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Top Cyber Security Certifications Employers are Looking For

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In today’s world, modern digital infrastructure is a must-have for businesses to survive and function effectively. This means relying on online services to manage assets, store sensitive information, and even run core business processes in the cloud.

While embracing contemporary technology to increase performance, promote efficiency, and maximize return on investment is how businesses stay relevant and competitive, digitization also opens the door to cybercrime. Organizations must be equipped to protect their computer systems, interconnected networks, and data from theft, damage, and misuse, which could lead to significant disruptions and heavy financial losses. This is where cyber security comes in.

Cybersecurity is protecting an organization’s computers and various digital assets from online attacks carried out by cybercriminals or hackers. The growing threat of organized cybercrime has led to a rising demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals to combat the ever-evolving methods of these online fraudsters.

Students and professionals who wish to build a successful career in the field of cybersecurity should consider completing an appropriate cybersecurity certification to build job-ready skills and improve their chances of securing their dream job in online security and risk management. While certification in cybersecurity is no replacement for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or a related field, it does ensure a competitive advantage during a job search.

Some people might find the wide range of cybersecurity certifications available today confusing. Entry-level certifications cover fundamental cybersecurity principles, while more advanced programs are designed to upskill existing cybersecurity professionals or focus on a specific niche within the field. This article will highlight six of the most in-demand cybersecurity certifications on the market:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • CompTIA PenTest+
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CSSP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

Read on for a better understanding of each of these cybersecurity certifications, the skills they impart, and their relevance in the industry.

Best Cybersecurity Certifications

CertificationCostPrerequisitesBest For
CompTIA Security+$3182 years IT security work experience recommendedAspiring cybersecurity professionals as they kick of their careers
CISSP$7495 years experience working in at least two core cybersecurity domainsCybersecurity professionals with a desire to pivot into senior managerial roles
CompTIA PenTest+$392 – $9773 to 4 years of information security or related work experience recommendedCybersecurity professionals with an interest in penetration testing
CCSP$5995 years of IT work experienceIT and cybersecurity professionals working in the cloud environment
CISM$575 – $7605 years of information security work experience in a managerial roleProgrammers interested in building managerial experience
OCSP$1,499 – $5,499Linux administration experience, TCP/IP networking knowledge, and an understanding of popular programming languages like Python and BashCybersecurity professionals who wish to stay updated on the latest hacking techniques

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level cybersecurity certification designed for aspiring cybersecurity professionals. It lays a strong foundation for more advanced cybersecurity certifications in the future. This is one of the most extensively-used certifications worldwide. It can empower candidates vying for technical support and IT operational roles, such as Systems Administrators, Security Consultants, Security Engineers, and Cloud Engineers.

Candidates must complete a 90-minute certification exam comprised of 90 questions to earn this qualification and kick off their cybersecurity career.

Skills Learned Through the CompTIA Security+ Certification

This certification covers the fundamental core knowledge and technical skills required for basic and intermediate roles in cybersecurity and provides candidates with skills in the following domains.

  • Online attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities
  • Architecture and design
  • Implementation
  • Operations and incident response
  • Governance, risk, and compliance

The Importance of the CompTIA Security+ Certification to the industry

This certification builds a strong foundation for cybersecurity professionals early in their careers. It highlights the best practices for online risk management and mitigation. It equips participants with the skills necessary to conduct a security assessment, respond to threats, recommend and implement appropriate security solutions, and monitor and secure hybrid environments such as cloud, mobile, and IoT.

Candidates will also be familiarized with the relevant laws and policies pertaining to cyber security and the principles of governance, risk, and compliance. This certification is recognized across the United States and is the mandated network cybersecurity certification of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Job Availability

Equipped with the CompTIA Security+ certification, job seekers can apply for various entry- and mid-level cybersecurity roles, including:

  • Helpdesk Manager
  • Helpdesk Analyst
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Administrator
  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Engineer
  • Cloud Engineer
  • DevOps Developer
  • Software Developer
  • IT Auditor
  • IT Project Manager

ICOHS College offers a range of training programs designed to help launch a career in cybersecurity. IT professionals can rapidly secure their fundamental cybersecurity credentials with the ICOHS IT Bootcamp Program. The various entry-level courses focus on niche topics, including networking, databases, information security, media, programming, security operations, and infrastructure maintenance, and can be completed in 15 weeks.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The CISSP certification is an advanced cybersecurity certification that sets candidates up for high-paying senior cybersecurity roles. Security analysts with at least five years of paid work experience (or four years and a bachelor’s degree in computer science) are eligible for this advanced certification.

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification is ideal for experienced online security professionals looking to level up their careers and apply for high-ranking roles such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Security Administrator, or Security Architect.

Skills Learned Through the CISSP Certification

This career-advancement certification is an excellent way for seasoned IT professionals and executives to validate their expertise and skills. It provides access to vast and exclusive resources and educational tools to aid professional development and opens up peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

The Importance of the CISSP Certification to the industry

This cyber security certification is designed to provide working IT professionals with the tools to advance their careers and secure high-level information security positions. Once they clear the certification exam, directors, managers, and other mid- to high-level online security professionals can apply for senior cybersecurity roles.

The CISSP certification is regarded as one of the best in the industry, opening doors to high-paying senior managerial positions. As a result, it is consistently in high demand. If you’re looking to take your cybersecurity career to the next level, CISSP is the certification to pursue.

Job Availability

The positions that open up for information security professionals once upskilled with the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification include:

  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Director of Security
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Security Systems Engineer
  • IT Director
  • Security Manager
  • Security Auditor
  • Security Architect
  • Network Architect
  • Security Consultant

CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA PenTest+ is a comprehensive penetration testing accreditation, an intermediate-level cybersecurity certification recognized and respected worldwide. It is designed for IT professionals who wish to acquire penetration tester skills and credentials. This certification is ISO 17024 compliant and is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements.

As penetration testing certifications go, CompTIA PenTest+ is the most comprehensive certification exam available today. It covers all relevant technology and framework stages with performance-based and knowledge-based questions. Aside from in-depth knowledge, this cybersecurity certification will also impart management, vulnerability assessment, and ethical hacking skills to candidates.

Skills Learned Through the CompTIA PenTest+ Certification

This certification aims to qualify cybersecurity professionals to carry out contemporary vulnerability management and penetration testing duties, thus enabling them to determine the resiliency of a network against cyber attacks. The domains it covers pertain to the principal responsibilities of a penetration tester or security consultant and include:

  • Planning and scoping
  • Information gathering
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Attacks and exploits
  • Reporting and communication
  • Code analysis
  • Ethical hacking concepts

Aside from these skills, candidates that complete the certification will also be familiar with specific software tools, including:

  • Security information and event management (SIEM)
  • Intrusion detection systems (IDS)
  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS)
  • Scanning tools
  • Web proxying tools
  • Command and control tools
  • Credential testing tools
  • Social engineering tools
  • Detection and avoidance tools
  • Fuzzing tools
  • Remote access tools
  • Software assurance tools
  • Network tools
  • Wireless testing tools
  • Mobility testing tools

The Importance of the CompTIA PenTest+ Certification to the industry

This certification gives cybersecurity professionals up-to-date tools and knowledge to secure roles as penetration testers, vulnerability analysts, and security consultants. It is the most current certification in the market today and covers the latest techniques against expanded attack surfaces.

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification exam requires candidates to thoroughly grasp the appropriate penetration testing methods for environments such as the cloud, web applications, hybrid environments, IoT devices, embedded systems, and even legacy on-premises systems.

Job Availability

Completing the CompTIA PenTest+ certification opens the doors to many mid-level cybersecurity roles, including:

  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Consultant
  • Cloud Penetration Tester
  • Web App Penetration Tester
  • Cloud Security Specialist
  • Network and Security Specialist
  • Information Security Engineer
  • Security Analyst
  • CompTIA advanced security practitioner

Looking to start a career in the exciting field of cybersecurity? Look no further than ICOHS College! Our comprehensive training programs are designed to help you get the fundamental cybersecurity credentials you need to succeed in the industry. With our IT Bootcamp Program, IT professionals can quickly gain the knowledge and skills needed to jumpstart their careers in just 15 weeks.

Our entry-level courses cover various niche topics, including networking, databases, information security, media, programming, security operations, and infrastructure maintenance. You can choose the path that best suits your interests and career goals. Don’t wait any longer to launch your cybersecurity career – enroll in the ICOHS IT Bootcamp Program today!

learn the basic skills needed to become a cybersecurity professional

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

The CSSP certification is a program for IT and cybersecurity professionals working in the cloud environment. This course focuses specifically on cloud security, and IT experts with at least five years of combined IT and security paid work experience are eligible to enroll. Of these five years, three had to have been spent working in information security, and one of them had to be in one of the following six CCSP domains:

  • Cloud architecture and design
  • Cloud data security
  • Cloud platform and infrastructure security
  • Cloud application security
  • Cloud security operations
  • Legal, risk, and compliance

Alternatively, earning the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) accreditation from the Cloud Security Alliance can satisfy the CCSP domain work experience requirement.

The CSSP certification prepares candidates for and equips them with the technical skills and specific cloud security knowledge to take on highly-specialized roles. These could include Cybersecurity Solutions Architect, Cloud Security Engineer, Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), and more.

Skills Learned Through the CCSP Certification

This specialized cybersecurity certification provides candidates with the technical expertise and skill set to master modern cloud security architecture. This niche cloud security knowledge includes a deep dive into the six CCSP domains mentioned above.

The Importance of the CCSP Certification to the industry

This certification validates the candidate’s specific cloud network security and auditing knowledge and the advanced technical skills necessary to maintain the security of an organization’s cloud-based assets. The demand for information security personnel with a detailed understanding of modern cloud security systems will increase as businesses of all sizes continue to adopt cloud computing approaches and move their activities, data, and digital assets to the cloud.

The CCSP certification is hence highly relevant in today’s climate and is ideal for IT professionals interested in securing a cloud security role. The US Department of Defense approves this cybersecurity certification as an information assurance (IA) baseline certification. Completing the certification examination meets the minimum certification requirement for IAT Level III and IASAE III jobs.

Job Availability

The CCSP certification prepares candidates for cybersecurity positions focusing on cloud security management. These include:

  • Product Security Engineer
  • Cybersecurity Solutions Architect
  • Application Security Architect
  • Cloud Security Engineer
  • Information Security Auditor
  • Compliance Technology Specialist
  • Information Security Manager

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The CISM certification focuses on the managerial rather than technical aspects, including information security governance, compliance, and risk management. It is aimed at IT and cybersecurity professionals with the skills to craft and administer an organization-wide information security management framework. These include Information Security Managers, Programmers, and IT Security Consultants who wish to take on more managerial duties as their careers progress.

Professionals with five years of paid work experience in the field of information security program development are eligible to enroll in the Certified Information Security Manager program. However, one or two years can be waived depending on other cybersecurity certifications the candidate may have accrued during their career.

Skills Learned Through the CISM Certification

Candidates who complete this advanced certification will be appropriately equipped to excel in a managerial role in information security. The key domains covered in this program include:

  • Security risk management
  • Program development and management
  • Governance
  • Incident management and incident response

The Importance of the CISM Certification to the industry

The methods used to carry out cyber attacks, data breaches, and other online crimes constantly evolve. This certification offers cybersecurity professionals the tools to engage in risk assessment actively, implement effective governance strategies and current incident response protocols, and the knowledge to craft potent tactics to reduce risks and vulnerabilities.

Demand for CISM qualification in the job market is growing as more and more organizations appreciate the need for personnel with specialized training to keep an enterprise secure against online attacks and maintain the security of their information systems.

Job Availability

The CISM cybersecurity certification prepares candidates for high-paying senior managerial positions in cybersecurity. These may include:

  • IT Manager
  • Information Systems Security Officer
  • Information Risk Consultant
  • Director of Information Security
  • Data Governance Manager

Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

The OSCP certification is a stepping stone toward a career in penetration testing. This ethical hacking cybersecurity certification is open to IT professionals with Linux administration experience, TCP/IP networking knowledge, and an understanding of popular programming languages like Python and Bash.

This certification is an excellent option for network administrators and IT security professionals who wish to gain hands-on experience with contemporary hacking techniques. Successful candidates can apply for popular positions like Penetration Tester and Threat Researcher.

Skills Learned Through the OSCP Certification

This certification is designed to keep cybersecurity professionals updated on hackers’ latest techniques and approaches to infiltrate a computer system or network surreptitiously. Key focus areas include:

  • Hacking Expertise
  • Advanced Coding
  • Social Engineering

The Importance of the OSCP Certification to the industry

This certification equips cybersecurity professionals with the tools they need to stay ahead of malicious hackers at all times. It is an excellent way for a security consultant, cybersecurity analyst, certified ethical hacker (CEH), and cybersecurity engineer to earn specific penetration testing skills and credentials.

Organizations today are willing to pay a great deal for cybersecurity experts with the technical know-how and skills to detect weaknesses in their systems, networks, or software. The findings are then used to develop robust defenses that stand up to the most advanced hacking techniques.

Job Availability

On completing the OSCP certification successfully, candidates can apply for the following specialized cybersecurity roles:

  • Penetration Tester
  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • Threat Researcher
  • Application Security Analyst

Organizations today depend on qualified cybersecurity professionals with up-to-date knowledge of modern security architecture, network security, software development security, and risk management.

To excel in the cybersecurity industry, professionals must obtain industry certifications. These certifications testify to one’s proficiency and aptitude, giving employers the confidence that their information and systems are in capable hands. With an increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, it is important to stand out in the job market, and these six cybersecurity certifications have been developed precisely for that purpose.

Staying current with industry standards and certifications is also crucial as the cybersecurity landscape constantly evolves. Investing in continuous learning can enhance your expertise and stay current with emerging threats and technologies.

Furthermore, with the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, certification can help you stand out in a competitive job market. According to industry reports, the need for cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, making it a lucrative career option for those interested in the field.

Whether you are an experienced IT professional or just starting out in the industry, the right cybersecurity certifications can provide the tools and skills needed to build a long and successful career.

If you’re looking to establish a career in cybersecurity or want to advance your existing skills, pursuing a cybersecurity certification at ICOHS can be an excellent option. ICOHS offers industry-recognized certifications that can equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in this field.


What is CompTIA Security+ and what kind of cybersecurity jobs require or prefer this certification?

CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level cybersecurity certification designed for aspiring cybersecurity professionals. It is widely used worldwide and intended for candidates hoping to secure technical support, IT, operational, and other entry- and mid-level cybersecurity roles.

How do I know which cybersecurity certification is right for me and my career goals?

The right cybersecurity certification for you will depend on various factors, such as your level of experience, the cost of the certification, your focus areas within the industry, and the potential employers you wish to work for.

How do I prepare for a cybersecurity certification exam and how much does it typically cost?

The approach to preparing for cybersecurity certifications varies depending on the certificate itself. It may involve undergoing rigorous training courses, taking practice exams, gaining practical experience, and utilizing various training materials and resources. The cost of entry-level certifications may only amount to a few hundred dollars, whereas the cost of advanced certifications for securing senior positions can be substantially higher.

Are there any job opportunities for cybersecurity professionals without a certification, or is it necessary to have one to get hired in the industry?

Securing a basic cybersecurity role without a relevant certification is possible, but growth options within the industry will be severely limited.

Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a cybersecurity certification?

While there are usually no prerequisites for basic, entry-level cybersecurity certifications, more advanced certifications require that candidates have specific skills and work experience or have completed certain certifications.

Are there any cybersecurity certifications specifically designed for beginners or entry-level professionals?

Yes, certifications like CompTIA Security+ are aimed explicitly at entry-level cybersecurity professionals.

Can I obtain multiple cybersecurity certifications and if so, how does that benefit my career prospects?

Yes, it is possible to obtain multiple cybersecurity certifications. Doing so will equip you with various technical and managerial skills necessary for senior cybersecurity positions.

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