cso spotlight: certifications

Top cyber security certifications: Who they're for, what they cost, and which you need

Expand your skills, know-how, and career horizons with these highly respected cybersecurity certs

Essential certifications for smart security pros
KTSimage / Getty Images

Two of the most common questions I’m asked are, "Is having a computer security certification helpful in getting a job or starting a career in computer security?” and, "Which certification should someone get?" The answer to the first question is a definite yes. Getting a certification, while not a cumulative showing of your entire experience and knowledge in a particular area, can only help you. That’s true not only in getting a new job, but in improving your knowledge and experience overall, even in your current job.

Critics often say a certification means nothing, and that acumen and experience are the only true differentiators. As a holder of dozens of IT certifications, I beg to differ. More importantly, most employers agree with me. While a computer certification doesn’t tell the whole story, to say it doesn’t say anything about a person is an error.

Every certification I’ve gained took focused, goal-oriented study, which employers view favorably, as they do with college degrees. More important, I picked up many new skills and insights into IT security while studying for each certification test. I learned about new things, and I also gained new perspectives on subjects I thought I had already mastered. I became a better employee and thinker because of all the certifications I have studied for and obtained. You will too.

Sometimes, a particular certification is the minimum hurdle to getting an in-person job interview. If you don’t have the cert, you don’t get invited. Other times, having a particular certification can give you a leg up on competing job candidates who have similar skill sets and experience, but don’t have the desired certification.

Security is more important to computing and the internet than ever before, and the following, well-respected security certs will not only help you stand out from the crowd, but also make you a more valuable member of the IT security community.

To continue reading this article register now

7 hot cybersecurity trends (and 2 going cold)