Essential certifications for smart security pros

Expand your skills, know-how, and career horizons with these highly respected security certs

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If your experience qualifies you for taking the CISSP, that would be a great certification to start with. The breath of the exam (not the depth of material) is what makes the CISSP challenging. The majority of people who take the exam pass it, and once you’ve earned the certification you can be prepared to share your success with anyone who asks. If you want to acquire new technical skills, start with the SANS GIAC. It’s fairly expensive, but nothing is better. People already in auditing or management or those interested in doing so should consider the ISACA exams. Compliance folks should look to SANS and ISACA. Proof of expertise in a vendor’s suite of products can quickly be shared when you have that vendor’s own certification.

There isn’t a computer security certification on this list that I’m not proud to have. Each one broadened my security knowledge and made me a better computer security professional. It’s easier to study and pass certification exams when you’re in “study mode,” so once you get in that mind-set, keep going and try to pass a few exams successively. Many people who decide to take a break from pursuing certifications never go back.

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