialists. Cybersecurity specialists enjoy high salaries, and there is plenty of scope for upskilling and growth.

Are Cybersecurity Certificates Worth It?

Yes. Certifications assure recruiters that you have accumulated knowledge in certain critical areas of cybersecurity. Many organizations list these cybersecurity certifications as a part of their job descriptions. Investing in these can set you apart.

Is Cybersecurity Hard To Learn?

Cybersecurity is a challenging field that is constantly evolving. With the right certifications and support, you can be well on your way to a successful cybersecurity career. So don’t worry about cybersecurity being hard to learn.

Can You Learn Cybersecurity Without Programming Knowledge?

Programming knowledge is not a necessity for cybersecurity programs. However, foundational knowledge in common programming languages like Python, JavaScript, and C++ can boost your job prospects.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Cybersecurity?

It depends on your level of pre-existing knowledge, the hours you can put in, and whether you are learning on your own. You can learn the basics of cybersecurity in a year with the right bootcamps and courses. It takes about two years of hands-on experience to consider yourself competent in cybersecurity. As you upskill further with resources and certifications, this time frame may increase.

Is It Better To Get a Degree or Certificate in Cybersecurity?

It depends. Cybersecurity certifications and courses have evolved over the years. They now match the knowledge that a traditional degree would provide you. These certifications are at a fraction of the cost and time required for a degree. Regardless of background, it would be better to learn through cybersecurity certificates.

Can I Land a Job With a Cybersecurity Certification?

Yes. A certification shows that you have expertise in the relevant areas and can contribute to the organization’s cybersecurity goals.

Since you’re here…
There are hundreds of thousands of vacant cybersecurity jobs, and one of them has your name on it. You can enter the industry in 6 months flat with our Cybersecurity Course. We’ve helped over 10,000 students make huge career changes with our fully flexible mentor-led bootcamps. Explore our free cybersecurity curriculum today to start your career switch story. 

Akansha Rukhaiyar

About Akansha Rukhaiyar

Akansha is a freelance writer for SaaS B2B brands, with a parallel interest in writing for mental health services and education websites. She has worked with globally diverse clients and loves to incorporate The Office references in her writing in the most accessible ways