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Cyber Security Training and Certifications have Expanded Rapidly, Where Should you Focus?

Cybersecurity training courses and certifications have exploded in popularity over the last five years.  This tremendous growth makes navigating the choices a bit daunting even for professionals that work full time in information technology.

Hacking and Penetration Testing Certifications

Do you want to get hands and on and learn more about hacking and penetration testing? You can find training and certifications from the following organizations: Infosec Institute, EC Council, IACRB and Mile2.

If you want a truly immersive experience, the 5 day Penetration and Testing Boot Camp from the Infosec Institute will give you in-depth training into techniques used by hackers with real life exercises. After the course is complete the big takeaway is your own ethical penetration test that you can test out on your organization (only do so with the proper permission).

If you are looking for a penetration testing certification, the EC Council offers the Licensed Penetration Tester Credential. To obtain this certification you must pass their entire information security track and their final test by demonstrating a full blown live penetration test. You are given five days to complete your penetration test on the EC-Council’s cyber range, and then submit your written assessment.

The IACRB has a Certified Expert Penetration Tester certification that is a multiple choice test along with a take home challenge test. You have 60 days to complete the following 3 challenges: Discover and create a working exploit for Microsoft Windows, Discover and create a working exploit for Linux and Reverse engineer and Windows Binary. If you are trying to combine theoretical knowledge with practical application, this is one of the better hacking and penetration testing certifications available.

Certifications for General IT Concepts

I never think of disaster recovery when I think about cybersecurity, but the reality is that if there is a breach of your online systems, implementing a disaster recovery protocol is important. If you want to get certified in disaster recovery, you should strongly consider the Disaster Recovery International certification.

Depending on your business, you can choose from public sector protection and healthcare continuity planning to auditing, risk management and all the way up to becoming a Master Business Continuity Planner.

The CISA certification is the gold standard for anyone that is involved in the audit or review of a company’s information technology processes and systems. If you are working in Internal Audit or a similar function, obtaining a CISA certification is a great choice and is very prestigious within the overall audit community.

Product Specific Certifications

Cisco has many different product specific certifications that are very valuable for your career to demonstrate your networking and security knowledge. Cisco also has a cybersecurity course intended to help you detect and mitigate network security threats by leveraging features that exist in Cisco and other industry network security products.

Why Do Certifications Matter?

This statistic from the GIAC is very compelling: “81% of hiring managers who participated in a recent Salary Survey consider certifications a factor in their hiring decisions.” To get a leg up on the competition, the appropriate cybersecurity degree for the job will put you ahead of the other candidates. Also when you have a job, a certification will earn you better pay raises. A 2011 survey found that 40% of respondents said certifications increased their salary by more than 10%.

Increased Investments in Cybersecurity Companies make it the Perfect Time to get a Certification

There is an increasing amount of money moving into new cybersecurity startups. The US has been the clear leader in seed and VC investment in cybersecurity, but Israel is quickly catching up. These new companies also mean very strong growth in cybersecurity jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

Investing in career development has a tangible ROI that is worthwhile for almost all information technology professionals. The key is making sure you navigate the sea of cybersecurity courses, training and certifications and pick those that make the most sense.

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