Companies are paying double to hire the best, and brightest IT security professionals, as high profile companies like Target, Sony, Adobe, Ashley Madison and others continue to dominate breach headlines. Many companies are facing trouble finding the best security professionals, who can protect the organization from such threats and risks.

However, the universities are failing to provide quality cyber security education to prepare them for the ongoing and upcoming cyber challenges. This created a real challenge for the organization to settle for ordinary cyber security professionals.

There are many security education boards that provide certifications and education to meet the organization’s requirement best and protect them from cyber threats. The certificate courses provide the candidate with the practical based experience to deal with the real life threat, rather than only education.

Certifications are a way to prove your ability and could also be a differentiating factor for your career, as they are considered a mark of excellence and objective proof of credibility. A certification in any relevant domain, including analytics, compliance, or management skills, could improve your career advancement opportunities within your current organization or give you the extra boost you need to nail down a new job.

Earning a security credential can help you open the door to a great job. But you need to know which certification is the right one for you. Here are some certifications that you should have to achieve a good job and expert level of skills in the field.

GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) is the leading provider and developer of Cyber Security Certifications, globally recognized by government, military and industry leaders. GIAC tests and validates the ability of practitioners in areas including security administration, forensics, management, audits, software security, and legal.

GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) is designed for candidates who want to demonstrate skills in IT systems roles on security tasks.

Prerequisites: None

Exam: GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) (180 questions, 5 hours, 73% passing score).

Approx. Cost for Exam: $1,099 USD, administered by Pearson VUE (Affiliate Pricing for GIAC Certification in conjunction with SANS training is $629 USD).

Self-Study Material: Training events ($5,950 USD), Self-study books and DVDs ($5,350 USD).

(ISC) ² Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP):

(ISC)² certifications are globally acknowledged as the Gold Standard in for educating and certifying information security professionals. (ISC) ² provides certification in areas such as information security, system security, authorization, software development, digital forensics and health care. The two key certifications are Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).

The ideal candidates are those who are information assurance professionals and know how to define the information system architecture, design, control management and controls that can assure the security of business environments.

Prerequisites

Candidates must have a minimum of 5 years of paid full-time work experience in 2 of the 8 domains of the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), which covers critical topics in security, including risk management, cloud computing, mobile security, application development security, and more.

Exam

CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional (250 questions, 6 hours, 70% passing score).

Approximate Cost for Exam

$599 USD (For Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions) and administered by Pearson VUE.

Learning Material:
https://www.isc2.org/official-isc2-textbooks.aspx

Practice Exam: https://www.skillset.com/certifications/cissp

(ISC) ² Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP):

This certification is designed for candidates interested in the field of information security. The ideal candidates are those who are information assurance professionals and know how to define the information system architecture, design, control management and controls that can assure the security of business environments.

Prerequisites

The candidate is required to have a minimum of one year of cumulative paid full-time work experience in one or more of the seven domains of the SSCP CBK. If candidates do not have the required experience, they may still sit for the exam and become an Associate of (ISC)² until they have gained the required experience.

Exam

SSCP – Systems Security Certified Practitioner (125 questions, 3 hours, 70% passing score).

Approximate Cost for Exam

$250 USD (For Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions) and administered by Pearson VUE.

Learning Material: https://www.isc2.org/official-isc2-textbooks.aspx#SSCPTextbook

(ISACA) Certified Information Security Manager (CISM):

Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) certifications are globally accepted and recognized, and are known for helping candidates combine the achievement of passing an exam with credit for their work and educational experience.

The key certifications offered by ISACA are Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). Other certifications offered include Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC).

This certification ensures knowledge of information security, as well as development and management of an information security program.

Prerequisites:

Candidates must have five years of work experience in the field of information security, with at least three years in the role of information security manager.

Exam:

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) (200 questions, 4 hours, 450 as the passing mark for the exams required)

Approximate Cost for Exam:

The applicant can register for an ISACA exam via online registration or a hard copy registration form. Note: There is an additional $50 USD processing fee for applying for certification. The cost of online registrations: $490 USD (for ISACA members) and $675 USD (for Non-ISACA members).

Learning Material:

http://www.isaca.org/Certification/CISM-Certified-Information-Security-Manager/Prepare-for-the-Exam/Study-Materials/Pages/default.aspx

(ISACA) Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The CISA certification is a globally recognized certification for IS audit control, assurance and security professionals. With this certification, candidates can showcase their audit experience, skills, and knowledge, and demonstrate the capability to assess vulnerabilities, report on compliance and institute controls within their enterprise.

Prerequisites

Candidates must have five years of work experience in the fields of Information Systems Auditing, Control, Assurance or Security.

Exam

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) (200 questions, 4 hours, 450 as the passing mark for the exams required)

Approximate Cost for Exam

The applicant can register for an ISACA exam via online registration or a hard copy registration form. Note: There is an additional $50 USD processing fee for applying for certification. The cost of online registrations: $490 USD (for ISACA members) and $675 USD (for Non-ISACA members).

Learning Material:

http://www.isaca.org/Certification/CISA-Certified-Information-Systems-Auditor/Prepare-for-the-Exam/Pages/default.aspx

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH):

EC-Council is a member-based organization that certifies individuals in various e-business and information security skills. Here is a list of all the certifications that EC-Council provides: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH); Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI); EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA); Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT); EC-Council Network Security Administrator (ENSA); EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH); EC-Council Certified Security Specialist (ECSP); EC-Council Certified Disaster Recovery Professional (EDRP); Chief Information Security Officer (CISO); Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU); Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is the most common and widely used certification.

CEH is a comprehensive Ethical Hacking and Information Systems Security Auditing program with the latest security threats, advanced attack vectors, and practical real-time demonstrations of the latest hacking techniques, methodologies, tools, tricks, and security measures.

Prerequisites

Candidates must attend official training or have at least two years of information security related experience.

Exam

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam (125 questions, 4 hours, 70% passing score)

Approximate Cost for Exam

The version 8 exam costs $500 USD for the actual test and $100 USD as a nonrefundable fee for registration, administered by Prometric Prime/ Prometric APTC/VUE.

Learning Material

https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-ethical-hacker-ceh/

Ethical Hacking Training – Resources (InfoSec)

EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)

ECSA is an advanced ethical hacking certification and a step ahead of a CEH. This certification helps analysts validate the analytical phase of ethical hacking by being able to analyze the outcome of hacking tools and technologies. By making use of innovational network penetration testing methods and techniques, an ECSA can perform the intensive assessments required to effectively identify and mitigate risks to the information security of the infrastructure. The ECSA certification is designed for candidates who are Network Server Administrators, Firewall Administrators, Information Security Testers, System Administrators and Risk Assessment Professionals.

Prerequisites

Candidates must attend official training or have at least two years of information security related experience.

Exam

ECSA (150 questions, 4 hours, 70% passing score)

Approximate Cost for Exam

The version 8 exam costs $500 USD for the actual test and $100 USD as a nonrefundable fee for registration, administered by Prometric Prime/ Prometric APTC/VUE.

Learning Material

https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-security-analyst-ecsa/

IT professionals need to brush up on their ability and skills to withstand the crowd in the field of cyber security, where organizations are seeking best skills. The certifications mentioned above are the best known and advanced courses in the field. However, the list is not limited to these only. There are many other certifications as well. It depends on which specific career path you are seeking your specialization. While these are general and core among all.