InfoSec professionals who want to set themselves apart as leaders in IT security should seriously consider one of these top five information security certifications for 2017.
Credit: ShutterstockWhen it comes to information security, you need only read the headlines to observe that those with malicious intent constantly find new and scary ways to access and misuse privileged information for criminal, unscrupulous or questionable purposes. As a result, IT professionals skilled in information security remain in very high demand. In 2016, there were more than 200,000 security positions available in the U.S., with forecasts pointing to 1.5 million open positions globally by 2019.
When evaluating prospective InfoSec candidates, employers frequently look to certification as one measure of excellence and commitment to quality. In this article, we take a look at five InfoSec certifications we consider to be leaders in the field of information security today:
- CompTIA Security+
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
This year's list includes entry-level credentials, like Security+ and GIAC Security Essentials, as well as more advanced certs, such as the CEH, CISSP and CISM. We also offer some additional certification options in the last section, as the field of information security is both wide and varied.
Security-related job roles cover a lot of ground, such as information security specialist, security analyst, network security administrator, system administrator (with security as a responsibility) and security engineer, as well as specialized roles such as malware engineer, intrusion analyst and penetration tester. Average salaries for information security specialists and security engineers – two of the most common job roles – vary widely depending on the source. For example, SimplyHired reports $120,000 for specialist positions, whereas Glassdoor's national average is just under $75,000. For security engineers, SimplyHired reports $93,000, with Glassdoor's average at $83,000.
If you're serious about advancing your career in the IT field and are interested in specializing in security, certification is a great choice. It's an effective way to validate your skills and show a current or prospective employer that you're qualified and properly trained.
Before examining the details of the top five InfoSec certs, take a look at the results of our informal job board survey. The data indicates the number of job posts nationwide in which our featured certifications were mentioned on a given day. The data should give you an idea of the relative popularity of each certification.
Job Board Search Results
Now let's take a closer look at the top five information security certifications for 2017, in no particular order.