As technology continues to evolve, so do criminals' methods for stealing sensitive information and wreaking havoc on vulnerable networks. As a result, computer security professionals are hot commodities. The demand for people skilled in cyber security is projected to grow by about 28 percent between 2016 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's substantially faster than the average for other occupations, which means demand may remain high for years to come.
No matter if you're already working in the field or you're looking to break into cybersecurity to advance your career, having the right IT security training on board is essential. Completing a Udacity Nanodegree program in network security or cybersecurity is an excellent start. Pursuing professional networking security certifications is a logical next step. It demonstrates a level of proficiency that employers and future employers appreciate seeing. But which ones are the right ones? Here's a quick list of the top network security certification courses to help get you started.
This entry-level certification from CompTIA is well respected throughout the industry. It is vendor neutral and demonstrates that you have excellent technical skills along with broad knowledge of various security-related disciplines. It's open to those with a minimum of two years of network security job experience. Once certified, you have to renew every three years by passing the current exam, passing a higher-level exam, or completing 50 continuing education units within that three-year time frame.
GIAC Security Essentials
This is another entry-level certification. It's designed for professionals with a thorough understanding of the concepts and terminology surrounding IT security, along with the technical expertise to provide hands-on security in a variety of roles. Those with this credential typically have skills in password management, preventing common attacks, authentication, network protocols, and more. The certification is renewed every four years, during which time you must complete 36 continuing education experience credits (CPEs). You can get CPEs by publishing articles or research papers, taking the current certification exam, or teaching approved courses.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional
This advanced-level credential is ideal for those who are serious about a career in the field. It's among the most sought-after credentials and is available through the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2. It's a vendor-neutral certification with global recognition. It's geared toward candidates with at least five years of experience in two or more of (ISC)2's Common Body of Knowledge Domains, or a combination of four years of experience plus a college degree or approved credential. The Common Body Knowledge Domains include:
- Security and risk management
- Software development security
- Asset security
- Security assessment and testing
- Security operations
- Identity and access management
- Security engineering
- Communications and network security
Certified Information Security Manager
Designed for those in a position of managing, creating, and monitoring information security systems or developing the best practices for an organization's security, this position was introduced in 2003 and is intended for those with at least five years of experience. The credential needs renewal every three years by completing 120 continuing professional education credits. Those who hold this credential must agree to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)'s Code of Professional Ethics and pay an annual maintenance fee.
Whatever you call it, this field continues to grow. If you're interested in working in IT security, gaining the right education, work experience, and certifications can place you well on your way to a successful career. Why wait? Browse through the Udacity catalog to see if any courses catch your interest.