5 Great ‘Starter’ Cybersecurity Certifications

Find accessible and affordable certifications to get your cybersecurity career off the ground.

  • Through 2025, it is anticipated that global cybersecurity investment would amount to billions. Because of this, the cybersecurity sector is a fantastic place to look for employment.
  • Microsoft, ISACA, CompTIA, GIAC, and (ISC)2 entry-level cybersecurity certifications will help you demonstrate your expertise to potential employers.
  • To be ready for your exam, employ study aids, flashcards, and practice questions. You could have to pay several hundred dollars to register for your exam.
  • Anyone interested in entry-level cybersecurity positions should read this article.

Looking to change careers? There has never been a better moment to think about a cybersecurity profession. Each year, U.S. corporations and government organizations spend billions of dollars on data and asset protection. In fact, the 2022 Official Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures projects that between 2021 and 2025, the world will spend $1.75 trillion on cybersecurity.

A sensible method to validate your abilities and expertise and garner attention for your CV is through certification, especially with the rising need for competent security experts. We’ll highlight five certifications that may jumpstart your cybersecurity career and provide advice on how to ace the test.

Entry-level cybersecurity certifications

The following cybersecurity certifications are excellent ways to firm up your skill set and bolster your resume for hiring managers seeking to attract and retain the best employees.

1. Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

The most “entry-level” certification we’re emphasizing is Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals. This certification, which is geared for students, business users, and IT professionals, acknowledges understanding of a wide range of cybersecurity subjects, including fundamental Microsoft 365 and Azure. Additionally, it acknowledges expertise with cloud and networking computing ideas as well as basic IT knowledge or job experience. You must pass a single exam, which costs $99, in order to become certified.

Microsoft suggests using its self-paced Microsoft Learn curriculum to increase your chances of earning this certification. Microsoft also advises taking practice tests, attending educational events, and working as a security, compliance, or identity management shadow.

2. ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals

People in the security sector are familiar with ISACA because of well-established credentials like its Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and related qualifications, all of which give intermediate to advanced credentials. They are made for IT specialists who wish to assist in identifying and avoiding network security risks and vulnerabilities.

The Cybersecurity Fundamentals certificate is designed to fill the entry-level niche. This certificate covers four cybersecurity-related domains:

  • Threat landscape
  • Information security fundamentals
  • Securing access
  • Security operations and response

The single exam costs $150 for ISACA members and $199 for nonmembers. The certificate doesn’t expire or require periodic recertification.

3. CompTIA Security+

Perhaps the most well-known entry-level security certification is the CompTIA Security+, which covers a wide array of security and information assurance topics, including:

  • Network security
  • Threats and vulnerabilities
  • Access controls
  • Cryptography
  • Risk management principles
  • Application, host and data security

The certification conforms with the Federal Information Security Management Act and U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570.01-M criteria, which are prerequisites for anybody wishing to work in IT security for the federal government.

Before taking the Security+ test, CompTIA advises applicants to have two years of relevant experience and the Network+ credential. This test costs $392, which places it about in the middle of the price range for other entry-level certifications. Jobs that may be obtained with a Security+ certificate include network engineer, systems administrator, and security administrator.

4. GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)

System administrators, managers, and information security officers who require a thorough understanding of computer networks, security guidelines, incident response, and cryptographic concepts should target the GISF certification, according to GIAC.

The CompTIA Security+ test is said to be easier than the GISF exam. It is advised to have hands-on expertise earned through training or on-the-job experience because GIAC certification tests often demand test takers to apply knowledge and problem-solving abilities.

The GISF test is $949 in price. The certification-attempt package from GIAC contains two practice examinations, however the cost of this exam is too exorbitant.

Consider pursuing the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), an intermediate-level certification that goes well beyond basic information security principles, after earning the GISF.

5. (ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

The most prominent and well-known security credential today is arguably the (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Although the ANSI-accredited SSCP serves as the entry-level certification, (ISC)2 also provides a number of additional security-related certificates.

If you don’t already have technical or engineering-related information technology expertise, the SSCP will prepare you for careers like security analyst, network security engineer, and security administrator, which often start at the junior level.

You must pass a single test with questions from all seven of the CBK domains in order to become an SSCP:

  • Access Limitations
  • Identification, monitoring, and analysis of security operations and administration risks
  • Response to incidents and recovery
  • Cryptography
  • Communications and the Network Applications and Security Systems

Before taking the test, (ISC)2 advises that you take training courses or conference workshops, take part in webinars, study white papers, and read books to make sure you have enough hands-on security experience.

The test costs $2,490, and (ISC)2’s website sells a range of study materials.

Preparing for your exams

Whichever certification you decide is ideal for you, be ready to invest a significant amount of time in your own self-study. When studying for a certification exam, many test-takers like to use a top-rated study guide along with some practice questions and flashcards.

If formal, instructor-led training is more your way of learning, take that into account while making your plans. Regardless of the certification, training expenses generally range from $400 to over $5,000, depending on whether you go for online, virtual classroom, or in-person instruction.

Cybersecurity certifications can help you navigate your career path

Entry-level certifications are a great way to start, advance, or navigate your IT professional career path. You may show that you’re eager to learn while earning the in-demand job abilities that your employers — and potential employers — seek by working for and obtaining IT certifications.

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