10 Cybersecurity Analyst Certifications

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

As technology advances, so do the methods that hackers use to thwart the security of businesses and individuals. Cybersecurity analysts are specially trained to identify any vulnerabilities in an organization's network and take the necessary steps to secure the company's systems. This field is highly competitive, so holding a cybersecurity analyst certification could give you the advantage you need to get hired or advance in your IT career. In this article, we explore some of the advantages of earning a cybersecurity analyst certification and go over some of the certifications that could prove useful in this career.

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Advantages of earning a cybersecurity analyst certification

When looking for work as a cybersecurity analyst, having experience is key. Though many employers prefer candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree, it is often overlooked if the applicant has proven familiarity and experience in the field. Becoming certified is a great way to demonstrate and prove this knowledge. Here are some of the primary benefits of earning a cybersecurity analyst certification:

  • You can obtain specialized and comprehensive knowledge.

  • It provides proof to employers that you have up-to-date education and skills.

  • It signifies a certain level of expertise.

  • There are more opportunities for advancement in your career.

  • It increases your earning potential.

  • It demonstrates a level of commitment to your career.

  • It may provide you with a hiring advantage over your competition.

Related: 15 Computer Science Jobs That Pay Well

Top 10 cybersecurity analyst certifications

Here is a list of some of the certifications that could prove useful in your career as a cybersecurity analyst:

  1. CompTIA's Network+

  2. CompTIA's Security+

  3. CompTIACybersecurity Analyst

  4. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner

  5. CompTIA Security Analytics Expert certification

  6. The EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker Certification

  7. Certified Security Analyst Training

  8. The GIAC Information Security Fundamentals

  9. The GIAC Security Essentials Certification

  10. Certified Information Systems Security Professional

1. CompTIA's Network+

This certification provides the base knowledge necessary for most cybersecurity jobs. The primary focus of the Network+ certification is to determine the candidate's knowledge and understanding of how networks and computers communicate as well as the awareness of cybersecurity protocols. Here are some other aspects of information technology that this certification teaches:

  • Tools used to troubleshoot issues within the network

  • Best practices for providing and ensuring network security

  • Understanding of how the network operates

  • Familiarity with infrastructures

Though this certification is rarely a requirement for earning employment, it can prove to be an asset when applying for positions. A cybersecurity analyst, also known as a CSA, shares many responsibilities with network analysts, making this a beneficial credential to possess.

Prerequisites: CompTIA doesn't impose any requirements to take this exam, however, it is geared toward individuals who have at least nine months of experience working with networking.

2. CompTIA's Security+

This certification is considered by many to be a vital cybersecurity certification and minimum qualification for this field because it provides such a foundational basis of understanding. Participants who complete this exam are provided an overview of vulnerabilities, risk management and cryptography. Students are taught the proper procedures for installing and configuring systems as well as how to secure networks, applications and devices. Additionally, you are trained on the protocols necessary to perform a threat analysis on said systems and techniques for lessening the impact of any threats.

Prerequisites: There are no specific requirements for taking this exam. However, it is recommended that candidates complete the Network+ certification and obtain at least two years of IT experience in administration beforehand.

3. CompTIACybersecurity Analyst

Initially known as the CSA+, this certification is ideal for IT professionals that would like to gain the skills necessary to become a security analyst. The focus of this certification is to equip IT staff with the tools necessary to detect cyber threats by both analyzing and identifying potential vulnerabilities and risks. Also, it teaches students the behavioral analytical skills necessary to identify malware and advanced persistent threats, also known as APTs, and how to combat them. In turn, this improves the overall visibility of potential threats to the network and systems.

The CySA+ provides hands-on training and foundational knowledge for a role as a cybersecurity analyst. Furthermore, it is a credential that has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI. Also, certification teaches how to:

  • Protect and secure an organization's systems and applications

  • Develop and utilize threat-detection tools

  • Conduct data analysis and interpret the results to pinpoint an organization's risks, threats and vulnerabilities

  • Determine an incident's impact by examining threat data

  • Develop a threat assessment and reaction toolkit with established best practices, communication strategies and the appropriate forensic tools

  • Use data to recommend and implement identity and access security strategies while maintaining involvement in the Software Development Life Cycle, also known as the SDLC

Prerequisites: Though it's unnecessary for candidates to complete any specific prerequisites before taking the CySA+ certification, the program was designed to build off of the information learned in CompTIA's Network+ or Security+. However, the equivalent experience could also equip students with the necessary knowledge. This certification is considered an intermediate level and intended to act as the step between the CompTIA Security+, which provides general knowledge, and the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner, or CASP, which is considered an advanced level exam.

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4. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner

This certification is designed to provide advanced cybersecurity skills to practitioners through performance-based, hands-on training. Participants who pass the exam are prolific in integrating enterprise security, research and collaboration, the operations and architecture of enterprise security and risk management. Some of the other topics covered in the CASP+ exam are:

  • Expanding an enterprise security domain to meet requirements, techniques, architecture concepts and standard operations

  • Anticipating defensive needs to meet the organization's goals

  • Interpreting data to analyze risks

  • Providing security control and minimizing software vulnerability for all devices, including mobile

  • Implementing virtualization and cloud technologies into a secure enterprise architecture

  • Using cryptographic techniques, like mobile device encryption, cryptocurrency and blockchain

Prerequisites: Participants are suggested to have at least 10 years of IT administrative experience, including at least five years of experience in technical security, before attempting this certification.

5. CompTIA Security Analytics Expert certification

Once you have earned several CompTIA certifications, you can validate your expert-level mastery by taking the CompTIA Security Analytics Expert certification exam. This level of certification proves that you have the knowledge and skills to use data analytics to research and develop security solutions.

Prerequisites: To receive this certification, you must already have active certifications in Security+, CySA+ and CASP+.

6. The EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker Certification

The Certified Ethical Hacker certification, also referred to as the CEH or Certified Network Defense Architect for employees of the government, trains students on how to identify and patch the weaknesses in a network. This certification is great for enhancing your current professional skillset as it teaches you how to think like a hacker, allowing you to predict and protect against potential attacks. The training is hands-on, with participants using their own systems to learn about the five primary phases of hacking:

  1. Surveillance

  2. Establishing access

  3. Enumeration

  4. Keeping access

  5. Hiding the evidence

Prerequisites: Before taking this exam, participants are required to have at least two years of information technology industry experience. Though not specifically required, obtaining your Security+ certification can be extremely beneficial before attempting this certification.

7. Certified Security Analyst Training

This training program is intended to teach IT security professionals how to perform realistic penetration tests, also known as pen tests. Students are taught the methodologies, techniques and tools necessary for designing, securing and conducting comprehensive tests on an organization's networks. These tests are instrumental in identifying and mitigating any security risks to your infrastructure. Aside from learning how to identify and avoid hackers, this course also teaches you how to eliminate any threats.

Prerequisites: Though not required, it's recommended that participants first complete the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification.

8. The GIAC Information Security Fundamentals

The certifications offered by this organization provide a great foundation for anyone looking to begin a career in security analysis. This introductory credential validates a working knowledge of computer networking functions, security foundation, a basic understanding of cryptography and cybersecurity technologies. Those with a GISF certification will be able to:

  • Understand risks to information resources

  • Implement the best practices to protect a network against threats

  • Develop diversified protection strategies

Prerequisites: Though there are no specified prerequisites or requirements, experience and/or formal education will prove helpful before taking this exam.

9. The GIAC Security Essentials Certification

This intermediate-level certification goes beyond basic concepts and terminology. With this credential, IT professionals are demonstrating they have hands-on experience with both systems and security tasks. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Implementing security systems for the web, virtualization, cloud and endpoint

  • Developing contingency plans to manage threats

  • Conducting penetration testing

  • Scanning the networks for vulnerabilities

  • Developing active defense systems

  • Basic understanding and application of cryptography

Prerequisites: There are no standard requirements for this credential, but candidates are recommended to at least have some background working with networks and information systems.

10. Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)², offers this certification to provide cybersecurity professionals with training on how to mitigate vulnerabilities in web-based systems, professional ethics, investigating threats and concepts related to cryptography. The CISSP is an excellent addition to a resume and opens students up to career advancements.

Prerequisites: To take this certification, students must have at least five years of relevant experience in the industry as well as a familiarity with at least two domains in the Common Body of Knowledge.

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