Cybersecurity Certifications for Beginners

Choosing cybersecurity and pursuing cybersecurity certifications as a career option is an excellent choice. Industry statistics currently show that there will be over 3.5 million available jobs within the next 3 years. That entails an approximate 37% annual job growth in cybersecurity alone. If joining in on the action is calling you, a cybersecurity certification is a strong starting point.

man sits behind a desk with an open laptop holding up a tablet and smartphone that show the words cybersecurity and GDPR on the screens.

What Better Time Than Now To Choose Cybersecurity?

Surveys taken by CSIS suggest that 82% of employers report a shortage of cybersecurity skills and that, out of those employers, 71% feel the gap causes notable damage to their respective businesses. Due to recent regulations within the industry, however, this will result in an inability to fill a substantial number of job openings.  

Unlike traditional roles, cybersecurity roles allow for candidates to pursue a career without having completed a four-year track. With that said, you will need to prove competence and knowledge by attaining certain certifications.

If you are looking to expand your horizons with cybersecurity certifications, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s look at some ways you can pursue your certification of choice.

The Self-Directed Method

This approach focuses on specific, entry-level qualifications. It allows you to study on your own time and take an exam that certifies you are knowledgeable in the specific subject matter. These are the certifications you may want to pursue.

CEH Ethical Hacker Certification

For those looking to be certified white-hat cybersecurity professionals or white-hat pen testers, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification provides you with a foundational certification.

This is a popular option for generic systems administrators that are interested or considering getting certified in a cybersecurity specialty. The program is organized specifically so that one is able to progress through to the ECSA (Certified Security Analyst) certification, as well as the LPT (Licensed Penetration Tester) exam.

The certification is not for the faint of heart, as the exam takes four hours to complete and comprises over one hundred questions in total. The EC-Council administers and designs the exam in a manner that intensely challenges you as you work through vulnerabilities, exploits, tools, and scripts.

The certification is suitable for any cybersecurity beginner because it does not require you to know a specific operating system (OS). The objective of the certification is to determine if you are able to defend against cyber threats.

After completing the certification, you should be able to demonstrate your expertise regarding viruses and other potential vulnerabilities.

CompTIA Security+

If you already have experience with networking, this certification serves as another tool under your belt. Upon passing the exam, you will hold an official and documented credential that is acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Specific cybersecurity topics covered involve network attack procedures, appropriate defenses against cyber attacks, encryption standards and products, as well as methods of recovery.

With any cybersecurity certification, it’s necessary to have an understanding of the material included in the exams. This means that going after any certification, no matter how entry-level, is going to require some training and industry experience. Luckily, even with no previous experience, it’s possible to gain the skills and knowledge you need.

E-Learning Options

Few providers offer entirely online cybersecurity courses. Through the use of video lectures and screen-sharing capabilities, professors are able to instruct you from anywhere you can access the internet.

Due to so much of cybersecurity relying on experiential and hands-on learning approaches, quick online courses are unlikely to provide a comprehensive guide to passing the certification exams. However, some programs are developed with expert-led curricula to ensure learners are getting an immersive experience.

Regardless of how hands-on they may or may not be, online courses do provide an excellent foundation for understanding basic networking concepts. From the comfort of one’s home or favorite coffee shop, one can become well-versed in cybersecurity fundamentals before facing more complex coursework!

Traditional Classroom Route

If a more traditional learning environment is more suited to you—even if delivered virtually, rather than in a real classroom—then you have a number of options at your disposal.

On-site training allows for mentors and professors to walk students through the motions, allowing for them to not only complete one of the aforementioned certifications, but also gain a more realistic sense of what a day in the life of a cybersecurity professional will be like.

In-class instruction with a more conventional approach undoubtedly prepares you to pass your exams; however, the commitment and dedication required is also something to consider among many circumstances.

consider becoming a cybersecurity professional

One Step At A Time

If you are not entirely convinced you are ready for a full course, you can note that there are a number of small steps you can take to, at the very least, begin your journey into cybersecurity.

The first step can always be to simply install Kali Linux. If you are unfamiliar, it is a Linux distribution that includes an entire package of pen-testing tools. Playing around with tools is an ideal way to self-teach foundational, offensive techniques by:

  • Familiarizing yourself with creating security environments used in vulnerability testing 
  • Aircrack-ng in order to brute-force wireless passwords
  • Learning to map networks and identify vulnerabilities using Nmap, or the “network mapper”

You can make moves even before officially making big strides in your career path. By simply asking a friend or family member to allow you to hack their network, for example, you are taking your first steps towards your cybersecurity career. 

You Have Options

Certification is your ticket to the ever-expanding world of cybersecurity. There is no better time to take the leap! Find out about your options with the New Jersey Institute of Technology Cybersecurity Professional Bootcamp. Contact our admissions advisors to see if cybersecurity is the right career path for you. To get started, fill out the form below or call us at (973) 688-5050.

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