The IT Certification Resource Center

Featured Deal

Get CompTIA, Cisco, or Microsoft training courses free for a week.
Learn More ❯

Five Top Cybersecurity Roles and the Certs to Get You There

Demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is rapidly escalating. If you can prove you have the right skills, then you can take your pick of top-paying jobs.

Stealing money over the internetThe cost to businesses and governments of cybercrime will quadruple over the coming years, with damage to businesses set to hit $6 trillion by 2021. As the incidence of these attacks continues to explode, so too does the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals.


With a predicted cybersecurity hiring shortfall of 1.5 million, however, organizations are now desperate to recruit and train qualified IT security employees.


Certifications are a great way of skilling-up yourself, or your team. Not only that, but a massive 86 percent of HR managers use IT certifications as screening or hiring criteria during recruitment.


So, whether you're aiming to get into these exciting roles, or simply work more securely within them, these are the certs you should focus on achieving in 2017.


1) Penetration Tester/Ethical Hacker

Average salary: $50,000 to $130,000 (PayScale)


Penetration testers — also called ethical hackers — probe and exploit security vulnerabilities in web-based apps, networks and systems. Unlike their dark-web lurking counterparts, however, these “white hat” hackers work to benefit businesses by reporting flaws identified through simulated attacks on their systems. Organizations are then able to hastily fix any vulnerabilities discovered.


EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is perhaps the most popular certification for penetration testers. Achieving the CEH provides you with in-depth knowledge of cyber security threats and a valuable introduction to ethical hacking.


CEH-certified professionals should then consider following EC-Council’s pathway by achieving the Certified Security Analyst (ECSA). This certification builds on knowledge gained from CEH training and certification and solidifies your knowledge of penetration testing. Seasoned professionals are then advised to cap off their expert penetration testing knowledge with the EC-Council Licensed Penetration Tester (Master) exam.


The CEH will also prepare you to undertake EC-Council’s Computer Hacking Investigator Certification, teaching you how to investigate cyber crime within a legal framework.


2) Security Architect (Cloud Specialist)

Average salary: $50,000 to $130,000 (PayScale)


Gartner predicts that, by 2018, 25 percent of corporate data traffic will flow directly from mobile devices to the cloud, bypassing enterprise security controls. Organisations now realise the dire need for better cloud security, driving a market that is expected to reach a massive $7.5 billion by 2019.


In response to the widespread adoption of cloud computing, a plethora of cloud security certifications have been introduced into the marketplace. The most intriguing credential on the market is (ISC)²’s Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP).


This certification is backed by two leading global nonprofits focused on cloud information security: Cloud Security Alliance, and (ISC)² themselves. Achieve the CCSP and you’ll prove your in-depth knowledge of cybersecurity, information and software management, and cloud computing. The CCSP will build your knowledge of cloud app, platform, data and infrastructure security. There’s also a heavy focus on compliance and legality, including audit processes and privacy issues.


This certification is particularly relevant for professionals in security architect roles who want to gain a deeper knowledge of cloud security. If your day-to-day role involves managing and securing cloud environments, or purchased cloud services, then CCSP is ideal for you. The CCSP is designed for experienced information security professionals with at least five years of professional experience, including at least one year in a cloud-specific role.