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Guide To Cybersecurity Certifications 2021


In IT we really like certifications, and this is one of the reasons why I decided to dedicate an article to it. There are so many certifications that it is often difficult to know where to start and which ones will be useful to get your first job. Some people hesitate between a degree and a certification, and it is true that it is not easy to weigh up the pros and cons.

In this article we will discuss the differences between a certification and a degree, review the different popular certifications and some roadmaps to help you choose the right certifications for the job you want.

Certification or degree?

This is a question many of us have asked ourselves and the answer is simple: it depends! It depends on your background, your aspirations, your time, and your budget.

The budget

For many of us the budget is a very important factor. In some countries education is very expensive, while in other countries a degree will cost next to nothing. If your funds are limited and therefore you are looking for the cheapest solution, then getting certified is the best solution.

The time

How quickly do you need to get these new skills? If you are in your 20’s and can afford a degree, then do it. On the other hand, if you need to quickly cultivate yourself for a particular field then a certification will be much faster.

The experience

How many years of experience do you already have in IT? If you are new to IT or cybersecurity and have enough time on your hands then a degree is the best option. You will have the opportunity to gain general knowledge that will be very useful in your career especially in cybersecurity.


Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

CompTIA is one of the market leaders. This association offers vendor-neutral certifications for all levels. To start with, CompTIA offers the so-called Core Skills certifications. These are considered to be the basis for both a cybersecurity orientation and an infrastructure orientation.

CompTIA Core Certifications
CompTIA Core Certifications Pathway

Once the Core Skills have been obtained, it is possible to move into either cyber security or infrastructure.

Cybersecurity pathway:

CompTIA Cybersecurity Certifications
CompTIA Cybersecurity Certifications Pathway

Infrastructure pathway:

CompTIA Infrastructure Certifications
CompTIA Infrastructure Certifications Pathway

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2)

ISC2 information security certifications have a big value as they aren’t easy to get. Unlike CompTIA, you don’t stack certifications as each one is for a specific orientation.

ISC2 Certifications
ISC2 Certifications

Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)

ISACA is one of the big players when it comes to certifications. The CISA and CISM are among the most popular certifications.

ISACA Certifications
ISC2 Certifications

International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council)

The EC-Council offers a wide range of certifications for the cybersecurity. There are 5 categories: Core, fundamentals, advanced, specialist, security awareness and management.

Core certifications:

ECCouncil Core Certifications
ECCouncil Core Certifications

Fundamentals certifications:

ECCouncil Fundamentals Certifications
ECCouncil Fundamentals Certifications

Advanced certifications:

ECCouncil Advanced Certifications
ECCouncil Advanced Certifications

Specialist certifications:

ECCouncil Specialist Certifications
ECCouncil Specialist Certifications

Security awareness certification:

ECCouncil Security Awareness Certifications
ECCouncil Security Awareness Certifications

Management certifications:

ECCouncil Management Certifications
ECCouncil Management Certifications

Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)

GIAC offers a lot of different certifications. In fact, they offer so many that I won’t even bother to include all of them into this article. I just want to let you know about them. GIAC certifications are unique because they measure specific skills and knowledge areas rather than general infosec knowledge. There is, however, one certification worth mentioning more than the other as it is a popular entry-level certification

GIAC GSEC Certification
GIAC GSEC Certification

Offensive Security

I have written a complete guide dedicated to Offensive Security.

If you’re looking for a career in pentesting you’ll probably hear about Offensive Security. They offer a wide variety of certifications and courses specialized in offensive security. A very popular and probably the best pentesting certification is probably the Offensive Security Certified Professional.

OffensiveSecurity OSCP Certification
Offensive Security OSCP Certification

A few last words

Now we have covered a lot of different certifications. I hope this article helped you to get a better understanding of certifications, which ones are available and the companies proposing them.

I will write an article to rank the best certifications for you so stay tuned!

Published inCyber Security