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Last Updated On: April 17, 2024

Let's face it: in a world where we rely mostly on digital infrastructures—from communication to banking and even shopping, the need for robust cybersecurity measures is more pronounced than ever. As threats grow more sophisticated, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed.

Whether you're just starting your career or looking to advance in the field, obtaining a cybersecurity certification can significantly boost your credentials. However, with numerous options available, selecting the right certification can seem overwhelming.

In this article, we'll explore the top 10 cybersecurity certifications for 2024, helping you navigate your choices and decide which certification aligns best with your career aspirations and professional goals.

What Are the Best Cybersecurity Certifications?

When it comes to choosing a cybersecurity certification, it's not as simple as picking one at random and hoping for the best. Each of these credentials is designed to tailor a specific career trajectory. Some come with steep eligibility requirements, while others are more suited for beginners. In other words, the best cybersecurity certificate depends largely on where you currently stand in your career and where you aim to go.

Here’s a list of well-regarded certificates in the industry, each tailored for professionals at different stages of their careers:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
  • GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum of five years cumulative, paid work experience in two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP CBK (Common Body of Knowledge). A four-year college degree or an approved credential can satisfy up to one year of the required experience.

Exam Details

English exam: 3 hours, Computer Adaptive Testing, 100-150 questions
Other languages: 6 hours, Linear exam, 225 questions

Languages Available

English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese

Exam Cost

US $749

The CISSP is a globally recognized certification in the field of IT security provided by ISC2. It validates an IT professional's expertise in designing, implementing, and managing a best-in-class cybersecurity program. With a CISSP, you demonstrate your ability to effectively design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program that protects against threats, mitigates risk, and aligns with organizational goals.

This certification is suited for seasoned professionals in roles that require comprehensive knowledge of IT security strategy and hands-on management of security operations. Key positions include:

  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Security Manager
  • IT Director/Manager
  • Security Auditor
  • Security Architect
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Systems Engineer

These roles typically demand a high level of proficiency and leadership in security strategy and operations, making CISSP an invaluable credential for advancing in these areas.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum of five years of cumulative, paid work experience in information technology, of which three years must be in information security and one year in one of the six domains of the CCSP CBK. A CISSP certification can be substituted for the entire CCSP experience requirement.

Exam Details

4 hours, multiple choice, 150 questions

Languages Available

English, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish

Exam Cost

US $599

The CCSP is a global credential that represents the highest standard for cloud security expertise. It was co-created by ISC2 and Cloud Security Alliance—leading stewards for information security and cloud computing security. The CCSP certification empowers professionals to effectively design, manage, and secure data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud using best practices, policies, and procedures established by cybersecurity experts.

This certification is suited for seasoned professionals in roles that require comprehensive knowledge of cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration, such as:

  • Cloud Security Architect
  • Cloud Security Engineer
  • Cloud Security Analyst
  • Cloud Infrastructure Security Specialist
  • IT Security Consultant (Cloud)
  • Cloud Security Compliance Analyst
  • Enterprise Architect with Cloud specialization
  • Systems Engineer with Cloud specialization

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum of five years of professional information systems auditing, control, or security work experience (substitutions and waivers for education and other qualifications can be applied).

Exam Details

4 hours, multiple choice, 150 questions

Languages Available

English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Turkish, and Russian

Exam Cost

US $575 for ISACA members, US $760 for non-members

The CISA is a premier certification designed for professionals whose job roles involve monitoring, managing, and protecting an organization’s IT and business systems. While the CISSP covers a broader scope of IT security, the CISA focuses specifically on auditing, control, and security of information systems. This makes the CISA highly regarded within the IT audit, control, and security communities for its rigorous assessment and relevance to the ever-changing landscape of information systems audit, control, and security.

Roles you can get with a CISA include:

  • Information Systems Auditor
  • IT Audit Manager
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Risk Advisory Consultant
  • Compliance Officer
  • Chief Compliance Officer
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Chief Privacy Officer

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum of three years of cumulative work experience performing the tasks of a CRISC professional across at least two of the four CRISC domains, with one of the domains being either Risk Identification or Risk Assessment.

Exam Details

4 hours, multiple choice, 150 questions

Languages Available

English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese

Exam Cost

US $575 for ISACA members, US $760 for non-members

CRISC is a key certification for professionals looking to establish their expertise in risk management. This certification not only demonstrates your ability to identify and manage IT risks but also equips you with skills to implement and maintain information systems controls. CRISC is designed for IT professionals, project managers, and others who seek to bridge the gap between IT risk management and business risk, providing them with the insights needed to understand and manage IT risk and how it impacts the overall organization.

This certification is well-suited for professionals engaged in roles that emphasize risk management, control, monitoring, and assessment within IT and business systems, such as:

  • Risk and Compliance Professional
  • IT Risk Manager
  • Chief Risk Officer
  • IT Compliance Manager
  • Control officer
  • IT Security Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager

CompTIA Security+

Eligibility Requirements

No formal prerequisites, but it is recommended to have at least two years of IT administration experience with a security focus, and optionally have completed the CompTIA Network+ certification.

Exam Details

90 minutes, multiple choice and performance-based questions, a maximum of 90 questions

Languages Available

English, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean

Exam Cost

US $404

CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that validates the baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career. This certification is designed to provide a solid grounding in practical security concepts, covering essential principles for network security and risk management. It is widely recognized as a first step for those looking to establish a career in cybersecurity and offers a springboard into intermediate-level cybersecurity positions.

CompTIA Security+ is ideal for professionals who are starting or transitioning to a career in cybersecurity. Relevant job roles include:

  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Administrator
  • Security Administrator
  • Junior IT Auditor/ Penetration Tester
  • Security Specialist
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Engineer

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Eligibility Requirements

Two years of information security-related experience is recommended. Official EC-Council training or completion of an eligibility form and payment of a non-refundable eligibility application fee can replace the required experience.

Exam Details

4 hours, 125 questions

Languages Available

English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese

Exam Cost

US $1199 (includes eligibility application fee and exam voucher)

The CEH credential is a comprehensive ethical hacking and network security training program to inform and position security professionals to protect their organizations. This certification demonstrates the holder’s knowledge of how to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems, using the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker, but in a lawful and legitimate manner.

The CEH credential is highly esteemed in the field of information security and is often pursued by those looking to advance their careers in roles focused on network security, such as:

  • Ethical Hacker
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Engineer
  • Information Security Manager
  • Network Security Specialist

These positions often involve actively testing and securing systems from internal and external threats, making the knowledge and skills verified by the CEH certification essential for professionals in these roles.

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

Eligibility Requirements

One year of cumulative, paid work experience in one or more of the seven domains of the SSCP CBK (Common Body of Knowledge). A cybersecurity program or higher can replace the professional experience requirement.

Exam Details

Length: 3 hours; Format: Multiple choice; Questions: 125 questions

Languages Available

English, Japanese

Exam Cost

US $249

The SSCP is a certification designed for IT administrators, managers, directors, and network security professionals who have hands-on operational IT roles. It focuses on implementing, monitoring, and administering IT infrastructure following information security policies and procedures that ensure data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

This certification is well-suited for hands-on operational roles and professionals looking to affirm their skills in security practices. Key positions include:

  • Network Security Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Administrator
  • IT Auditor
  • Systems Analyst

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum of five years of professional information security management work experience (specific work must be in three of the four CISM domains).

Exam Details

4 hours, multiple choice, 150 questions

Languages Available

English, Japanese, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese

Exam Cost

US $575 for ISACA members, US $760 for non-members

CISM is a globally recognized certification for information security managers and those who manage, design, oversee and assess an enterprise’s information security. The CISM certification emphasizes the relationship between information security and the business goals of the enterprise, making it unique among IT security certifications.

It is ideal for individuals looking to advance into managerial positions within the IT security and control field, demonstrating a management focus on security strategy and assessment. Key positions include:

  • Information Security Manager
  • Information Risk Manager
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • IT Director/Manager
  • Security Systems Manager
  • Compliance Program Manager

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

Eligibility Requirements

Recommended to have a minimum of ten years of experience in IT administration, including at least five years of hands-on technical security experience.

Exam Details

165 minutes, multiple choice and performance-based questions, a maximum of 90 questions

Languages Available

English

Exam Cost

US $466

CASP+ is a certification for advanced practitioners aiming to pursue a career that involves managing enterprise security architecture, operations, and governance. Unlike more foundational certifications, CASP+ is performance-based and intended for those who wish not just to identify risks but to implement solutions within complex environments. This certification proves advanced competency in risk management, enterprise security operations and architecture, research and collaboration, and integration of enterprise security.

CASP+ is suited for experienced professionals in roles that require advanced skills in security solutions and operations, such as:

  • Enterprise Security Architect
  • Technical Lead Analyst
  • Application Security Engineer
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Architect

GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

Eligibility Requirements

No specific prerequisites, suitable for professionals seeking to demonstrate a practical understanding of information security principles.

Exam Details

4 hours, multiple choice, 104 questions

Languages Available

English

Exam Cost

US $2,499 (includes 2 practice tests)

The GSEC certification validates a practitioner's knowledge of information security beyond simple terminology and concepts. GSEC is designed for professionals with technical skills essential in hands-on roles related to securing IT systems. The certification focuses on practical skills covering areas such as security administration, incident handling, and defense in depth—making it an excellent choice for those new to the industry or looking to solidify their understanding of security fundamentals.

This certification is well-suited for professionals in operational roles requiring a solid cybersecurity practice foundation. Key positions include:

  • Security Professional
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Administrator
  • Systems Engineer
  • Network Administrator
  • IT Engineer

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Certificate Is Best for Cybersecurity?

The best cybersecurity certification depends on your specific career goals, experience level, and the areas of cybersecurity you are most interested in. For those looking to prove their ability to design, engineer, implement, and manage an overall information security program, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is highly recommended.

If your focus is on IT audit, the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a prime choice. For those entering the field or seeking foundational knowledge, the CompTIA Security+ offers a broad overview that is highly valued for entry-level positions.

Is a Certificate in Cybersecurity Worth It?

Absolutely, a certificate in cybersecurity can be extremely valuable. It provides formal recognition of your knowledge and skills, which can help differentiate you in the job market, lead to better job opportunities, and potentially higher salaries. Certifications also keep professionals up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the field, ensuring that they are well-prepared to handle current and emerging threats.

What Is a Level 1 Certificate in Cybersecurity?

A Level 1 Certificate in Cybersecurity typically refers to an introductory-level certification that covers basic concepts and fundamental security practices in the field. It is aimed at individuals who are new to cybersecurity, providing them with the essential knowledge and skills needed to start a career in this area. Examples include the CompTIA Security+ and the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), which focus on foundational security principles and practices necessary for entry-level positions.

Navigating Cybersecurity Certifications with Destination Certification

Choosing the right cybersecurity certification can be a pivotal step in your career. Whether you are just starting or aiming to solidify your expertise, the right certification can enhance your skills and boost your professional credibility.

At Destination Certification, we specialize in helping you achieve one of the most prestigious certifications in the industry with our CISSP MasterClass. Our course is uniquely designed to adapt to your current knowledge level, ensuring a personalized learning experience that maximizes your strengths and addresses your areas for growth.

Join us, and let us guide you through your journey of professional development in the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity.

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John Berti

John is a major force behind the Destination Certification CISSP program's success, with over 25 years of global cybersecurity experience. He simplifies complex topics, and he utilizes innovative teaching methods that contribute to the program's industry-high exam success rates. As a leading Information Security professional in Canada, John co-authored a bestselling CISSP exam preparation guide and helped develop official CISSP curriculum materials. You can reach out to John on LinkedIn.

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