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Cybersecurity certifications allow individuals to display their specialist understanding of this particular subject. Jobs in cybersecurity rarely need certification; however, gaining these qualifications can help workers develop their careers in cybersecurity and earn higher compensation.
This resource gives information on cybersecurity certifications for beginners and beyond. Read on to learn about experience criteria, average timelines, typical expenses, and the benefits of gaining certification.

What is a Cybersecurity Certification?

Cybersecurity certification is a procedure in which an individual receives a formal credential by showing their professional competence in a particular area of the field. Typically, candidates must pass a test to receive certification. Some certificates contain experience requirements in addition to an exam.

In cybersecurity, skilled professionals can pursue certifications, including the following:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)®
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)®
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Cybersecurity certifications for beginners include:

  • Security+ GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

These certifications each apply to a different subset of cybersecurity. Earning one of these qualifications allows you to progress professionally and explore specialized opportunities in the cybersecurity area.

Best Beginner Cybersecurity Certifications

If you’re new to cybersecurity, learning about available certifications will help you decide which ones are right for you. Many of these certifications involve examinations that you may study for on your own or with the help of a boot camp. The following are 11 cybersecurity certifications for beginners:

#1. Ethical Hacker Certification

The Certified Ethical Hacker certification takes two years of experience to take the exam; hence, it is not suitable for individuals just starting out in their careers. Whether or not you have two years of experience, you can still prepare for the exam by taking a training session.

The premise behind becoming a Certified Ethical Hacker is that by learning hacker techniques, you will be better equipped to prevent hackers from gaining access to your company’s systems. It is a vendor-neutral certification that may be applied to a wide range of cybersecurity scenarios.

#2. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

Although it is not specifically aimed at cybersecurity experts, this credential can be especially useful for people who work with Cisco systems. It serves as proof that you understand Cisco equipment, including how to troubleshoot it when necessary. In addition to cybersecurity professionals, it is a certificate that other IT professionals and network experts can use.

Furthermore, because Cisco is a well-known brand, the certification might benefit your career even if you are not working with Cisco equipment.

#3. CompTIA A+ certification

A+ is a certification that proves you understand how to customize, install, operate, and maintain personal computers. This certification does not specifically address cybersecurity, but because PCs are frequently used in business systems, it can be useful. Because CompTIA A+ is a pretty broad certification, you can apply it to a wide range of IT professions, giving you a lot of freedom in your future career aspirations.

#4. CompTIA Network+ certification

Network+ is similar to A+ in that the certificate’s major focus is not cybersecurity. Instead, Network+ is a certification for professionals who develop and maintain functional networks, configure networks, and implement information security policies and procedures. Given the importance of networks in IT today, this credential can be very useful for cybersecurity experts who work with networks.

#5. CompTIA Security+

Security+ is CompTIA’s cybersecurity-focused certificate that is vendor-neutral and extremely entry-level, making it suitable for beginners. Many of the fundamentals of cybersecurity are covered in this certificate, including risk management, technologies and tools, encryption and PKI, identity and access management, and threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities.

#6. CompTIA PenTest++

The CompTIA PenTest+ can assist beginners in learning some of the fundamental skills and principles of penetration testing, a sort of ethical hacking. This certification program teaches participants how to identify potential vulnerabilities, organize attacks on programs, and conduct automated testing using scripting languages. This certification is reasonably priced and has no prerequisites.

#7. GIAC Fundamentals of Information Security (GISF)

GISF is another complete cybersecurity certificate for a variety of IT workers, including cybersecurity experts. It covers defense-in-depth approaches, risk management, information assurance principles, security policies, and business continuity planning. GIAC provides an introduction to cybersecurity that can be useful for a wide range of people; however, cybersecurity specialists may choose to specialize more with future certificates.

#8. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

The GSEC, like the GISF, is a broad cybersecurity certification, but it is slightly more complex. Having a GSEC demonstrates that you understand the fundamentals of cybersecurity and how to apply them in practice. Among the issues discussed are:

  • Active defense
  • Cryptography
  • Defendable network architecture
  • Scan for vulnerabilities
  • Linux safety
  • Policy on Security
  • Security of web communication
  • Windows Security

#9. (ISC)2 Certified Systems Security Professional (SSCP)

The SSCP is one of the certifications available once you become an (ISC)2 Associate. A variety of IT professionals, particularly those in cybersecurity, can use this globally recognized certificate. The SSCP focuses on network aspects of cybersecurity and is one of many credentials given by (ISC)2 for cybersecurity professionals.

#10. ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certification

ISACA provides the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate as an entry-level option in addition to more advanced cybersecurity qualifications for more experienced workers. This certificate covers the following topics:

  • Architecture principles
  • Network, system, application, and data security
  • Incident response for developing technology security

This certificate is not only a good entry-level option, but it is also reasonably priced.

Cybersecurity Degree vs. Cybersecurity Certification

Aspiring professionals may be undecided about whether to pursue cybersecurity certifications for beginners or full-fledged degrees in the industry. The section that follows compares both routes.

Cybersecurity Certification

The time required to obtain a certification varies, particularly when comparing cybersecurity certifications for beginners and those for seasoned experts. Some certifications, for example, involve merely an exam, which may take a few hours to complete. Exam preparation, on the other hand, can take significantly longer. Some certifications may have experience requirements that can take years to complete.

A cybersecurity certification might cost anywhere between $150 and $600. Certifications with lab requirements might cost up to $1,500.

In general, cybersecurity businesses do not demand certification to hire. However, having these qualifications can help you stand out from the crowd. Most cybersecurity careers require formal schooling in addition to certification; however, beginners with only certifications may be able to get certain entry-level cybersecurity jobs to gain experience.

Professional advancement can be achieved through certifications. While chief information security officers (CISOs) are not required to have formal certifications, acquiring the EC-Council’s Certified CISO certificate indicates dedication and knowledge to employers.

Cybersecurity Degree

Associate degrees normally take two years of full-time attendance to complete, whereas bachelor’s programs typically take four years. A master’s degree in cybersecurity takes approximately two years after completing a bachelor’s degree. A Ph.D. in cybersecurity typically takes four to seven years to complete.

The cost of an education varies greatly depending on the degree level, whether the school is public or private, and whether students pay in-state or out-of-state tuition.
Annual tuition and compulsory fees for public two-year colleges average $6,013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Tuition for a bachelor’s degree averages $21,100 per year. Students pay an average annual tuition of $19,749 at public and private master’s degree-granting institutions.

Is a Cybersecurity Degree Worth the Cost?

Yes, according to many. Employers prefer applicants with cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees for certain professions, such as security analyst, security specialist, and incident responder. Even so, associate-level candidates can get entry-level positions in the field. Cybersecurity careers for master’s degree holders include CISO, computer network architect, and IT auditor.

What Are the Benefits of Cybersecurity Certifications for Beginners?

Cybersecurity certifications are vital for beginners since becoming a cybersecurity specialist necessitates additional education that is not always available through other means. While some workers receive a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, others may have majored in a discipline unrelated to cybersecurity or in general information technology. For those with or without a cybersecurity degree, a certificate can provide specialized information on cybersecurity procedures.

Finding a cybersecurity certification that is appropriate for beginners is critical, as some of the more sophisticated programs need expertise that beginners lack. These experts will need some training to obtain that experience, which is where cybersecurity certificates for beginners come in handy. Furthermore, many firms may push even their newer cybersecurity specialists to obtain certifications to master skills relevant to specific systems or procedures.

Preparing for your exams.

Whatever certification is ideal for you, be prepared to invest a significant amount of time in self-study. When studying for a certification exam, many test takers like to use a top-rated study guide along with some practice tests and flashcards.
If your preferred learning style is formal, instructor-led training, consider the price and time commitment. Although training fees vary depending on certification, they normally range from $400 to $5,000, depending on whether you choose online, virtual classroom, or in-person delivery.

Other Considerations for Cybersecurity Certification

Professionals seeking cybersecurity certifications may be unsure where to begin. The sections that follow include information about credentialing organizations, common timescales, and the distinction between certifications and certificates.

Certification Organizations

Several independent organizations provide cybersecurity certifications for beginners, intermediate pros, and advanced cybersecurity specialists. Examine the offers of businesses such as CompTIA, (ISC)2, EC-Council, and ISACA to obtain a sense of the certifications accessible to you. Some organizations also provide preparation classes, practice tests, and other tools to prospective candidates.

Certification Timetables

When deciding on your career goals, keep in mind how long it may take to obtain certification. Candidates may need to spend significant time preparing for tests in addition to completing the experience criteria. For example, the CISSP certification requires five years of experience. Preparation can take several weeks to eight months or more.

Certificates vs Certifications

Both professionals and students should understand the distinction between certificates and certifications. Certifications in cybersecurity demonstrate that a person satisfies professional standards. These qualifications are typically obtained from independent organizations such as ISC 2, CompTIA, ISACA, and EC-Council.

On the other hand, educational institutions frequently issue certificates that signify the completion of a set of courses. Although these programs do not lead to professional certification, they can prepare you to pursue certification. Certificates are often appropriate for beginners in the field. Established professions frequently seek professional certifications.


Entry-level certifications are a great way to start, advance, or change your career path as an IT expert. Pursuing and attaining IT certifications allows you to exhibit a willingness to learn while acquiring in-demand career abilities that your current and potential employers value.


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