Is it Worthwhile to Acquire a Cybersecurity Certificate?

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Female IT doing Cybersecurity

The growing need for cybersecurity presents an opportunity for IT professionals not only to expand their skills, but also to earn a higher salary. Job vacancies are expected to increase steadily in the U.S., where there could be a 37% growth by 2022 based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

Some of the common courses for a cybersecurity certificate include CompTIA Security+, CISSP and CEH. Your choice will depend on certain factors. If you have been thinking about the differences between CompTIA Security+ SY0-401 vs. SY0-501, take note that the former is no longer available. Americans would have to choose the SY0-501 version, since the English version of SY0-401 already retired on July 31, 2018.

Common Cybersecurity Courses

CompTIA Security+ lets you acquire the necessary skills from the fundamentals of IT networks, applications, and devices, up to the more complex techniques for risk mitigation and threat response. There are many options available once you acquire this certificate, such as being eligible to work at the Department of Defense.

If you are more interested in the nature of hacking networks legally, then being a Certified Ethical Hacker is your option. This certificate allows you to put your hacking abilities to the test, mostly finding the vulnerabilities and creating appropriate solutions. It’s simply working as a white hat hacker, but formal job titles for this role are known as an intrusion analyst.

Those who want to become system engineers or IT security managers should consider being a Certified Information System Security Professional, which provides a competitive edge against other applicants. This will be more necessary for those with a career goal of becoming a Chief Information Security Officer.

Man IT Checking Cybersecurity

How Much You Could Earn

CompTIA Security+ certified professionals could earn an average annual salary of more than $86,000, depending on your employer and your experience. Those with a CEH certificate could earn between $24,760 and $111,502 on average per year. While it has a lower entry-level salary, you could negotiate for higher pay if your current job has some focus on cybersecurity.

On the other hand, CISSP certified professionals earn from $73,627 to $119,184 on average every year. The starting salary is a bit higher because most people already have at least five years of experience before gaining this certificate.

Why Small Businesses Are Hiring

Startup companies and small businesses are among those that will require more IT manpower, due to their goal of meeting business targets. A CompTIA survey of 650 small- and mid-sized businesses reflected this trend.

SMBs that require a younger workforce usually pay an above-average salary to attract them. While this is good news, a lot of companies still find it hard to fill roles because of a skills gap. In some cases, a certification that’s relevant to the job often serves as clincher when deciding between two suitable candidates.

Entry-level and junior IT professionals should focus on acquiring Security+ or CEH before pursuing advanced certification. As it will cost money to take an exam, it’s better to sign up for a reviewer course with an accredited partner of different IT brands.