What Are the Best Cybersecurity Certifications?

by Jessalynne Madden | Jul 26, 2019

A notebook and pen and the words Best Cybersecurity CertificationsDespite the more than 300,000 cybersecurity jobs vacant in the United States, they can be tough to land if you don’t have the right experience and credentials. Job candidates need solid cybersecurity skills, and the quickest way to prove to employers you have what it takes is by earning the right cybersecurity certifications.  

Search the internet for “cybersecurity certifications,” and you’ll get 110 million results in 0.70 seconds. Talk about confusing! When you’re searching for the right certification to help you get into cybersecurity or further your cybersecurity career, what you need are credible industry sources to help steer you toward the certifications that will benefit you most.

In the past year, some of these sources have listed CompTIA among the best cybersecurity certifications on the market. Read on to find out which certifications they think will add value to your resume. 

CompTIA Security+ 

HackRead calls CompTIA Security+ “the main security certification for IT experts to procure.” It cites the following skills as highlights of the foundational cybersecurity certification:

  • Threat management
  • Cryptography
  • Network access control

HackRead adds that CompTIA Security+ is especially valuable to the following IT jobs:

HackRead lists CompTIA Security+ in its five best cybersecurity certifications, along with Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA PenTest+ launched on July 31, 2018, making it the newest CompTIA certification. Despite the fact that it’s only a year old, the offensive, or red team, cybersecurity certification has already been recognized by IT industry leader INFOSEC.

INFOSEC notes that while CompTIA is new to pen testing certifications, “it’s well known in the industry for a host of other IT and security credentials.”

INFOSEC outlines five areas that are covered by CompTIA PenTest+:

  • Planning and scoping
  • Pen testing tools
  • Info-gathering and vulnerabilities identification
  • Attacks and exploits
  • Reporting and communication

The mastery of each of these areas will help IT professionals get into cybersecurity or strengthen their current cybersecurity career. Information Assurance Certification Review Board (IACRB) Certified Penetration Tester (CPT), EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and EC-Council Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) are a few other pen testing IT certifications INFOSEC considers great investments.  

CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)

Business News Daily suggests CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) as a solution to the growing demand for highly skilled security analysts. It notes that CompTIA CySA+ prepares individuals to effectively detect system threats and use data and behavioral analytics to secure applications and systems from risks, threats and other vulnerabilities.

In addition to monitoring network behavior, CompTIA CySA+ certification holders can expertly analyze results and brainstorm solutions that protect against APTs, intrusions and malware. Many other CompTIA certifications are mentioned besides CySA+ as being some of the best cybersecurity certifications to earn, including CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Cloud+ and CompTIA PenTest+, just to name a few.

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

phoenixNAP says CompTIA certifications are “some of the industry’s most sought-after certifications because the Department of Defense (DoD) requires several for nearly any IT related position.”

It calls CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) one of the best cybersecurity certifications to grow your IT career and help you get into cybersecurity in the government sector, as government employers will accept the certification for any level of security professional.

At the time of publication, CompTIA did not offer training products for CASP+, but you can now purchase the Official CASP+ Study Guide, in eBook or hardcover, and CompTIA CertMaster Labs for CASP+, which helps you practice the hands-on skills tested through performance-based questions.

phoenixNAP lists CompTIA CASP+ along with Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), GIAC Certified Incident Handler (CIH), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) as a highly recommended IT certification for growing your cybersecurity career.

Cybersecurity Certifications to Advance Your IT Career

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected growth rate for information security analysts is 28% by 2026 – the quickest-growing rate for all professions. This indicates IT professionals are going to have some incredible cybersecurity career opportunities in the near future. To take advantage of these opportunities, you’ll need the right IT certifications for the job. Which certification will you start with?

Do you want to get into cybersecurity? Check out the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway.

15 Comments

  • Rick Blocherer

    Friday, August 2, 2019

    Great information. I already have my A+/Network+/Security+ and I am working on the CYSA+. Any additional CYSA+ information you have please send it. s

  • Friday, August 2, 2019

    Hi, Rick! Thanks for your comment. In addition to the CySA+ product page, which is linked in the article, we have a lot of blog posts related to the certification. Check them out here: https://certification.comptia.org/it-career-news/hub/comptia-cysa Good luck!

  • Tony D

    Friday, August 2, 2019

    Great article and great information confirming that I am on the right path! I have my Security+CE & my CEH currently and I will be taking a preparatory class for my CISSP in September!

  • Fred S

    Friday, August 2, 2019

    I passed my Network+ in May and I'm working on the Security+ to take it asap. I'm already thinking to study the next one but I don't know which one between CySa+ & PenTest+. I would like to be able to test the security of my customers' IT infrastructure to advise them the solution to secure it and fill in gaps. What's your advice?

  • Jerry

    Saturday, August 3, 2019

    Fantastic accolades, and justly attributed to CompTia. Now, if only gaining appropriate experience were a little easier........

  • Cyril Ugbem

    Saturday, August 3, 2019

    Does any of these certifications have prerequisite? If no, I wish to take CASP+ and what is the cost?

  • John A

    Saturday, August 3, 2019

    Rick what do you do for work with all those certs?

  • DAVID E COOK

    Saturday, August 3, 2019

    CASP+ has worked out very well for me in DoD. It is an Information Assurance Technical (IAT) III and Information Assurance Management (IAM) II credential while the CISSP is IAT III/IAM III. However, I think the CASP+ should also be re-classified to IAM III as well. I think it's more robust a certification than CISSP.

  • John O'Brien

    Saturday, August 3, 2019

    Why is it that I have to first take A+ parts 1 and 2, and Network+ before taking Security+? I already have a MS degree with a concentration in Cybersecurity and Intelligence analysis. It is what I want to do. I don't want to be a computer technician or a systems administrator. It is almost as if I am being steered away from my goal as a cyber analyst. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  • Earl Moen

    Monday, August 5, 2019

    It is worth pointing out that CompTIA PenTest+ meets the ISO 17024 standard - that is a pretty big deal in the job market right now.

  • Monday, August 5, 2019

    Hi, Fred! Thanks for your comment. We wrote an article last fall comparing the two sides of cybersecurity, that may help you decide. We also have a quiz to help you decide if you're red team or blue team. I would suggest learning as much as you can about what it means to work on offensive and defensive security to see which side appeals to you more. Good luck! https://certification.comptia.org/it-career-news/post/view/2018/09/28/cybersecurity-red-team-or-blue-team

  • Monday, August 5, 2019

    Hi, Cyril! Thanks for your comment. While there are not prerequisites, we do recommend having a certain level of hands-on experience in the field before taking our certifications. For CASP+, we recommend having a minimum of 10 years of experience in IT administration, including at least 5 years of hands-on technical security experience. The voucher for the exam costs $439 USD. Good luck!

  • Monday, August 5, 2019

    Hi, John! Thanks for your question. You don't actually have to take A+ and Network+ before taking Security+. We recommend you have the same level of experience as someone who has Network+ in addition to two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus, but ultimately, it's up to you as to which certifications best meet your needs. I would suggest downloading the exam objectives for Security+ to gauge if you have a solid understanding of the topics covered or if you need to take a step back to Network+ or A+ first. Good luck! https://certification.comptia.org/training/exam-objectives

  • David E Cook

    Tuesday, August 6, 2019

    John O' Brien - there are no pre-requisites to take Security+. (None that I can find on CompTIA's web site at least). You should be good to go any time you're ready to test.

  • David La Lone

    Wednesday, August 7, 2019

    John O' Brien - To make recommendations on what security controls to implement knowing how computer systems work and how a network routes traffic are the basic building blocks. Sometimes spending time as a desktop/network technician lays the foundation for being a great cybersecurity specialist. Don't frown about needing to have an A+ or Network+ certification, having these certifications benefits you in the long run.

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