Written By Jess Feldman
Cybersecurity is a quickly developing and in-demand tech field, and many companies are anxious to fill job openings with skilled cyber professionals. For those making a career change into cybersecurity, though, figuring out how to obtain cybersecurity certifications can be overwhelming. NGT Academy breaks down today’s most recognized cyber certifications, and how students who are completely new to cybersecurity can learn the skills needed to pass their exams. Plus, NGT Academy’s tips for preparing your home office for taking a cyber certification exam remotely!
There is so much information about cyber certifications and it can be confusing for anyone trying to get into the cybersecurity field. While some jobs don’t require cybersecurity certification, for anyone just getting into the field, certification will help them be taken more seriously as a job candidate.
The good news is that a background in STEM is not required to be eligible for cyber certification. Having a good understanding of IT is always a bonus for anyone working in the tech industry. Cybersecurity certifications are especially beneficial for mobile developers and software engineers. Learning various development platforms and coding languages plus cybersecurity basics could be an impressive addition to a mobile or software engineers’ resume.
Cybersecurity revolves around all aspects of IT, including networking and systems.
Once you have a grasp on the fundamentals, you can figure out which area of cybersecurity you would like to focus in. This will help you decide which advanced certifications to go for.
Depending on the certification, it can take anywhere from 1.5 – 7 months to prepare for a certification exam. Before an individual can get started on training for a specific certification exam, they first need to learn the programming language they’ll be working with both in the exam and on the job.
At NGT Academy, we realize it can be daunting to come into cybersecurity from a completely different background. In our Zero to Engineer bootcamp, our goal is to break down the barrier to entry-level cybersecurity roles by giving career changers the necessary knowledge and skills in reality-based scenarios. This program is self-paced and students can complete it in 12-24 weeks.
Before COVID-19, you would have to go to a testing center to take a cyber certification exam, but since the pandemic restrictions began, most exams can be taken at home. This will probably become the new standard method of testing. We have found that being able to take these exams from the comfort of your own home lowers test anxiety. Test takers should expect a remote test proctor to join in via webcam while they are taking the exam.
Here are our recommendations for taking a cyber certification exam from home:
The length of the exam depends on the individual and the level of difficulty of the exam. We have found that it takes students around an hour and a half to complete entry-level certification exams, like the CompTIA Security+ and CEH. The CISSP is 250 questions, so it can take up to six hours to complete. For more advanced certifications like the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert [CCIE], test takers must first pass a written exam that takes an hour and a half, and then a physical lab which takes an entire day to complete!
Advanced certifications require a more complex understanding of where you are headed. Getting your basic certification, like the vendor-mutual CompTIA Security+ makes you eligible for entry-level roles because they are recognized across industries. To move up the career ladder, you will need to decide what you would like to focus on or obtain the certifications that your current employer or desired employer requires.
Every company will require specific certification based on what they use, which may help give you direction into which advanced certifications to get next. For instance, if you want to work in criminal justice, then you should try to get a Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification. If you are trying to land a Penetration Tester role, look at the CompTIA PenTest+ certification. Decide on a path and then focus on which certifications will offer growth in your chosen career.
To work in cybersecurity, you need to be a people person. You must like talking to and working with people in order to convey the need for cyber security awareness training within your organization. Very few people outside of the cybersecurity or networking fields understand how cyber works and how security systems are breached. Being able to talk and explain solutions to people is the biggest soft skill you can develop. We made sure to include a skill-based portion within the NGT Academy Cyber Security Associate Certification (NCSA) training. NGT Academy Cybersecurity students need to be able to break down an industry use case, articulate the problem and the solution in a professional manner.
We predict there will soon be more certifications in the realms of mobile application security and DevOps security. DevOps is a quickly developing field and new roles are always being defined. As new DevOps certifications come down the pipeline in 2021, we recommend you jump on those!
Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps.
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