Top 10 Useful Cybersecurity Certifications in 2024!

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Sara Ali

Feb 22, 2024


5 min read

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The digital threats are constantly evolving, and this is where cybersecurity professionals play a pivotal role in safeguarding organizations from cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity certifications have become the cornerstone of career progression.

As the demand for skilled experts continues to rise, obtaining recognized certifications has become a strategic imperative for those looking to establish or elevate their careers in cybersecurity.

Let’s look into each of their benefits, requirements, and potential career paths.

But first, let’s see why we require them.

Why is Cybersecurity Necessary?

Here are some cybersecurity statistics that demand everyone’s attention:

  • Puppy Scams: 85% of people posting puppy photos are attempting to scam you.
  • Human Error Impact: Human error accounts for a staggering 95% of all data breaches.
  • Rapid Cyber Attacks: Every 39 seconds, a cyber attack occurs, highlighting the relentless pace of online threats.
  • Small Business Targets: 43% of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses.
  • Email as a Gateway: A concerning 75% of cyber attacks start with an email.
  • Data Breach Costs: The global average cost of a data breach is USD 4.45 million, across SMEs (last update: Dec 2023).
  • Remote Work Challenges: Since COVID-19, the FBI has reported a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes.
  • Market Growth: The worldwide information security market is forecast to reach USD 5.1 trillion in 2024, marking an 8% increase from 2023.
  • Detection Delays: Most companies take nearly 6 months to detect a data breach, even major ones.
  • Folder Protection Gap: On average, only 5% of companies’ folders are properly protected.
  • Record Exposure: During Q4 2023, data breaches exposed more than eight million records worldwide.
  • Motivations Behind Breaches: 86% of breaches are financially motivated, and 10% are motivated by espionage.
  • Daily File Thefts: 4 million files are stolen every day, equating to 44 every single second.
  • Unprotected Files: A concerning 21% of files lack proper protection.
  • Profitability Shift: Cybercrime is quickly becoming more profitable than the illegal drug trade.
  • Cloud Security Responsibility: Around 95% of cloud security failures are predicted to be the customer’s fault.
  • Malicious File Extensions: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel (Microsoft Office formats) comprise the most prevalent group of malicious file extensions.
  • Email as the Gateway: Email is the primary entry point for 94% of malware attacks.
  • Projected Costs: Cybercrime is set to cost $9.5 trillion by the end of 2024.
  • Global Variances: The Netherlands boasts the lowest cybercrime rate, while Russia has the highest.

Top 10 Cybersecurity certifications in 2024

1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The CISSP cybersecurity certification, offered by (ISC)², stands as a beacon in the cybersecurity realm. It validates your expertise in designing, implementing, and monitoring cybersecurity programs.

Career paths include Chief Information Security Officer, Security Administrator, IT Security Engineer, and Senior Security Consultant.

Requirements for the CISSP Exam:

  • Four-year degree in computer science or equivalent.
  • Five or more years of cumulative work experience in two of the eight cybersecurity domains.
  • Exam Cost: USD 749.

Path to CISSP:

Newcomers can take the exam to become an Associate of (ISC)2. After passing, there’s a six-year window to gain the required experience for full CISSP certification.

2. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

CISA, from the IT professional association ISACA, demonstrates expertise in security assessment, control implementation, and compliance reporting.

Ideal for IT Audit Manager, Information Security Analyst, and Compliance Programme Manager roles.

CISA Requirements:

  • Five years of experience in IT or IS audit, control, security, or assurance.
  • Degree substitution is possible.

CISA Cost:

  • $575 USD for members.
  • $760 USD for non-members.

3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The CISM is another cybersecurity certification, also from ISACA, that emphasizes information security management. Suitable for those transitioning to managerial roles like IT Manager and Director of Information Security.

CISM Exam Requirements:

  • At least five years of experience in information security management.
  • Waivable with relevant cybersecurity certifications or a degree in the field.

CISM Cost:

  • USD 575 for members.
  • USD 760 for non-members.

4. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ serves as an entry-level cybersecurity certification, validating core cybersecurity skills. Positions like Systems Administrator, Security Engineer, and IT auditor are accessible with this cybersecurity certification.

Security+ Requirements:

  • There are no strict prerequisites.
  • Encouraged to earn Network+ certification and gain two years of IT experience.

Security+ Cost:

  • USD 370.


For IT beginners, consider starting with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate before pursuing CompTIA A+.

5. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

CEH, from the EC-Council, focuses on ethical hacking, penetration testing, and proactive cybersecurity. Job opportunities include Penetration Tester, Threat Intelligence Analyst, and Cloud Security Architect.

CEH Requirements:

  • Two years of work experience in information security or completion of EC-Council training.

CEH Cost:

  • $1,199 USD.

6. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

GSEC, an entry-level cybersecurity certification from GIAC, validates skills in active defense, network security, and cryptography. Positions like IT Security Manager and Penetration Tester align with GSEC.

GSEC Exam Requirements:

  • No specific prerequisites.
  • Gain information systems or computer networking experience.

GSEC Cost:

  • $2,499 USD includes two practice tests.

Path to GSEC:

Consider starting with GIAC’s entry-level cybersecurity certification, Information Security Fundamentals (GISF).

7. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

The SSCP certification from (ISC)² showcases expertise in designing, implementing, and monitoring secure IT infrastructures. Suitable for roles like Network Security Engineer and Security Analyst.

SSCP Requirements:

  • One year of paid work experience in testing areas or a cybersecurity-related degree.

SSCP Cost:

  • USD 249.

8. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

CASP+ is for advanced cybersecurity professionals preferring a technical focus. Opportunities include Security Architect and Application Security Engineer.

CASP+ Requirements:

  • Recommended for experienced cybersecurity professionals with at least 10 years of IT administration experience.

CASP+ Cost:

  • USD 466.

9. GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

GCIH validates skills in offensive operations, incident response, and computer crime investigation. Roles like Security Architect and System Administrator align with GCIH.

GCIH Requirements:

  • No formal prerequisites.
  • Familiarity with security principles and networking protocols is advisable.

GCIH Cost:

  • $2,499 USD includes two practice tests.

10. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

OSCP, offered by Offensive Security, is highly sought after for penetration testing. Job roles include Penetration Tester, Ethical Hacker, and Threat Researcher.

OSCP Requirements:

  • There are no formal prerequisites.
  • Familiarity with networking, Linux, and scripting is recommended.

OSCP Cost:

  • From $1599 USD for the basic package.

Choosing the Right Certification

  1. Identify Your Career Goals: Determine if you’re interested in becoming a cybersecurity analyst, penetration tester, or security consultant, for example.
  2. Research In-Demand Certifications: We’ve already gone through the top cybersecurity certifications in 2024.
  3. Consider Your Experience and Skill Level: If you’re new to cybersecurity, start with entry-level certifications like CompTIA Security+ or CEH to build foundational knowledge. If you have more experience, you might aim for more advanced certifications like CISSP or CISM.
  4. Check Industry Recognition: Ensure the certification you choose is recognized and respected within the cybersecurity industry. CISSP, for example, is widely recognized and valued by employers globally.
  5. Assess Time and Cost: Factor in the time and cost required to prepare for and take the certification exam. CompTIA Security+ typically requires less preparation time compared to CISSP, which is more comprehensive and requires significant study.
  6. Evaluate Learning Resources: Look for reputable online courses, study guides, and practice exams to help you prepare for the certification exam. Websites like Cybrary, Udemy, or official certification provider websites often offer resources.
  7. Consult with Peers and Professionals: Seek advice from cybersecurity professionals or online forums to get insights into which certifications are most relevant and valuable in the field.
  8. Review Job Requirements: Check job postings for cybersecurity roles you’re interested in to see which certifications are commonly requested or required by employers.
  9. Consider Specialization: Depending on your interests within cybersecurity, you might choose certifications that specialize in areas like network security, ethical hacking, or risk management.
  10. Plan for Long-Term Growth: Choose certifications that offer opportunities for career advancement and growth. CISSP and CISM, for example, are certifications that can open doors to higher-level positions and increased responsibilities over time.

Getting Started in Cybersecurity

Sure, here’s a simplified version of entry-level tips for getting started in cybersecurity, including information on the Google IT Support Professional Certificate:

  1. Start with Basic Education: Consider getting a degree in computer science or a related field. It’s not always necessary, but it can be helpful.
  2. Get Entry-Level Job Experience: Look for entry-level IT positions like technical support or IT technician roles. This will help you learn the ropes of working in IT.
  3. Earn an Entry-Level Cybersecurity Certification: Certifications like CompTIA Security+ or the Google IT Support Professional Certificate are great starting points to show your interest and knowledge in cybersecurity.
  4. Take the Google IT Support Professional Certificate: This program teaches you about IT support, networking, and security. It’s a good way to start your journey into cybersecurity and build job-ready skills in less than six months.
  5. Learn Basic Cybersecurity Concepts: Understand things like network security, hacking, and how to respond to security incidents. You can find beginner-friendly resources online.
  6. Practice Hands-On Skills: Set up your own practice lab or participate in cybersecurity challenges to get hands-on experience.
  7. Stay Updated: Follow cybersecurity news and trends to stay informed about what’s happening in the field.
  8. Network and Learn from Others: Join cybersecurity communities and talk to professionals to learn from their experiences.
  9. Consider Advanced Certifications: As you gain more experience, think about getting certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker or CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst.
  10. Keep Learning: Cybersecurity is always changing, so keep learning and adapting to stay ahead.

In conclusion, the world of cybersecurity offers a huge range of certifications for diverse skill sets. Your journey begins with a strategic choice that pushes you toward a successful and rewarding career in this dynamic field.

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