Cybersecurity Certifications: A Start Point | by Cecil Boamah-Mensah | Dec, 2023 | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

For beginners eager to embark on a career in cybersecurity or technology as a whole, the journey often begins with acquiring the right knowledge and skills.

The current certification landscape is filled with so many options so it can be a daunting task figuring out where to begin. My hope is that this serves as a starting point and useful guide.

I would like to share a few insights I have gathered so far.

My current Active Certifications Stack minus MS Azure AZ-900

Although I believe certifications alone are not enough. They can be very useful in getting your foot in the door as it demonstrates to potential employers a willingness to learn, grow and develop.

One thing to note specifically with Cybersecurity (“entry level”) does not mean entry level technology career. Often it requires some prior experience in a technology role such as IT Technician, Sys Admin, Site Reliability Engineer, Network Admin / Engineer etc. This makes for an easier transition into the field.

IT / Help Desk Technician > Sys Admin / Network Admin > Desired Technical Cyber Role. This would be a good roadmap for someone with no technical experience. Easiest entry point (Help Desk) exposes you to a variety of IT issues and computing concepts.

I would recommend starting with the following certifications:

  1. CompTIA Network+ CE [$358] **
  2. ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) [FREE for a Limited Time]
  3. CompTIA Security+ CE [$392] ** / GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) [$979] ** / ISC2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) [$250] **
  4. A Foundational Cloud Certification (AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner / Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 / Google Cloud Digital Leader) [$100 / ea.]

** U.S. DoD Approved Baseline Certificates

Note: Prices are at the time of this post and may be subject to change in the future

Kindly bear in mind this is simply a start point you do not need all the above. I believe it is best to start out with vendor neutral certifications that are DOD Directive 8570.01 Compliant).

Certification vouchers can be pricey, so a cost-effective combination would be the CompTIA Security + CE and AWS Cloud Practitioner or Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900.

The good news is there are many free training resources out there such as Prof Messer, vendor training and scholarships / grants for certifications. Follow thought leaders in the space on social media and connect with as many people in the role you are seeking on LinkedIn.


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National Cyber Security