If you're looking to start or further a career in cyber security, having the right qualifications to demonstrate your skills is a must. And while academic courses are a good option for many, professional certifications are another common option.
Professional cyber security qualifications are those run by organisations within the industry. They are typically tailored to the sort of situations you're likely to encounter in your day-to-day activities and as such are seen as essential by many employers when it comes to looking for a new position.
However, even if you're looking to expand your knowledge within your current role, these training courses and certifications will prove highly valuable.
What types of professional qualifications are available?
Industry qualifications cover a wide range of topics and there are options suitable for all skill levels. If you're just getting started in the sector, there are a range of entry-level and beginner courses that can help you build up your knowledge of the basics.
For those with more experience, advanced and expert-level courses are available. These often follow on directly from more junior-level certifications, so you can build up your knowledge and skills along clear tracks.
When looking for a suitable cyber security training course, it's important to understand the range of topics it will cover and how closely it will align to the roles you're interested in. For example, qualifications such as certified ethical hacker courses may be a minimum requirement if you're looking for roles within the field of penetration testing.
Many certifications can be obtained simply by paying a fee to take the relevant exam, without any formally-guided education. However, this is often not the best way to prepare for these tests. Instead, online or in-person training courses that cover the exact topics you'll need to know about will usually be a must if you hope to pass.
Who runs professional cyber security training courses?
Organisations that run cyber security courses include dedicated training training providers, non-profits and technology suppliers such as Microsoft and Cisco.
Among the most notable and well-regarded providers of professional training courses include:
- IT Governance
Some organisations create and run their own certifications, which are often seen as the gold standard for certain roles. For example, (ISC)2's Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) qualification is recognised by the UK as the equivalent of a Master's degree and may be a must for many senior and management positions.
Other organisations act as partners, using their training expertise to deliver education to prepare candidates for qualification exams.
You may be required to renew your certification on a regular basis, depending on the organisation and course you choose, so this is something you should be aware of when selecting a course. This helps ensure that you're up-to-date with any new developments in the sector - something that is always essential in the fast-evolving world of cyber security.
Why should you undertake professional cyber security qualifications?
Many employers and recruiters will ask for you to have a specific professional qualification in order to prove your skills when applying for a role. Qualifications that are particularly tailored to the area you wish to work in, such as penetration testing or cloud security, for example, are likely to be minimum requirements for many vacancies.
Even if a potential employer isn't asking for a specific certification, they can still help you stand out from other candidates and showcase your talents. A respected certification doesn't just demonstrate you have knowledge. It also shows you have the determination and dedication to your craft needed to reach the top.
Certifications issued by well-regarded industry bodies are also highly valued by employers ahead of many other types of training, as they have a proven record for excellence. In turn, you can often use these qualifications to negotiate improved salaries or promotions, even if you're not actively looking for a new company.
Beyond this, completing accredited qualifications from industry bodies often also gives you access to a wide community of skilled professionals and ongoing education you can take advantage of to help further your career and prevent cyber security incidents.
If you're looking to advance your career in cyber security, having relevant industry certifications will therefore be essential. Check out our range of courses to find one that's right for you.