The Best Cybersecurity Certifications

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What are the best cybersecurity certifications?

It’s a tough question to answer. However, one way to measure their value is based on the certifications held by cybersecurity experts working in the field.

According to a recent report by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), titled “The State of Cyber Security Professional Careers” there are four that top the list.

  • (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    Held by 56 percent of cybersecurity professionals
  • CompTIA Security+
    Held by 19 percent of cybersecurity professionals
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
    Held by 17 percent of cybersecurity professionals
  • Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)
    Held by 16 percent of cybersecurity professionals

Of course, there are many more certs held by cybersecurity experts. As an example, I added in the (ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Professional (SSCP) in the following chart.

Best Cybersecurity Certifications

Clearly, the CISSP tops the list. Many people believe that it’s a valuable certification for gaining useful cybersecurity knowledge and getting a job in the cybersecurity field.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

CompTIA Authorized Quality Content (CAQC)After a comprehensive review by ProCert Labs, the SY0-401 version has been certified as CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) and covers every aspect of the SY0-401 exam.

It includes the same elements readers raved about in the previous two versions.

Each of the eleven chapters presents topics in an easy to understand manner and includes real-world examples of security principles in action.

You’ll understand the important and relevant security topics for the Security+ exam, without being overloaded with unnecessary details. Additionally, each chapter includes a comprehensive review section to help you focus on what’s important.


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Over 400 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

  • A 100 question pre-test
  • A 100 question post-test
  • Practice test questions at the end of every chapter.

Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to help you understand the content and the reasoning behind the question. You’ll be ready to take and pass the exam the first time you take it.

If you plan to pursue any of the advanced security certifications, this guide will also help you lay a solid foundation of security knowledge. Learn this material, and you’ll be a step ahead for other exams. This SY0-401 study guide is for any IT or security professional interested in advancing in their field, and a must read for anyone striving to master the basics of IT security.

Kindle edition also available.

The Need for Cybersecurity Knowledge

Unless you’ve been hiding your head in the sand, you’ve heard about hacks, data breaches, ransomware attacks, credential theft, and more.

Criminals have been successful and they continue to develop and improve their tactics, techniques, and procedures. Attacks aren’t stopping. Instead, criminals consistently increase them.

Organizations are responding by increasing their cybersecurity capabilities. Unfortunately, according to an ESG report, 46 percent of organizations report a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills. There just aren’t enough cybersecurity professionals to fill the needs.

Admittedly, earning certifications aren’t the only way to build cybersecurity skills and knowledge. However, for people willing to take the time to learn the concepts, cybersecurity certifications do help people follow a structured study path. This helps professionals build a solid foundation of current knowledge.

Security professionals build on this knowledge with cybersecurity training courses, participating in professional organizations, and with on-the-job training from other cybersecurity professionals.

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Path for the Best Cybersecurity Certifications

The CISSP might look like it is the only certification to pursue. However, it is a very tough exam. I’ve heard from many people that studied for six months or more only to fail the exam the first time they take it. At the end of the six months, they don’t have anything to show for their time.

A better alternative is to build your knowledge by pursuing some of the other cybersecurity certifications. As an example, one path is to start with the Security+ certification and then pursue the CISSP certification.

Best CyberSecurity Certifications

Full Security+ Course

Full Security+ Course Now Available

Helping you Pass the First Time

Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Operational Security (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • 100 question post-assessment exam
  • Security+ Acronyms

Get the Full Security+ Course Here

 Full Security+ Course Now Available


Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 100-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 273 Security+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • 280 Security+ acronyms flashcards to help you master the required acronyms
  • 204 Security+ Remember This slides

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over three hours hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. Over one hour and 15 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types:
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

Get the Full Security+ Course Here

Note that the Security+ certification is the second most popular certification held by cybersecurity professionals.  One reason is that many organizations (such as the U.S. Department of Defense) require employees to have it for certain IT related jobs.

Still, it is a leap from the Security+ to the CISSP. A second possible path to the CISSP is to do the Security+, then the (ISC)2 SSCP, followed by the CISSP. It’s a short leap from the Security+ to the SSCP certification and by taking the SSCP, you’ll learn many of the concepts related to the CISSP along with the overall process of (ISC)2 certification exams.

Best Cybersecurity Certifications

How long will this take? Everyone learns differently so there isn’t a single answer that fits everyone. However, it’s possible to study for six months and earn all three certifications. During this time, you’re steadily building your knowledge while verifying that you’re understanding and retaining it well enough to pass the certification exams.

Best Cybersecurity Certifications

  • In the first path, you simply study six months for the CISSP.
    Assuming you pass, you’ll end up with the CISSP certification.
  • In the second path, you study for the Security+ for 45 days and then the next four and a half months on the CISSP.
    You end up with two certifications: CompTIA Security+ and CISSP.
  • In the third path, you study for the Security+ for 45 days, the SSCP for the next 45 days, and then the next four and a half months on the CISSP.
    You’ll then have three certifications: Security+, SSCP, and CISSP.

What About CISA and CISM

Unfortunately, I’m not close to the Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA) or the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certifications.  However, my research indicates that these cannot be used as a stepping stone to the CISSP.

The CISA certification is a specialty certification for auditors. Compare this to the CISSP. The CISSP is focused on implementing information security and the CISA is focused on auditing IT security.

The CISM certification is more closely associated with the CISSP in that it focuses on information security and information security management. It pairs well with the CISA because someone with both the CISA certification and the CISM certification has knowledge about both auditing IT security and managing IT security.  Someone with both certifications has the knowledge to bridge the communication gaps between different communities such as auditors, IT security administrators, and senior management.

Best Cybersecurity Certifications Summary

There is a growing need for cybersecurity professionals. If you want to get into this field, there are several certifications that can help you do so. The (ISC)2 CISSP is the security certification held by most cybersecurity professionals, and many people start with the CompTIA Security+ certification.

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

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