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Six New Cybersecurity Certs that Address Hotly Demanded Skills

The constantly changing cybersecurity landscape requires continual adaptation by certification organizations and IT professionals alike. These six certs are can help you keep pace.

Cloud security concept file folder behind doorCybersecurity is one of the hottest fields in information technology and skilled cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. Threats to enterprise security evolve constantly and organizations require increasingly skilled specialists with the knowledge required to combat those threats.


As the cybersecurity field becomes increasingly specialized, industry is responding with a series of niche certification programs designed to demonstrate an individual’s qualifications to fill these new positions.


For job candidates, cybersecurity specializations can be extremely rewarding. A recent Certification Magazine salary survey ranked the top IT certification programs and five of the top ten certifications cover cybersecurity issues and command salaries of around $140,000. Let’s take a look at six of the most in-demand cybersecurity certifications that have reached the marketplace in the past five years.


CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)


CompTIA is one of the long-standing leaders in both security certifications and IT certifications in general. Their Security+ certification has long been recognized as the industry-leading certification for entry-level security practitioners, and many of today’s cybersecurity experts cut their teeth by earning that credential.


In 2011, CompTIA built upon this success by launching an advanced certification program: the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP), designed to help Security+ credential holders move up the ladder to the next level in their career. (The newest version of the CASP exam, CAS-002, arrived last year in January.)


The CASP program combines technical and security leadership skills in a single certification designed for those with at least 10 years of information security experience and five years of hands-on technical experience. Earning the certification requires passing an exam containing up to 90 questions administered during a 165-minute exam period.


CompTIA followers should also keep an eye on the organization’s security certification announcements. CompTIA recently conducted a Job Task Analysis (JTA) workshop for a cybersecurity analyst certification program that is expected to fill the gap between the entry-level Security+ credential and the master-level CASP.


Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)


The explosive growth of cloud computing over the past few years is taking the IT industry by storm. Organizations that were completely averse to cloud options a few years ago are now rapidly adopting all-in “Cloud First” strategies that shift massive portions of enterprise computing to cloud providers.


This shift affects many IT disciplines and cybersecurity is no exception. Cybersecurity professionals must recognize that the shift to the cloud is real and any modern cybersecurity effort must include a realistic set of cloud computing controls.


In April 2015, (ISC)2 partnered with the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) to launch the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification program. The CCSP builds upon the security certification experience of (ISC)2, provider of the gold standard CISSP certification, and the cloud expertise of CSA to provide a common body of knowledge for cloud security professionals.


Earning the CCSP certification requires passing a 125 multiple-choice question exam by earning a scaled score of at least 700 out of 1000 points. The exam covers six domains of cloud security: architectural concepts and design requirements, cloud data security, cloud platform and infrastructure security, cloud application security, operations, and legal and compliance.


Global Industrial Cybersecurity Professional (GICSP)


Industrial control systems manage some of the most sensitive components of the world’s cyberinfrastructure. These systems regulate power plants, weapons systems, manufacturing facilities, water treatment plants and many of the controls that we depend upon to provide the essential elements of daily living in a safe, reliable manner.


The criticality of these systems makes them an attractive target for attackers and cybersecurity professionals must respond with sophisticated controls that are uniquely tailored to protect critical infrastructure components.


The SANS Institute’s Global Information Assurance Curriculum (GIAC) has long offered a series of very niche cybersecurity specialist certification programs. GIAC responded to this recent need with the new Global Industrial Cybersecurity Professional (GICSP) program that offers a vendor-neutral approach to protecting industrial control systems.


Earning the GICSP certification requires passing a 115-question open-book proctored exam, normally administered after candidates attend a SANS Institute training program that focuses on the GICSP curriculum. This comes with a hefty price tag, requiring a payment of approximately $4,600 for both the course and examination.