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Five Hot Cybersecurity Certs for 2017

No matter what your level of IT security experience and proficiency, there's a certification to help move your career forward. Even if you're just getting started. Here's what you should look for.

Security concept contemplating blue lockIt seems as if data breaches are on everyone’s lips lately. Cybersecurity news sites, forums, blogs or online magazines all tell of egregious incidents of large organizations having their data compromised, and the negative impacts that result.


In some incidents, the cost of a breach can reach billions of dollars due to the disclosure of sensitive customer data, including credit card numbers, account passwords, and other personal information. Failure to protect customer data comes with a high-cost monetarily, but also to the reputation of the business.


Fortunately, as more breaches are made public, employers are coming to believe strongly in the value of security professionals as a shield to protect customer data and the life of the business itself. Employers are seeing the value of paying premium salaries to security professionals to safeguard their data.


This rush for security is driving the market for trained and certified security pros to unprecedented levels. This demand is has also led to a shortage of cybersecurity pros who are able to handle the demands of cloud computing and billions of mobile devices.


While you don’t necessarily need a certification to land a positon in cybersecurity, having one does increase your odds of garnering an employer’s interest — that crucial first step in getting hired. Employers increasingly take comfort in hiring an individual with a certification because they see the credential as validation from a vendor neutral third-party that the potential employee has the training and skills to do the job.


Certification from a reputable organization is an effective and efficient source of knowledge that helps put you ahead of other job candidates. While it costs a bit of money and effort to achieve, it will pay off over the long term.


Below are five of the top certifications to pursue for the aspiring network security professionals. The list contains entry level certifications covering basic security concepts, as well as advanced credentials for more experienced security pros at the top of their game. The list also covers certifications directly related to cloud security — an increasing concern for companies migrating their services to the cloud.


CompTIA Security+


Security+ is a globally recognized, vendor-neutral foundational security certification covering both computer systems and business-related concepts such as risk management. The certification covers a broad swath of security topics including networks starting from host-security and extending to securing different IT systems and elements.


Security+ also introduces students to data security, compliance, threats and vulnerabilities, access control, identity management, and cryptography. This broad foundation makes CompTIA Security+ an attractive and recommended option for individuals seeking entry into the field.


GSEC: GIAC Security Essentials Certification


While GSEC is another foundation level security certification, it is more comprehensive and in-depth than CompTIA Security+. GSEC is suitable for IT professionals who not only understand security terminology, but also have hands-on experience with security roles in organizations.


The certification is rich with knowledge in areas such as access control, common types of security attacks, cryptography, firewalls, IPv6, Linux, networking systems, vulnerability management, wireless attacks and many other security domains. While CompTIA Security+ is an attractive foundation-level certification for IT professionals new to security, GSEAC is the perfect choice for those with some background in the field.