Top Best Cybersecurity Certifications for Beginners: Kickstart Your IT Security Career

best cybersecurity certifications for beginners

Navigating the terrain of cybersecurity certifications can be daunting for novices. You’re likely wondering: Which certifications are crucial for beginners?

This straightforward guide outlines the best cyber security certifications for beginners. It details how each cybersecurity certification depends on can ignite your career path and why it’s worth your time and effort.

Without the fluff, gain insights on the best certifications and foundational credentials for any aspiring cyber security professional.

Key Takeaways

  • Cyber security certifications enhance job prospects, demonstrate commitment and expertise, and offer opportunities for more excellent salary and career growth in the IT security industry.
  • Certifications such as CompTIA Security+, (ISC)² SSCP, and EC-Council CEH provide a solid foundation in cyber security essentials, practical security knowledge, and ethical hacking skills, catering to both beginners and non-technical professionals looking to enter the field.
  • Success in cybersecurity careers depends on a combination of theoretical knowledge, practical experience, continuous learning, and networking. Certifications are critical in validating professional skills and dedication to the field.

Based on the research from various sources, here’s a table summarizing some of the best cybersecurity certifications for beginners this year. These certifications are chosen based on their popularity, accessibility for beginners, and their recognition in the cybersecurity industry:

CertificationIssuing OrganizationFocus AreaCostPrerequisitesExam Details
CompTIA Security+CompTIAGeneral cybersecurity knowledge$392CompTIA Network+ and IT administration experience are recommended90 minutes, 90 questions
ISACA Cybersecurity FundamentalsISACACybersecurity principles$160 for members, $220 for non-membersNoneCovers securing assets, information security fundamentals, threat landscape
GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)GIACHands-on IT systems security roles$979 (exam voucher)There are no formal prerequisites, but some background is recommended106-180 questions, open book format
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)EC-CouncilPenetration testing, network security$1,199 for non-membersOptional training or two years of information security experienceFocuses on key pen-testing concepts
Google Cybersecurity CertificateGoogleFoundational cybersecurityNot specifiedNoneAimed at beginners with no prior knowledge required
Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)(ISC)²Core cybersecurity knowledgeNot specifiedNot specifiedIt covers access controls, risk management, cryptography, and more.
CSA Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)Cloud Security AllianceCloud SecurityNot specifiedNoneCovers cloud security fundamentals, architecture, operations

These certifications cater to various interests within the cybersecurity field, from general knowledge to more specialized areas like cloud security and ethical hacking. They provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to enter the field of cybersecurity and can significantly enhance career prospects and skills development.

Why Cybersecurity Certifications Matter for Beginners

Why Cybersecurity Certifications Matter for Beginners

A cybersecurity certification can significantly boost your prospects in the best cybersecurity certification industry. These cyber security certifications can:

  • Open doors to a wide array of job opportunities
  • Make you stand out in a competitive job market
  • Enhance your salary prospects, offering an edge over non-certified peers.

Cyber security certifications are not just about job opportunities and salary prospects. They testify to your expertise and dedication to the field, making you more attractive to employers.

Although not mandatory, having one or more certifications can provide a significant advantage in career progression, ensuring a steady climb up the cyber security risk management career ladder.

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Demonstrating commitment to the field

Pursuing a cybersecurity certification is no small feat. It requires considerable time, effort, and often financial investment.

This dedication does not go unnoticed by potential employers. Obtaining a cybersecurity certification is a clear indication of a candidate’s commitment to the cybersecurity field.

Candidates who demonstrate such commitment by acquiring certifications become more appealing to potential employers. This shows that they are serious about their careers and ready to go the extra mile to update their knowledge and skills.

When hiring, this commitment can be a deciding factor for employers, giving certified candidates an edge over others.

Enhancing knowledge and skills

Cybersecurity is a vast field with many concepts, tools, and techniques professionals must grasp. Certifications equip beginners with this essential knowledge and skills, providing a solid foundation for career growth.

Preparing for a certification exam requires a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity concepts, making the process an excellent learning opportunity.

For those new to the field, certifications such as Security+, GISF, and SSCP can be a great starting point.

They cover various topics, providing a holistic view of asset and information security governance. By obtaining these certifications, beginners can ensure they have a well-rounded understanding of various cybersecurity factors, making them capable professionals ready to tackle any cybersecurity risk management challenge.

Networking opportunities

As with many fields, networking plays a crucial role in cybersecurity education. Pursuing certifications provides networking opportunities by connecting individuals with other professionals, companies, and organizations.

Practical experience often gained through internships and volunteer work, enhances a resume and aids in establishing valuable connections within the cybersecurity industry.

Platforms like CyberSeek can also assist those seeking cybersecurity certifications by showing which job listings request specific certifications, creating a roadmap to the most sought-after roles in the industry.

Top Cybersecurity Certifications for Beginners

Top Cybersecurity Certifications for Beginners

While all cybersecurity certifications provide value, some are more suited to beginners in the field. These certifications cater to various professional specializations within the field, offering a solid stepping stone for those just starting their cybersecurity education journey.

Specific cyber security certifications can be particularly valuable, even for those without a technical background. Certifications like the Certified Ethical Hacker or Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification are designed to provide non-technical professionals with the knowledge and skills to thrive in cybersecurity.

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification is highly recommended for individuals who are relatively new to the cybersecurity field. This certification provides a strong foundation in essential cybersecurity concepts, making it an ideal starting point for beginners.

CompTIA Security+ focuses on essential aspects of IT security, such as monitoring and securing hybrid environments, ensuring compliance with regulations, and analyzing and responding to security threats.

This certification covers broad areas, including cloud architecture, network security, cryptography, identity management, operational security, risk management, threats, host and other cloud security, cloud infrastructure and security, and asset security, providing a comprehensive understanding of the cybersecurity landscape.

(ISC)² Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

The Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) certification, offered by (ISC)², is another excellent certification for those embarking on a cyber security career.

It is designed for individuals seeking technical skills, practical information security, and IT operational knowledge, making them valuable assets in information security and a security operation center.

The SSCP’s Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) covers many topics in information systems control, making it relevant to various information technology and other certified information systems security, as well as cyber security analysis and disciplines.

The competency in seven domains ensures that you have a well-rounded understanding of the field:

  1. Security Operations and Administration
  2. Access Controls
  3. Cryptography
  4. Network and Communications Security
  5. Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis
  6. Incident Response and Recovery
  7. Security Assessment and Testing
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The SSCP certification has stringent requirements. Candidates must have at least one year of cumulative work experience in one or more of the seven domains of the SSCP CBK.

However, a one-year pathway is available only for those with a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree. It adheres to the ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024, ensuring its recognition and respect in the industry.

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

For those interested in the more offensive aspects of cybersecurity and cyber threats, the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is a sought-after credential. This particular certification only focuses on ethical hacking techniques, providing an in-depth understanding of the following:

  • how to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in systems
  • how to exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access
  • how to assess the security posture of an organization
  • how to implement countermeasures to protect against cyber attacks

The CEH certification can signal a cybersecurity professional’s dedication and comprehensive knowledge to potential employers, enhancing your credibility in the field.

Besides, the CEH certification equips professionals with the necessary ethical hacking skills, making it particularly appealing to those interested in penetration testing.

Preparing for Your First Cybersecurity Certification Exam

Preparing for your first cybersecurity certification exam can be an intense process. It involves:

  • Utilizing various study materials
  • Managing your time effectively
  • Staying focused and motivated throughout your study period
  • Gaining practical experience through virtual labs or network simulators

These steps can help you understand attacker methodologies in a safe and controlled environment.

The time required to prepare for a cybersecurity certification exam can vary significantly, as cybersecurity certification depends on the program chosen and your level of preparedness. Some programs, like CompTIA, offer two-week intensive hands-on training courses, while others may require self-study over several months.

Study materials and resources

Various study materials and resources can assist you in your preparation journey. Official exam guides, online courses, and even practice exams and assessments can provide a comprehensive understanding of the concepts covered in the exam.

Practicing for the exam under conditions that mirror the actual exam is crucial for success. This includes minimizing distractions and adhering to the exam’s time constraints.

For instance, free practice assessments offered by Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals can provide insight into the exam structure and the types of questions to expect.

Time management and study habits

Practical time management skills are crucial for cybersecurity certification courses and exams. Proper planning and adherence to a study schedule can ensure you promptly cover all the necessary material.

Practicing under exam conditions and adhering to time constraints can also help you manage your time effectively during the exam. Moreover, adequate relaxation before the exam can prevent over-stressing and improve overall exam performance.

Utilizing peer support and study groups

Study groups and peer support can be invaluable in your preparation journey. They provide an opportunity to discuss complex topics, clarify doubts, and gain new insights. Moreover, being part of a study group can keep you motivated and on track as the exam date approaches.

Building Your Cyber Security Career with Certifications

Cyber Security Career with Certifications

Building a successful cybersecurity career involves more than earning certifications in cybersecurity. It requires a combination of:

  • Theoretical knowledge
  • Practical experience as a cybersecurity analyst, for example
  • Soft skills such as problem-solving and attention to detail
  • Fundamental programming knowledge
  • A deep understanding of computer networks

These factors and risk factors can significantly contribute to success in career goals in this field.

Cultivating an interest in computers, social engineering, and information technology is equally essential, as cybersecurity professionals are heavily involved with tech daily. By combining these skills with the proper certifications, you can set yourself up for a rewarding career in cybersecurity jobs.

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Gaining practical experience

Practical experience is a vital component of a successful career in cybersecurity. Internships, volunteering opportunities, and independent projects can provide you with hands-on experience alongside academic or certificational knowledge.

Even if you’re switching careers and have unrelated job experience, you can still break into the cybersecurity field. By securing internships or entry-level positions, you can showcase your transferable skills and gain practical knowledge from companies used in cybersecurity technology.

Network simulation software such as information systems such as GNS3, Microsoft’s CyberBattleSim, and Cisco Academy’s Packet Tracer can be invaluable tools for building practical skills in cybersecurity, including cloud security, incident management, and understanding cyber threats without expensive equipment.

Continuing education and advanced certifications

As the cybersecurity landscape evolves rapidly, staying current requires continuous learning and upskilling.

Mid-career professionals and senior security practitioners who aim to validate their expertise and knowledge in designing, implementing, and managing cybersecurity programs can benefit from advanced certifications like CISA for information systems auditing, CISSP for cybersecurity program excellence, and CRISC for risk management best practices.

Additionally, becoming a well-certified information security manager, systems and certified information security manager, or security manager can enhance one’s skill set and marketability in the industry, especially for companies in information systems security and information security governance.

Cybersecurity professionals must keep their skills current through self-study, online learning resources, and periodically renewing certifications to ensure their expertise remains relevant.

Advanced education, such as a master’s degree from institutions like EC-Council University, prepares professionals for advanced certifications and fosters lifelong learning to stay ahead of developments in cybercrime mitigation strategies.

Specialized certifications like the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) offer specialized knowledge focusing on jurisdictional laws, regulations, and the legal requirements of data handling and data transfer. These certifications are crucial for professionals specializing in incident handling and data privacy risk management.

Networking and professional organizations

Networking is a powerful tool for career advancement in cybersecurity. Here are some benefits of effective networking:

  • Engaging with other professionals
  • Exchanging information
  • Accessing resources
  • Uncovering employment opportunities

Joining professional organizations and participating in their events can help you grow your professional contacts and find volunteer roles that build your cybersecurity skills and industry connections.

Online cyber-security education communities and industry events are effective strategies for creating and strengthening relationships with experienced cybersecurity professionals.

Remember, experienced professionals possessing certifications are often perceived as more ambitious, which helps them to stand out and potentially unlock networking and career advancement opportunities.

best cybersecurity certifications for beginner


In conclusion, cybersecurity certifications are potent tools for starting a career in this rapidly evolving field. They demonstrate your commitment, enhance your knowledge and skills, and provide networking opportunities.

Certifications like CompTIA Security+, SSCP, and CEH are particularly beneficial for beginners. However, building a successful cybersecurity career involves more than just earning certifications. It requires practical experience, continuous learning, and effective networking.

So, are you ready to take the first step towards a rewarding career in cybersecurity management?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to get into cyber security with no experience?

The best way to get into cybersecurity without experience is to assess your current background and job role, consider IT training courses and certifications, network using LinkedIn, and think creatively to enter the field successfully. Good luck!

What is the entry-level cyber security course?

The entry-level cyber and network security first course is CompTIA Security+, which establishes the core knowledge and skill sets required for cyber security roles and provides a springboard to intermediate-level network and cyber security analyst jobs. Consider starting with this certification to build a strong foundation in cyber security.

Where should a beginner start in cyber security?

A beginner in cybersecurity should start with entry-level positions such as Cybersecurity Specialist or Technician, IT auditor, and Incident Responder, which provide an introduction to the field (anyone interested in cybersecurity jobs for beginners should research these roles as a good starting point first!).

Which certification is best for beginners in cybersecurity?

CompTIA Security+ certification is highly recommended for beginners in cyber security. It establishes the core knowledge required for any cyber security role and acts as a springboard to intermediate-level jobs.

Consider exploring other options, including the best cybersecurity certification, CompTIA Network+, and GIAC Information Security Fundamentals.

Why are cybersecurity certifications necessary?

Cybersecurity certifications are necessary because they demonstrate commitment, enhance knowledge and skills, and provide networking opportunities. They validate expertise and increase career prospects.