3 best qualifications if you're new to cyber security

There's never been a better time to start a cyber security career. With hackers becoming ever-more sophisticated and threats becoming more widespread, there's huge demand among businesses of all sizes for professionals with the skills to combat these attacks.


But if you're looking to move into this sector of IT for the first time, how do you demonstrate you have what it takes? This is where certifications come in. 


These cyber security training courses have been designed by industry groups - including non-profits and commercial organisations like Microsoft - to give cyber security pros the precise tools and skills they need to keep firms safe, and many of them are highly respected and desirable by hirers.


There are a wide range of certifications available for everyone from beginners to experts, so it can be hard to know where to start. However, if you're looking to break into the sector, having at least one of these three entry-level courses will give you a great headstart in the sector.


1. Security+


Offered by CompTIA, the Security+ certification is widely recognised as among the most valuable introductions to cyber security. It provides an essential grounding in all the key areas you'll need to be aware of to be successful in cyber security, including threat detection and response, identity and access management principles and secure application development.


With a focus on hands-on education, Security+ helps professionals learn to assess situations, monitor and secure environments, understand risks and compliance requirements and analyse and respond to security incidents.


This should give you everything you need to get started in cyber, and a Security+ certification will often be a minimum requirement for entry-level roles such as security engineers, security analysts and network security administrators.


2. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)


Another key vendor-neutral certification is (ISC)2's Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) qualification. This focuses more closely on IT infrastructure security and is especially suitable for candidates looking for technical-oriented positions.


It covers topics across seven 'common body of knowledge' domains, which will be covered in a 125-question final exam. These domains are:


  • Access control
  • Incident response and recovery
  • Risk identification, monitoring and analysis
  • Security operations and administration
  • Network and communications security
  • Systems and application security
  • Cryptography


Once certified, a CCSP qualification may be required for roles in areas such as network security and systems engineering.


3. Certified Ethical Hacker


If you want to beat hackers, you have to think like them. And this is where qualifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) come in. This course is ideal for anyone looking for roles such as penetration tester, security analyst, vulnerability assessment and, of course, ethical hacker.


It covers a wide range of real-world hacking techniques and practices, including reconnaissance, social engineering, network scanning, session hacking, viruses, SQL injection and more.


This gives you all the tools you'll need to uncover weaknesses in IT systems, understand what attack vectors hackers may use, and make recommendations for how to improve systems. In today's environment, being able to provide this practical insight into the vulnerabilities of their systems is a hugely attractive skill for any organisation.


If any of these three industry qualifications sound like the right starting place for your cyber security career, browse our training courses today to find one that's the best fit for you.