10 Top Security Certifications for IT Professionals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 13, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Becoming a certified IT professional comes with benefits in terms of career progression and personal satisfaction. With so many certificate programs available today, there is no limit to how much you can learn and how far your career can progress. Learning about the different certifications available can help you decide which one to prioritize for the benefit of your career. In this article, we discuss the main reasons for earning security certifications and analyze the top 10 certifications for IT professionals in cybersecurity.

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Why earning a security certification is good for your career

Earning security certifications is good for your career, as it offers you a chance to expand your knowledge and skills. It also gives you a competitive advantage when searching for a new job or when seeking a promotion. Here are other benefits of pursuing various certifications related to cybersecurity:

  • demonstrates competence and proficiency

  • boosts productivity and efficiency

  • increases earning potential

  • opens more job opportunities

  • establishes job security

  • provides opportunities for career advancement

Related: How to Include Technology Skills on Your Resume

Top 10 security certifications in cybersecurity

Information security is an ever-evolving field with a wide range of security certification courses tailored to your career goals and ambitions. If you are uncertain about which course to choose to start your career progression, here are the top 10 most popular suggestions you can consider:

1. IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate

The Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate is an entry-level program designed for anyone who wants to enter the industry or switch careers to cybersecurity. Enrolling in this course requires no prior experience, making it one of the most popular security certifications for prospective cybersecurity professionals. The certificate has eight different courses, and learners may gain foundational technical skills that can enable them to solve real-world problems that affect the cybersecurity industry. At the end of the program, you might know about:

  • basic principles of cybersecurity tools and cyber attacks

  • cybersecurity roles within the organization

  • cybersecurity compliance framework

  • network security and database vulnerabilities

  • penetration testing, incident response, and digital forensics

  • cyber threat intelligence

  • cybersecurity capstone

  • IBM cybersecurity analyst assessment

With your newly gained skills, you can pursue a career as a junior IT security analyst or a cybersecurity analyst.

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2. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is one of the most recommended entry-level certificates for IT professionals who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity. The program certifies the essential skills you require to perform core security functions. Joining the CompTIA Security+ course is easy since you only need two years of experience in IT administration with a focus on security. With this certification, you can seek a career as a cloud engineer, systems administrator, security administrator or help desk manager.

This certificate on your resume demonstrates to potential employers that you're competent and have the necessary skills to secure information systems and counter cybersecurity threats in an organization. Other skills related to this certification include:

  • ability to evaluate the security of a company

  • ability to monitor and secure cloud and mobile environments

  • identify cybersecurity incidents

  • respond to cybersecurity threats

  • understand regulations related to compliance

3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an advanced certification recommended for security policymakers and decision-makers. Possessing this credential demonstrates you have high experience in information security with advanced technical skills required to manage security standards, procedures and policies. A CISSP designation offers you the chance to pursue a career as a chief information security officer, an IT security engineer, an information assurance analyst or a senior security consultant. At the end of the course, you can:

  • design cybersecurity programs

  • implement and maintain cybersecurity programs

  • design and implement security and risk management policies

  • enforce network security standards

  • monitor security testing and related operations

Since CISSP is for experienced security professionals, the prerequisites for pursuing this certification are higher. It requires at least five years of experience in two of the following: security and risk management, asset security, security operations, software development security, security assessment and testing, identity and access management, communications and network security, security architecture or engineering.

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4. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

An information security manager's role is to safeguard an organization's information safety needs. They monitor all high-level IT security operations and supervise cybersecurity personnel who implement the company's security policies. Undertaking a CISM certificate can set you on the path to becoming a qualified IT security manager. A CISM certification program covers the following areas:

  • security risk management

  • incident management and response

  • data governance

  • program development and management

To qualify for CISM certification, you require at least five years of work experience in information security, with another three years in information security management. CISM certification is for top security managers, so one can expect to pursue a career as an IT manager, data governance manager, information risk consultant, or director of information security.

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5. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

CCSP is a global certification that targets intermediate to advanced-level professionals in the IT and cybersecurity industry. The certificate program focuses on the following areas:

  • cloud design and service orchestration

  • cloud security architecture

  • architectural concepts and design requirements

To qualify for a CCSP exam, you may need at least five years of experience in IT with three years in information security and one year of experience in any of the CCSP domains, including cloud concepts, cloud data security, cloud platform and infrastructure, cloud application security and legal, or risk and compliance management. With CCSP certification, you can pursue a career as a senior information security specialist, security engineer, cloud specialist or information security engineer.

6. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

When businesses require assessing the security vulnerabilities of their most critical assets, they enlist certified information systems auditors. A CISA designation demonstrates that you can evaluate the security vulnerabilities of a company and subsequently design and implement controls that address these cybersecurity loopholes. Skills associated with this certification include:

  • security vulnerability assessment

  • API security testing

  • network security

  • cloud security

  • penetration testing

A CISA certification requires at least five years of experience in IT auditing, control and security. With this certificate, you can pursue a career as an IT audit manager, project manager, cybersecurity auditor, security engineer or compliance program manager.

Related: How To List Your Certifications On A Resume

7. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Certified Ethical Hackers, also known as white hats, can assess the security of a company's information systems to prevent malicious persons from gaining unauthorized access. The certified ethical hacker assesses any damage caused by hackers and implements various security measures to prevent future hacking attempts.

To obtain this certification, you need to know about various coding languages and database engines. Your critical thinking and problem-solving skills may also come into play to qualify for a CEH certification.

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8. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

A System Security Certified Practitioner designation is ideal for network security professionals, IT administrators and managers responsible for an organization's operational security. The certification demonstrates that you have the necessary skills and ability to implement and monitor your company's IT infrastructure using best security practices.

To qualify for a Systems Security Certified Practitioner exam, you require at least one year of work experience in any SSCP domains. These include access controls, security operations and administration, risk identification, monitoring and analysis, incident response and recovery, cryptography, network and communication security and systems and application security. Expect to pursue a career as a network security engineer, database administrator, security analyst, or systems engineer.

9. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

The CASP+ certification is an advanced-level program designed for professionals who want to remain in the hands-on technological side of cybersecurity instead of working in management. The certification is highly prestigious and recommended for cybersecurity technicians with advanced technical skills. The skills covered by this certificate program include:

  • advanced security engineering

  • security architecture

  • cybersecurity readiness assessment

  • risk and compliance management

  • research analysis

Given that CASP+ is a highly prestigious designation, the requirements are equally stringent. It requires at least 10 years of work experience in IT administration and security. Career opportunities associated with this designation include security engineer, application security engineer, security architect, and technical lead analyst.

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10. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

OSCP certifications are for IT professionals who detect vulnerabilities in an organization's information security systems. This certification seeks to impart the following skills:

  • analytical thinking

  • proficiency in problem-solving

  • knowledge of penetration testing methods

To undertake an OSCP certificate, knowing about networking, operating systems like Linux, and familiarity with programs like Perl and Python is essential. After earning an OSCP certification, you can pursue a career as a penetration tester, threat researcher, application security analyst, or ethical hacker.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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