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Overview of Popular InfoSec Security Certifications

With continuous cyber attacks, phishing attempts and DDOS lock-outs, even the largest business or public sector network is susceptible to attack. Therefore, IT courses have usually includes some level of cyber security training within their curriculum; that said, the security content that forms part of generalist IT training has often been found lacking. Even some degrees have tended to be a little outdated or thin on detail in certain areas.

The average IT degree course puts more emphasis on the theory of cyber security, rather than practical applications and prevention techniques that can be transferred out to the real world.

It is precisely this level of practical application that employers are looking for, however. So if you are interested in specialising in information security, there are additional courses that can give you the knowledge you need to move into this specialist field. These are often intensive short courses, in some cases delivered online, making them accessible for everyone who has an interest in the subject, or is contemplating InfoSec as a career choice.

CCIE Security (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Security)

This is one of the most intensive and highly regarded courses currently available. Provided by Winnet Systems and carrying full Cisco certification, the course is an intensive seven-day ‘boot camp’ designed specifically for CCIE Security candidates. It gives you a specialist understanding of network security, as well as bringing candidates up to speed on all the latest best practice and threat prevention techniques for large networks.

(ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) 2015

The 12-month online CISSP course is much more wide-reaching than many of the more targeted intensive courses, and gives students a comprehensive introduction to key aspects of information security. It covers everything from security management practices through to cryptography and access control systems, giving students a full understanding of the ‘Eight domains’ of information security. It includes:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Asset Security
  • Security Engineering
  • Communications and Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Security Operations
  • Software Development Security

The course is widely regarded as one of the most respected and comprehensive InfoSec courses currently on offer, and is administered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. It’s a must-have for anyone who wants to make InfoSec a serious career choice. It is globally recognised, making it a truly transferable qualification should you want to work abroad.

Typically, you’ll already have experience of network security and systems administration. This is very much a continuous personal development qualification for those with four years or more direct work experience.

Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP)

Another very short, intensive course, the GICP is one of the newest qualifications on the market and gives InfoSec professionals an expert insight into securing and protecting critical infrastructure assets. This qualification focuses exclusively on the cyber security aspects of ICS, and looks at the vulnerability of Industrial Automation and Control Systems, and how they can be defended. It’s unique in that it teaches you how to combine IT with cyber security and engineering best practices, giving you a more comprehensive overview of the subject, as well as practical solutions to identify and combat threats.

Certified Ethical Hacker V9

The Certified Ethical Hacker qualification gives you a real insight into how hackers think, what weaknesses allow hackers into a system, and how to block them. V9 is the most current and one of the most highly regarded qualifications in cyber security, and a must-have for anyone serious about the profession.

To quote the blurb, “To beat a hacker, you need to think like a hacker”, and that’s exactly what this course does. Intensive, challenging and incredibly rewarding, it gives you the tools to beat the hackers at their own game, and can be applied to any sector.

Masters (MSc) in Applied Cyber Security

A global shortage of cyber security experts has encouraged Queens University Belfast to create this one-year masters in Applied Cyber Security. The purpose is to develop the next generation of cyber security professionals who have the skills to combat increasingly complex large infrastructure attacks, right down to that most basic but under-valued aspect of cyber security, social engineering. Suitable for IT graduates who want to specialise in InfoSec and cyber security.

There are also other Master Degrees in cyber security that cover the subject from other angles

A wealth of opportunity

These are just five of the most popular courses, ranging from five-day ‘boot camps’ through to year-long masters courses. You’ll also find a plethora of other courses, both online and on-site, enabling you to expand your skills set and work in one of the most challenging and fascinating of all IT sectors.