The Most Valuable Security Certifications for 2017

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Data breaches are on the rise, and companies are preparing by boosting their cybersecurity budgets. According to the Cybersecurity Market Report, worldwide spending on cybersecurity is predicted to exceed $1 trillion for the five year period from 2017-2021, making this year a great time to enter the information security game. 

Whether you’re just starting your career in tech or are a seasoned veteran looking to argue for a salary boost, continuing your tech education has many benefits. Getting the latest and most in-demand certification is a great way to stay current and add weight to your resume. 

Here are a few of the most sought after security certifications for 2017:

1CompTIA Security+

The Security+, while technically an entry level certification, signifies a broad range of knowledge and expertise in multiple security-related disciplines. CompTIA certifications are vendor neutral and well respected in the tech community. 

Experience needed for success: About 2 years 
Cost: $320
Test Format: Multiple choice and performance-based
Training: CompTIA Security+ Training by StormWind Studios

2. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

Although the term “hacking” has a negative connotation, ethical hackers are crucial to finding vulnerabilities in information systems. Businesses who are serious about testing the security of their data will employ these penetration testers—or hackers—in order to ensure that every potential attack is addressed. The CEH is an intermediate certification offered by the Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), and has some prerequisites in order to ensure readiness before you complete the exam.

Prerequisites: Either 2 years of IT security experience, or completion of the formal, 5-day CEH training course prior to completing the exam
Cost: $500
Test Format: Multiple choice
Training: 5-day EC-Council Training Course or ITPro.TV self-study course

3GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials

This entry-level certification not only demonstrates proficiency in the terminology and concepts of information security, but also the application of this knowledge and readiness for a “hands-on” security role. In order to successfully complete this certification, you’ll need to be well-versed in wireless attacks, access controls, authentication, password management, cryptography, network mapping, and more. 

Prerequisites: None, but training is recommended
Cost: $1,249
Test Format: 180-question proctored exam
Training: Provided by SANS

4CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a vendor-neutral certification backed by (ISC)2. It is designed for advanced security professionals and IT experts, and is recognized around the world for its standards of excellence. Those with CISSP credentials are generally those who manage security standards, set policy and procedures, and make important decisions surrounding the data security of the company they work for. If your career in information security is just starting, this is not the certification for you.

Prerequisites: At least 5 years experience
Cost: $599
Test Format: 250 multiple-choice questions
Training: ITPro.TV self-study course

5. CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is unique because it focuses on security management expertise. This certification is administered by ISACA and is globally accepted as the gold standard in information management. A professional holding a CISM certification is expected to understand not only the nuts and bolts of information security, but also how it impacts broader business goals and objectives. If you’re looking to boost your value within an enterprise level company and continue your education, this advanced level certification is a great fit. 

Prerequisites: At least 5 years experience 
Cost: $450-$760
Test Format: 200 multiple choice questions
Training: Study materials and job practice from ISACA
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