The cybersecurity market is one of the best fields for job seekers to be in right now. It is projected to reach $248.26 billion in 2023. This is a 64% increase from its valuation in 2013. Cyberseek reports that there are more than 300,000 cybersecurity job openings in the US and that there are only 2.3 existing cybersecurity workers for every job opening. This means that demand is high for these positions and job security is strong.
Many jobs view certifications as major advantages on job applications while others require certain degrees for different positions. The certifications you’ll need to obtain are dependent on different factors including the type of role you’d like to pursue and your current skill levels. We put together a flowchart below with some guidance for your next IT certification. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of certifications, but a guide to common ones that are helpful for different phases of an IT career.
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First question, at what point are you in your career?
- Beginner (0–2 years of experience)
- Intermediate (3–5 years of experience)
- Advanced (5+ years of experience)
Beginner Level IT Certifications
Many IT professionals begin their careers by obtaining the below certifications. Some employers pass over applications that don’t have some of these entry-level certifications. Many of these require little-to-no prior experience and involve only a written test.
Intermediate IT Certifications
After you’ve got a few years of real-world experience under your belt, it’s time to try your hand at more intermediate IT certifications. These normally require a few years of experience to successfully complete and may go beyond a sit-down test. Some certifications require a letter of recommendation while others may require an intellectual paper in response to their prompted question(s).
Advanced IT Certifications
These certifications are for those with at least five years of experience or more in the IT space in their respective fields. Many of these certifications require several years of experience and other prerequisite certifications, plus require recertification after a few years.
Here is a list of other organizations that offer many different certifications:
The main things to consider are your long-term career goals. Being a CISO is a different career path from a security engineer and thus requires different certifications. This can mean the difference between trying for the CISM vs. CISSP certification. Taking the time to map out your own goals can also help you know when to pursue different certifications since you may be more prepared for certain certifications at different points of your career.
Earn CPEs by digging into a few of our webinars. Taking the time to sit down and watch a few is an easy way to keep your certifications current and level up your IT knowledge. If you’re interested in more ways to earn CPEs, check out our big list of free CPE resources.
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Rob Sobers is a software engineer specializing in web security and is the co-author of the book Learn Ruby the Hard Way.