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The top skills and certificates needed to land a career in cyber security

Cyber Security | May 22, 2022

The cyber security industry is the place for job seekers, as the demand for cyber security professionals is at an all-time high across almost every sector.

So, while it is clear that a job in the cyber security industry has many benefits, how do you land a job as a cyber security professional? The best way is to figure out which position you’d like to target and work backwards to acquire the required technical skill, mostly through a combination of education and experience.

Education is key. Choosing which cyber security course is right for you depends upon your ultimate cyber security career goals and aspirations. A bachelor’s degree is required for most cyber security positions from entry-level on up, including cyber security engineer, cyber security analyst and cyber security architect. At the same time, a master’s degree should be considered for those looking to gain leadership, managerial and business skills required in high-level positions, including Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

This leads us to experience; landing even an entry-level role will be challenging without it. That’s why it is important to take advantage of internship opportunities while obtaining your bachelor’s or master’s degree so that you are prepared for your first cyber security job upon graduation. To get hired at a higher level in the cyber security field, it is typical that employers will be looking for multiple years of experience.

Experience can also come in the form of cyber security certifications.

The top 5 certificates employers look out for in cyber security

The two most asked questions are: will having cyber security certifications increase my employability? And which cyber security certifications should we go?

Firstly, certifications are a great way of validating and showing off your capabilities in a tangible way – helping you stand out from the crowd and become a more valuable member of the cyber security industry.

With so many cyber security certifications out there (and a lot of work required to attain them), it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. So, we’ve put together a list of the five certifications we think have the most value in the ever-changing world of cyber security.

1. CompTIA A+

This certificate is one of the first entry-level certifications for those looking for a general introduction to the Information Technology industry. On completion, individuals will be qualified to solve basic issues in networking, operating systems, security and devices.

This is a great certificate for those looking at service desk analysts, technical support specialists, associate network engineers roles, or an excellent stepping stone for those looking to specialise in a specific field, like cyber security.

Why do I need this certification?

The certificate is widely considered one of the go-to certificates for those looking to take other CompTIA certifications like Security+.

2. CompTIA Security+

Security+ is for professionals looking to move into intermediate-level cyber security positions. It is globally recognised and equips individuals with the strong baseline technical skills needed to work in a cyber security role.

Testing for this certification covers network security, cryptography, identity management, compliance, operation security, threats, cloud security, host security, and more.

Why do I need this cyber security certification?

To put it simply, it gets you started. If you’re new to the industry, this certification is the one you want to show you’ve got what it takes to work in the world of cyber security. Roles that often require this certificate include; information security analyst and security architect. It also sets a foundation to grow your cyber security skills and complete additional certifications to become a cyber security specialist.

3. CREST Practitioner Security Analyst (CPSA)

The CPSA is an entry-level exam that tests your knowledge in assessing operating systems and common network services at a basic level. An intermediate level of web application security testing and methods to identify common web application security vulnerabilities is also included. Upon successful completion, this certification is valid for three years.

Why do I need this cyber security certification?

This is another important early-stage certification for people just starting in cyber security. If you want to work in penetration testing or are a system admin who needs to respond to attacks, this is a certification you should pursue.

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

This is the big one. The most highly regarded certification in the industry, the CISSP recognises that you can design, implement, and manage a best-in-class cyber security program.

Testing and certification for the CISSP is run by (ISP)2 and is internationally recognised. If you have five or more years of work experience in two or more of the following domains, you may be eligible to sit the exam:

Don’t have the full time accumulated? There are ways to knock time off the experience needed if you have studied or hold other certifications.

Why do I need this cyber security certification?

If you’re only going to undertake one certification this year, make it this one. If you have your CISSP, you’re showing potential employers and clients your value in the world of cyber security. And as a bonus, ongoing education requirements will keep you up to date with changes and increase your expertise.

5. EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

This credential certifies you in the network security discipline of ethical hacking from a vendor-neutral perspective. You’ll need at least two years’ experience to sit for the CEH exam, but this notoriously tough to achieve certification will cement your skills in assessing and attacking security postures.

Why do I need this cyber security certification?

If you have a knack for hacking and want to use it for good rather than evil, this is the certification for you. Becoming a professional penetration tester will open up a world of career opportunities and enable you to provide valuable work to clients that will be incredibly rewarding.

6. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

The OSCP is notorious for being one of the hardest penetration testing certifications to gain. You’ll learn about the technical skills and mindset needed to be a successful penetration tester.

If you choose to undertake the exam, you’ll be expected to compromise several operating systems and devices within a 24-hour timeframe in an isolated VPN network. Oh, and you’ll need to document how you managed to do so comprehensively.

Why do I need this cyber security certification?

If you like proving how skilled you are, especially when it comes to ethical hacking, the OSCP is for you. Not only is this certification very well respected, but it’s also a requirement for some senior cyber security roles.

Here at The Missing Link, we have some of the most highly certified cyber security professionals in the industry. If you hold any of these cyber security certifications or want to work with people who do, – we’d love to chat about it.

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This content was originally published here.