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Cybersecurity certifications: A part of your cybersecurity journey

The writer is a member of AT&T Cybersecurity’s Consulting Middle of Excellence. That is a part of a weblog collection from that elite group.


One of many principal questions I get requested from individuals seeking to get began in cybersecurity is, “What certification(s) do I would like?”. 

Who you ask and the variety of individuals you ask will decide the variety of totally different solutions you’re going to get again on this query.  A couple of brief years in the past, there was no such factor as a cybersecurity skilled.  At first, individuals working in system administration or growth had been requested to tackle the extra function of dealing with safety for a company. 

In distinction, as we speak, most organizations have a whole division devoted to cybersecurity and discover it exceedingly troublesome to maintain staffed with certified safety professionals.   Certified cybersecurity professionals are in excessive demand and revel in a high-paying wage and alternatives for development and mobility.  This weblog will briefly describe how I bought into cybersecurity and the certification path that finally led me to my present place as a Principal Architect with AT&T Cybersecurity.  Hopefully, detailing my course will assist somebody studying this text keep away from some pitfalls.

As I used to be getting ready for retirement from the US Military and dealing on my MBA, I began a small pc consulting firm.  I shortly found that 90% of my enterprise was serving to small companies cope with viruses and malware.  Armed with this information, I knew I wished to develop into a safety skilled as soon as I retired from the Military.  Nonetheless, I had no concept the place to begin or what certifications I would want. 

Once I started my analysis into the cybersecurity world, it was with the intent of working inside the federal authorities.  I observed that each one their security-related job positions talked about EC-Council certifications.  After doing much more analysis, I discovered a enterprise close to me that supplied bootcamp-style coaching for a number of totally different Microsoft and EC-Council certifications.  After a number of 1000’s of {dollars} and months of feeling like I used to be ingesting from a hearth hydrant hose, I got here out of the coaching with my MCSE, MSA, Safety+, CEH, and CHFI certifications. 

Lengthy story brief, these certifications did assist me get my first federal contract place however didn’t really give me the “palms on expertise” wanted to work as a safety skilled.  True studying and expertise got here a few years after studying numerous security-related articles, web sites, and Twitter feeds, YouTube movies, creating a house lab and attempting totally different instruments and methods, and at last speaking with different security-minded individuals. 

My level being is a certification doesn’t make you a safety skilled.  It’s only proof that you possibly can take a check and reply most questions accurately.  Turning into a real safety skilled takes a few years of dedication and dedication.  However it could be greatest when you began someplace; certifications a minimum of assist get your foot within the door.

So, to reply the unique query, “What certification do I must get began in cybersecurity?”  For me, my reply is at all times the identical.  You don’t want a certification to begin, however when you can receive a certification, I like to recommend beginning with the SANS SEC504 course.  The course is titled “Hacker Instruments, Methods, and Incident Dealing with.”  It’s a well-rounded safety course that introduces the scholar to the offensive, defensive, and administration elements of cybersecurity.  Understanding the distinction between the offensive, defensive, and administration elements of cybersecurity early is essential and can assist resolve which cybersecurity profession path you favor.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve obtained quite a few different cybersecurity certifications and the gadgets detailed under are issues that I wanted I had identified after I began:

  • Select a cybersecurity profession path – Cybersecurity is an enormous profession subject.  To resolve on what certification it is best to get, you need to first decide what a part of safety pursuits you essentially the most and attempt to receive certifications that help that path.  I break down the safety fields into three totally different profession paths:
    • Offensive safety – The offensive profession path facilities round discovering and exploiting community, pc {hardware}, and software program vulnerabilities earlier than the dangerous guys discover them.  Some careers in offensive safety embrace:
      • Vulnerability Administration Specialist
      • Penetration Tester (Community, Internet Utility, Cellular Utility)
      • Crimson Teamer
    • Defensive safety – The defensive profession path is the other of offensive safety.  Defensive safety professionals shield networks, pc {hardware}, and software program from the dangerous guys.  Some careers in Defensive safety embrace:
      • Safety Operation Middle (SOC) Analyst
      • Incident Handler
      • Forensic Investigator
    • Safety administration – As with every profession subject, administration should oversee day-to-day operations.  Cybersecurity is not any totally different; the administration profession path results in each the offensive and defensive elements of safety.  Some careers in administration safety embrace:
      • SOC Supervisor
      • Director of Info Safety
      • Chief Info Safety Officer (CISO)
  • Select a widely known/trade accepted certification firm – Quite a few firms provide safety certifications, however for my part, under are those which have the best popularity and are extensively accepted by most organizations:
  • Analysis and apply – As said earlier, turning into a safety skilled won’t occur in a single day or with certifications.  You need to develop a ardour and be keen to spend a lot of your free time researching and working towards.  To assist get began, you need to:

Getting began in cybersecurity might be daunting at first, however when you resolve that this profession is for you, it may be each rewarding and fulfilling.  Once I retired from the Military, I had no concept what I wished to do with the subsequent chapter of my life.  For me, deciding to develop into a safety skilled has been one of many wisest decisions of my life.  It has been rewarding and difficult, and I couldn’t think about making a greater profession determination.



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