We’ve talked a bit about the top-paying jobs in cyber security and how you can score one, including working on soft skills like project management and communication. Now we’ll take a deeper dive to discover exactly the skills you need for these dream jobs. Here are the best cyber security certification combinations for some of the top-paying jobs.
Network Systems Administrator
Network systems administrators are at the front lines of network security. They have a broad knowledge of networking and a wide range of day-to-day tasks, from regular maintenance to updating security systems. In order to work as a network systems administrator, you’ll want to start with basic certifications like the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA: Routing & Switching) and CompTIA Network+. As you gain experience, you’ll want to earn your CompTIA Security+ credential, as well as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). And you can always move up to more advanced exams like CISM and CISSP, which we’ll talk about next, but to work as a network administrator, they’re not absolutely necessary.
Information Systems Security Manager
Information systems security managers spend their days managing a team of professionals to address an organization’s security needs. Soft skills, like written and verbal communication, are important in this management role, but certifications are key as well. If you’ve reached this point in your career, you’re probably wondering whether to earn CISM or CISSP. The answer is: both! The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credential tells future employers that you have the project management skills needed to assess security and implement solutions. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a more technical certification, but is considered one of the best for any advanced-level cyber security expert.
As a security analyst, you’ll be responsible for a variety of tasks, from penetration testing to monitoring networks and implementing new security strategies. Let’s assume you’ve earned your beginner cyber security certifications: You’ll want to go for Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), where you’ll learn all the tools of the hacking trade. Next, you may run into several certifications that seem very similar, for example, the ever-present question of CISA vs. CISM. This is actually a straightforward decision for this particular cyber security job: The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential covers the process of auditing information systems, as well as operations and maintenance, and it’s the best choice for those looking to become security analysts.
Security engineers are the designers of the cyber security world, planning and building strong systems and defending against cyber attacks. To be a successful security engineer, you’ll need a solid foundation in cyber security concepts. Once you have your entry-level certifications, the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) is a great next step. What about SSCP vs. CISSP? The SSCP is actually a stepping stone to the more advanced CISSP, which you’ll also want to obtain if you wish to work as a security engineer. CASP (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner) is another credential that is often compared to CISSP, but is often considered more technical and hands-on. Both are useful for security engineers, although CISSP is more widely recognized.
One of the most exciting parts of the cyber security industry is discovering all the amazing job opportunities and paths that are available to you. But no matter where your interests lie in this field, there is one thing you likely have in common with others: You dream big, and your goals are sky-high. So get out there and get certified!