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Cybersecurity Certifications: Which Ones Do You Need?

By Jaymie Pompeo
Contributor, Career Services

Recent high-profile hacks of government agencies and private-sector organizations have increased the demand for cybersecurity professionals. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 36.5 percent growth rate in cybersecurity jobs by 2022. That rate is significantly faster than the national average for all occupations.

However, certification is mandatory in cybersecurity. If you want to be competitive, plan to pursue certification.

Certification for Entry-Level Cybersecurity Careers

Certification goes beyond the basic fundamentals of terminology, principles, and technologies – it validates your expertise in a given area.  Most times, relevant experience is an essential requirement to be eligible for certification, so it can be challenging to get started at the entry level. Start with certifications that offer a broader scope, such as CompTIA Security+ and GIAC Security Essentials, which appeal to various employers offering job roles that can build your experience in this field.

Advanced Careers in Cybersecurity Need Specialized Certifications

Later in your career, you may want to work in a specialized area of cybersecurity which influences the type of certification you’ll want to seek. For example, the CISSP certification is one of the top-paying certifications for advanced security professionals and covers eight main domains in IT security. For upward management career tracks, like a Chief Information Officer, seek a CISM certification. If you prefer the audit control and assurance process, obtain the CISA to enhance your marketability as a job candidate.

If you’re still exploring options, plan to check out independent accrediting organizations to pinpoint your future direction:

  • CompTIA
  • EC-Council
  • Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
  • International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC2)
  • Information Assurance Certification Review Board (IACRB)
  • Information Systems and Audit and Control Association (ISACA)

Be sure not to overlook the importance of a college education. At the APU, we offer a variety of degree and certificate programs that will build on the skills and competencies needed for cybersecurity. A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for most positions and will always strengthen written and verbal communication skills – which are vital in this field.

Learn more about available degree options in the field of information security

Plan to continue your educational pursuits in cybersecurity. Not only will it help convey the value of your cybersecurity work to C-level executives with confidence, but you’ll also contribute to actionable insights that can benefit any organization.

For more information on breaking into the field of cybersecurity, check out our vlog below.

About the Author

Jaymie completed her bachelor’s in business administration with Florida Atlantic University. Her career journey began in human resources, where she handled several aspects of the employee experience such as new hire orientations, team buildings, employee relations and exit interviews. Motivated in helping others succeed, she transitioned into higher education with American Public University System (APUS) in 2010. The experience she gained in academic advising helped shape her passion towards empowering students and alumni with their career journey, particularly those transitioning from military to civilian work. For this reason and many more, she is excited to be a career coach supporting interests with homeland security, emergency and disaster management, criminal justice and security management.

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