Best Cyber Security Certifications: 2021 List

Aside from a college degree and cyber security bootcamps, there are a few ways to validate your skills and knowledge in cyber security. One is by obtaining a cyber security certification. Professionals in this field can validate their expertise and knowledge in doing so.

This guide will highlight the best cyber security certifications as well as their costs and validity. It will also cover study resources to use when preparing for a certification exam. Read below to learn more about how to become a cyber security engineer with a certification.

Why Are Cyber Security
Certifications Important?

Cyber security certifications are important because they give you an advantage as the holder. A certification can elevate your status in the industry and enhance your employability.

The reason for this is that your experience and knowledge are independently validated by a certification body. Employers can hire in full confidence knowing the candidate will be able to carry out the job they are hired for.

Professional Certification
vs Certificate Program

Professional certification is a process during which an individual gets a verification of their skills by taking an exam from an organization. The organization grants recognition and use of the credential to the person to verify that they have met standardized and predetermined criteria.

On the other hand, a certificate program offers training on a specialized topic. Participants often receive a certificate at the end of the course. This certificate is not issued by a non-governmental organization but by a school, bootcamp, or other course provider.

Professional Certification Certificate Program
Consists of one or more exams Consists of a series of classes, quizzes, and assignments
Typically requires some professional experience Ideal for both beginners and experienced professionals
Awarded by third parties or standard-setting organizations Awarded by institutions or educational program providers
Shows competency as measured by set professional standards Shows you have completed a course with a specific focus
Usually results in designations that are added to a person’s name Only listed as education on a resume

What Is Demand for Cyber
Security Skills Like in 2021?

The cyber security sector is one of the fastest in terms of growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This body predicts that information security job opportunities will grow by 31 percent through 2029. This is more than seven times faster than four percent, the national average job growth according to the BLS.

The demand is also not restricted to the tech sector. For instance, hospitals and legal departments are interested in enhancing their data privacy and security. In the digital age, almost every organization needs cyber security analysts and engineers.

The Best Cyber Security Certifications

The Best Cyber Security

Having a cyber security certification is always going to be a boost for your resume. However, there are many to choose from, and you should find the one that best works for you. The best certification for you will depend on your qualifications and its requirements. Below are five of the most important cyber security certifications.

Cost: $1,199
Validity: 3 years

The certified ethical hacker certification teaches you to think like a hacker. Students taking this certification exam must be familiar with information security laws and the latest vulnerabilities, hacking technologies, and standards.

The exam requires students to go through real-world scenarios, understand hacking techniques, and know how to protect a system from hackers. It is ideal for site administrators, security professionals, and others who work with network security. Also, people who work as penetration testers may benefit from having this certification.

Cost: $370
Validity: 3 years

CompTIA Security+ is one of the first certifications you should consider as an IT professional. It shows that you have core knowledge of cyber security roles. It also qualifies you for intermediate-level jobs in the field.

This certification covers the crucial concepts you need in the cyber security field. If you have some understanding of security in IT and you intend to enhance your employability, then this certification is an excellent choice.

Also, the exam focuses on the best practices in the industry, from risk management to risk mitigation. It covers hands-on and practical abilities to identify and handle security threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks.

Cost: $599
Validity: 3 years

This certification is perfect for security analysts. It was created to ensure that professionals have a standardized knowledge of cyber security. This Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification helps experts take up roles in computer security with ease.

The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium created this program. It takes at least five full years of paid work to qualify as a CISSP professional. Alternatively, you can take up a security analyst role in at least two domains covered by the CISSP, like software development security and cryptography.

Cost: $699
Validity: 3 years

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is for experienced IT professionals who want to show that they can manage and develop an infosec program. The program must be at the enterprise level. This certification is offered by a nonprofit professional organization called ISACA.

This body focuses on four main areas. They include information risk management and compliance, information security management, information security incident management, and information security program development and management.

CISM is worth it if you want to make important business decisions on cyber security. Also, it comes in handy if you want to join the leadership team of an organization.

Cost: $2,499
Validity: 4 years

The GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) is a vendor-neutral certification created and administered by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). The GPEN certification is internationally recognized as a validation of advanced-level penetration testing skills.

The certification is tailored for security personnel who target networks to find security vulnerabilities. The exam tests the ability of candidates to conduct penetration tests by using various methodologies, their understanding of the legal issues around penetration testing, and the technical and non-technical aspects of penetration testing.

How to Choose the Right Certification

Choosing the right certification depends on many different factors. You need to consider these factors before taking a certification exam.


Generally, cyber security certifications are divided into two categories: advanced and entry-level. Entry-level certifications require knowledge of basic concepts and terminology of cyber security. In other cases, the expert is expected to have a year of experience. Advanced certifications often require more than five years of experience in the security field.


Another crucial consideration is the goals you intend to achieve with your certification. Do you want to enter technical parts of security like incident response or penetration testing? Or, do you want to move toward the management side of the industry? Once you choose a goal, it will be much easier to choose an appropriate certification.


In most cases, certifications are costly. Some cost over a thousand dollars and are only valid for a few years. Nonetheless, they offer value that could give you better job options. Make sure you choose a certification exam that you can afford.

Resources to Prepare for
Your Certification Exam

Even if you have some knowledge of the subject, certification exams can be difficult for the unprepared. Luckily, there are resources available for brushing up before taking the exam. Take a look below at some top cyber security courses to help you learn network security and prepare for exams.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: $39 per month

Curabitur blandit mollis lacus. Vestibulum purus quam, scelerisque ut, mollis sed, nonummy id, metus. Vestibulum dapibus nunc ac augue. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Nulla facilisi. Vestibulum dapibus nunc ac augue. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: $49.99

This foundation course covers how to reduce risks in cyber security frameworks. It also involves how to assess the risks and covers pertinent cyber threats. It teaches learners how cyber criminals shield their attacks and how to determine what is real and what is cyber fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: $49 per month

In this specialization, you will master the tools and processes in cyber security, as well as the database vulnerabilities, system administration, basics of networking, and kinds of cyber attacks. The course also covers other crucial topics like digital forensics and cryptography.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: $716

This course covers the roles and sectors in the cyber security industry. You will learn about the relationship between technology and management in cyber security protection. The course also covers how to apply basic concepts and terminology of cyber security. You will also be able to assess your skills, knowledge, and abilities toward a career path in the field.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: Free, $249 for certificate

This course is the perfect choice for beginners. You will learn about the different branches of computing security. It also covers issues, concepts, and tools in cyber security that can be used to solve critical issues. This course is free, but you can pay $249 if you want to get a certificate for the course.

Should I Pursue a Cyber Security Certification in 2021?

Yes, you should pursue a cyber security certification in 2021. While a degree in cyber security might be important, you also should get a cyber security certification. It helps supplement the qualifications listed on your resume.

Also, a certification could increase your employability because it shows that you have the skills your potential employers are looking for. A cyber security certification is a solid investment with payoff in the field.

Find the right bootcamp for you
By continuing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and you consent to receive offers and opportunities from Career Karma by telephone, text message, and email.
By continuing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and you consent to receive offers and opportunities from Career Karma by telephone, text message, and email.