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Cybersecurity Certifications for Starters

Published on 25 October 17
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Information security professionals are in high demand, but entering the field can be tricky. With the demand for qualified security professionals soaring, certification is a logical way for you to verify your skills and knowledge, and to get your resume noticed.

Here are five certifications that can help launch your cybersecurity career.
1. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Security Fundamentals
Of all the certifications listed in this post, the MTA Security Fundamentals is the most "entry-level" one of the bunch. Aimed at high school and early college students, as well as those in the workforce who are looking to change careers, the Microsoft’s Security Fundamentals exam tests your knowledge of physical security, Internet security, operating system security, network security and software security. The Security Fundamentals exam is similar to the CompTIA Security+ exam. After you pass the Security Fundamentals exam, you will have earned your Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Certification.

To improve your chances of achieving the MTA Security Fundamentals certification, Microsoft recommends that you have some hands-on experience with Windows Server, Windows-based networking, firewalls and other common security products.

MTA Security Fundamentals Online Courses that can help you prepare for the exam
2. ISACA CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate
Professionals in the IT security industry know about ISACA for certifications like Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) etc., all of which grant intermediate to advanced credentials. The CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate is relatively new to the ISACA certification program and was designed to fill the entry-level niche.

Geared toward recent post-secondary graduates and those seeking career changes, this certificate covers five cybersecurity-related domains: concepts; architecture principles; network, system, application and data security; incident response; and security of evolving technology.

The best part of CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals certificate is it doesn't expire or require periodic certification renewal.

ISACA CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals Online Courses
3. CompTIA Security+
It is perhaps the most well-known entry-level security certification is the Security+, which covers a wide array of security and information assurance topics, including network security, threats and vulnerabilities, access controls, cryptography, risk management principles, and application, host and data security.

The certification meets U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570.01-M requirements — an important item for anyone looking to work in IT security for the federal government — and complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

It is recommends that you get CompTIA Network+ certification before taking the Security+ exam. The Security+ leads to such jobs as security administrator, security specialist and network administrator, among others.

CompTIA Network+ Certification Online Courses

4. GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
GIAC gears the GISF certification towards system administrators, managers and information security officers who need a solid overview of information assurance principles, defense-in-depth techniques, risk management, security policies, and business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

The topics covered on the single GISF exam are similar to those for the CompTIA Security+, but GISF is considered to be more challenging. GIAC exams in general require test takers to apply knowledge and problem-solving skills, so hands-on experience that has been gained through training or on-the-job experience is recommended.

After achieving the GISF, consider pursuing the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), an intermediate-level certification that takes a big step beyond fundamental information security concepts.

TIP: If you take a SANS training course and then sit for the GISF exam, the exam cost alone would reduce by around 40% than attempting without training.

GIAC Information Security Fundamentals Online Courses

5. (ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
The (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is probably the most recognizable and popular security certification today. But (ISC)2 offers several security-related certifications, with the ANSI-accredited SSCP filling the entry-level slot. The SSCP prepares you for such jobs as systems security analyst, network security engineer and security administrator, which typically start at the junior level if you don't already have technical or engineering-related information technology experience.

To achieve the SSCP, you must pass a single exam that includes questions that span seven common body of knowledge (CBK) domains: (1) Access Controls, (2) Security Operations and Administration, (3) Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis, (4) Incident Response and Recovery, (5) Cryptography, (6) Network and Communications Security, and (7) Systems and Application Security.

Tip: To ensure that you have sufficient hands-on security knowledge before taking the exam, (ISC)2 recommends that you attend training courses or conference workshops, participate in webinars, and read white papers and books.

(ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) Online Courses

Which certification is the right one for your career progression?
Though these are all entry level certifications, but each have their own ways of testing your knowledge. Industry experts doesn't weight all the certifications at the same level. So get an expert advice on what's right for you depending on your career goals and aspirations.

Here are few experts in IT and Cyber Security, with whom you can schedule an appointment and discuss anything related to your career aspirations and goals.

For more IT Experts & Career Coaches, please visit:


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