In-Demand Cybersecurity Certifications That Will Elevate Your Career
By The Fullstack Academy Team
Cybercrime costs are expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures—driving significant demand for experienced cybersecurity professionals.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the cybersecurity job market will grow 35% by 2031, making many eager to enter the lucrative field. However, with so many vying for a role in cybersecurity, it’s important to stand out to potential employers. Learn how earning a cybersecurity certification can benefit your job search and which industry certificates employers value most.
Can I Get a Job With a Cybersecurity Certification?
As an aspiring cybercrime fighter, cybersecurity certifications help demonstrate your readiness to potential employers. In fact, according to the AWS Global Digital Skills Study, candidates with credentials were 38% more likely to be hired.
Not only can cybersecurity certifications give you a leg up in the hiring process—they can also enhance your performance. The 2022 IT Skills and Salary report, which surveyed IT professionals around the world, found that:
56% of respondents said earning a certification improved the overall quality of their work
41% of respondents felt more engaged in their work
36% of respondents said they’re able to do their job faster
How to Choose the Right Cybersecurity Certifications
With so many cybersecurity certifications available, which ones should you prioritize? The answer is simple: it depends on your career goals and market demand.
For example, are you going to work on the red team or blue team in cybersecurity? Are there any infosec niches that you want to specialize in? Every situation is different, and so is the perfect mix of certifications.
To ensure you’re conveying an advanced level of infosec skills, try earning the fewest certifications necessary. Focus on certificates that are industry-recognized and in demand by employers worldwide.
Vendor-Specific vs. Vendor-Neutral Cybersecurity Certifications
Deciding whether you want a vendor-specific or vendor-neutral certification is essential when pursuing cybersecurity certifications. Vendor-specific certifications help you understand each vendor’s requirements and tools. If you know your company works with a particular solution, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, a vendor-specific certification may help you rise up through the ranks.
Vendor-neutral certifications provide an understanding of broader cybersecurity principles and tools. These certifications are typically offered by industry organizations, such as CompTIA or (ISC)2. Vendor-neutral certifications are likely the best option if you want to learn about general cybersecurity principles and foundations rather than a specific tool or platform.
What Are the Best Cybersecurity Analyst Certifications to Earn?
Hundreds of cybersecurity certifications are available on the market, but not all carry the same weight. Here are the most in-demand cybersecurity certifications for professionals of all levels.
Entry-Level Cybersecurity Analyst Certifications
If you’re new to cybersecurity or a junior analyst, earning the following certifications can help bolster your resume:
1. CompTIA Security+
As the most popular entry-level certification, the CompTIA Security+ certification signals you know how to perform core security functions like cyber threat detection, risk mitigation, access management, and cloud environments. Many cybersecurity professionals highly recommend CompTIA Security+ as the first certification to pursue, as it can provide a springboard for intermediate roles.
2. (ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
The SSCP certification shows you have advanced technical skills to implement, monitor, and manage IT infrastructure using cybersecurity best practices. This globally-recognized certification is ideal for security professionals responsible for hands-on operational security.
3. ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals
The ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certification is perfect for students and recent graduates seeking a deeper understanding of cybersecurity principles. This certificate will teach you about the threat landscape, security operations and response, information security fundamentals, and how to secure assets.
Intermediate Cybersecurity Analyst Certifications
For mid-level cybersecurity professionals, these cybersecurity certifications can help you prepare for the next step in your career.
1. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
For mid-level professionals, CISA certification shows employers you can take a risk-based approach to planning, performing, and reporting on audits. 70% of cybersecurity professionals who obtain the ANAB-accredited certification have reported job improvement, and 22% have seen a pay increase.
2. CompTIA PenTest+
Prove you’re an expert in penetration testing and vulnerability management with the CompTIA PenTest+ certification. As the most comprehensive exam covering all stages of penetration testing, earning this credential will demonstrate knowledge of the latest techniques and trends.
3. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
The CCSP certification shows you have the technical understanding to design, maintain, and secure data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud. This globally recognized certification is ideal for leaders who utilize best practices for cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration.
Advanced Cybersecurity Analyst Certifications
If you’re a seasoned cyber professional looking to break into management or become an expert-level practitioner, consider the following certifications:
1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Offered by (ISC)², the CISSP credential is one of the most in-demand certifications for advanced cybersecurity professionals with 5+ years of experience. It demonstrates you have the knowledge and skills to develop and lead a best-in-class cybersecurity program. The certification is ANAB accredited and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense.
2. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
Designed for advanced-level cybersecurity practitioners with 10+ years of hands-on IT experience, CompTIA CASP+ is for technical professionals who want to develop, manage, and implement solutions rather than step into a management role. CASP+ is the only industry certification that is hands-on and performance-based.
3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
As a CISM-certified professional, you’ll demonstrate your ability to assess risks, implement solutions, and proactively respond to cyber incidents. According to ISACA, the issuer of this credential, 70% of CISM-certified professionals have experienced on-the-job improvement, and 42% received a pay increase.
Vendor-Specific Cybersecurity Certifications
If your company uses a specific vendor, it may be helpful to earn a vendor-specific certification. Here are some of the popular cybersecurity vendors that offer in-demand certifications:
1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
The industry-recognized certifications for AWS can help advance your professional career by validating your practical cloud skills. Cybersecurity professionals can follow the AWS Security learning path to obtain the AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification, demonstrating their ability to create and implement security solutions in the AWS Cloud.
Earning a certification from Microsoft shows you’re up-to-date with the latest technical requirements. Microsoft offers several role-based certifications for Security Engineers, Solution Architects, and more. Popular Microsoft certifications for cybersecurity professionals include Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert, and Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate. Adding these to your resume will help you stand out in the hiring process.
As a leader in cybersecurity, Cisco offers several trainings and certifications for professionals of all levels. Cisco certifications help you understand and address real-world security issues quickly and effectively. Currently, Cisco offers four cybersecurity certifications and training programs: CyberOps Associate, CyberOps Professional, CCNP Security, and CCIE Security.
Kickstart Your Career as a Cybercrime Fighter
At Fullstack Academy, we are committed to helping you gain the skills, knowledge, and credentials to land your first cybersecurity role and every job thereafter. The Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Analytics Bootcamp can prepare you to earn industry-recognized certifications from CompTIA and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bolster your resume. Learn more about the Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp and how it can prepare you for a fulfilling career.