What are the Best Cyber Security Certifications in 2020? (List of the Top 10)
UPDATE: View an updated version of this post with the survey results for the Best Cyber Security Certifications in 2021.
Are you looking for a definitive list of the best Cyber Security Certifications in 2020? We surveyed over 200 cybersecurity professionals and created a list of the top 10. See the results below! Plus please note the discounts we’ve negotiated for a number of the courses.
What are the Best Cyber Security Certifications in 2020 – Introduction
Cyber security certifications can be a great way of fast tracking your career. The right course can get you that promotion you want. However, they require an investment of both time and money, and you don’t want to waste either of these on the wrong course.
This is why it is worth taking some time to choose carefully. We surveyed over 200 cyber security professionals and used the results to create a list of the best cybersecurity certifications in 2020.
The Top 10 Information Security Certifications in 2020 are…
1. CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional – from ISC2
In 1st place by some distance is the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). In our survey of over 200 cyber security professionals, this was voted the best cyber security certification to have. A whopping 44.8% of respondents stated that CISSP was the best security course they have completed (see Figure 1.1 below).
This popularity was even higher in the Americas (55.75%), so it seems to be a “must have” course for any serious IT security professionals in North America and South America. It was also the most popular course among the majority of industries, including Energy, Engineering, Investments, Hospitality, Utilities, Wholesale, Legal, and Professional Services.
Why do information security professionals think CISSP is the best cyber security qualification?
When we asked them this, the majority (a combined total of 31.4% – see Figure 1.2 below) stated that it enabled them to do their job better. This shows that CISSP is relevant in the real world. It does not just teach you theory – it gives you skills which you can actually use in real world scenarios. Other reasons for choosing the course included “It helped me to get my current position” and “It increased my salary”. According to Forbes, the average salary for those holding CISSP certifications in 2019 was $116,900.
CISSP was also the course which the highest percentage (14.8%) want to take next, which shows that the popularity of the course is likely to continue into 2021.
Get a 15% Discount off the CISSP Online Training with our CyberVista CISSP promo Code.
2. CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
The second best cyber security certification (according to the survey results) is the CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) course with 9.5% of the votes. This course is particularly popular in Europe (13%) and APEC (12%), as well as in the education (20%) and consulting (18%) industries. Behind CISSP, it is also the second most popular course among cyber security professionals earning between $81,000-$150,000.
The course is designed for managers and has a strong focus on strategy and policies. However, this one is not for beginners. You require a minimum of 5 years experience in Information Security before you are permitted to take the course. Plus this cannot be 5 years back in high school – the experience must be relevant from within the last 10 years. But if you meet the criteria, then the rewards (especially financial) are very handsome indeed. According to Global Knowledge, information security professionals with this qualification earned an average of $118,412 per year in 2019.
3. CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker – from EC-Council
In 3rd place is the CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) Course with 7.6% of the votes. This certification is popular among those working in the military, manufacturing, software, and telecommunications sectors. It is also particular popular in MEA (Middle East and Africa) with over 27% of the votes for this region.
The CEH online training course covers 18 of the most up to date and important security domains you will need to consider as an ethical hacker. The course will help you to prepare your organization against attacks and improve information security policies through identifying potential weaknesses. Taking you through 18 modules, it comprehensively covers over 270 attack methods and technologies which cyber criminals and hackers commonly use. According to Forbes, the average salary of those holding the CEH certificate in 2019 was $116,306.
4. CompTIA Security+
In 4th place is the CompTIA Security+ Course with 7.1% of the votes. Interestingly, it is popular among respondents earning over $175,000 with over 11% of this category stating it was the best cyber security certification they have completed. It was most popular in the Americas (9%) and healthcare sector (8%).
For people interested in making their first steps toward a career in cyber security, the CompaTIA Security+ Certification is a great start. It is one of the best introductory qualifications and a great way into the cybersecurity sector. By gaining the Security+ certification, you will be qualified to deal with a wide range of considerations that need to be taken into account to implement successful security strategies.
5. OSCP – Offensive Security Certified Professional – by Offensive Security
In 5th place is the OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional) Course with 4.8% of the votes. It is very popular among those in the wage bracket $60-80,000 (16%), in the APAC region (16%), and in the mining (20%) and pharmaceutical (16%) sectors.
The OSCP course has been described as a difficult certification to obtain, but one which will give you the necessary skills to understand the penetration testing process and life-cycle. Offered by Offensive Security as an ethical hacking certification, they ask candidates to sit a 24 hour certification based on real world situations. This, they claim, provides real world benefits. These benefits include the ability to identify vulnerabilities in security systems, write simple Bash/Python scrips, compromise vulnerable PHD scrips, and carry out controlled attacks.
A prerequisite for this course is the Penetration Testing with Kali Linux training course, also offered by Offensive Security.
6. CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional
In 6th place was the CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional) certification program with 1.9% of the votes. It also seems to be a popular course for 2020 with 13.8% of respondents planning to take it as their next certification.
CCSP from ISC2 is becoming more popular with the spread of cloud computing systems. Creators of the course designed it for information security professionals with a minimum of 5 years work experience, including a minimum of 1 year of cloud security experience and 3 years of information security experience.
This certification program is suitable for mid- to advanced-level professionals involved with information security, IT architecture, governance, web and cloud security engineering, risk and compliance, as well as IT auditing. CCSP credential holders are competent in the 6 CCSP domains mentioned below:
● Architectural Concepts and Design Requirements
● Cloud Data Security
● Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Security
● Cloud Application Security
● Legal and Compliance
The average annual salary for CCSP certificate holders is currently $81, 374.
7. ISO27001 Lead Implementer
In 7th place is the ISO27001 Lead Implementor course with 1.4% of the votes. It was most popular in Europe (4%) and APAC (4%) and 4.3% of all respondents state that it is the security certification they would like to take next.
This course equips you with the knowledge necessary to implement and maintain an Information Security Management System (ISMS) which is compliant with ISO27001. This course is relevant and useful for anyone involved in a company’s (or organization’s) ISMS. This includes managers, consultants, those responsible for maintaining ISO27001 compliance, and ISMS team members. There are several different providers of this course, some offering it as an in-person course, others offering it online, so be sure to explore which version is the best fit for your specific needs and circumstances.
8. APT – Advanced Penetration Testing – by EC-Council
In 8th place is the APT (Advanced Penetration Testing) Course with 1% of the votes. It was most popular in Europe (2%), in particular in the computer hardware (14%) and consulting (3%) sectors. People with this qualification earn on average between $81,000-$100,000.
Similar to OSCP and OSCE, the APT course prepares ethical hackers for real world scenarios. Students have to overcome defenses as well as discover targets, similar to situations you may encounter in ‘the real world’. Not only does the course teach you how to perform a professional security test, but it also shows you how to then present your findings in reports. For IT professionals who are serious about a career in information security, this course is a valuable addition to your skills and qualifications.
The course includes invaluable training about real world penetration issues, including:
- Post Exploitation
- Advanced Techniques
- Data Analysis
9. OSCE – Offensive Security Certified Expert – by Offensive Security
In 9th place is the OSCE (Offensive Security Certified Expert) with 1% of the votes. It also looks like a popular course for the future with 3.8% of respondents stating that they intend to take it as their next cyber security certification.
The OSCE course is another ethical hacking certification offered by Offensive Security. As with OSCP, the OSCE course is designed for professional penetration testers. The exam itself involves a vulnerable network which has been designed to be penetrated within a 48 hour (yes, this exam is 48 hours long!) period. The course awards a variety of hosts and points for each network you are able to compromise. Passing this exam demonstrates the candidate’s ability to think laterally and penetrate information security systems in real world scenarios.
A prerequisite is the Cracking the Perimeter (CTP) exam.
10. GSEC – GIAC Security Essential – by SANS (and other providers)
In 10th place is the GSEC-GIAC Security Essential course, also with 1% of the votes. It was most popular in the Americas, in particular in the banking sector (5%).
The GSEC course is a good option for entry level information security professionals. It is a good “all-rounder” which demonstrates not just theoretical knowledge about information security, but also hands on practical skills. These include the ability to prevent common wireless attacks, password management, DNS, and cryptography fundamentals among others.
The exam itself takes 5 hours and has 180 questions.
The courses below did not make the top 10 in our survey, but we have picked them out as honorable mentions:
The CCISO Certification from EC-Council is an industry-leading CISO training program. It recognizes the variety and depth of real-world experience that is required to succeed at Executive level in information security. The course was listed above the CISSP as one of the certifications held by top earners in Certification Magazine’s ‘Salary Survey 2015: An All-New Salary Survey 75’. or
Encryption is becoming an increasingly important part of cyber-security. This course will teach you the foundations of modern symmetric and key cryptography, including the details of algorithms such as Feistel Networks, DES, and AES. In terms of practical application, you will learn how to set up a VPN, encrypt a drive, knowledge of steganography and cryptographic algorithms.
EC-Council’s ECES Course is for anyone involved in the selection and implementation of VPNs or digital certificates. It will help you to better understand cryptography and move beyond the marketing hype.
CHFI – Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator – by EC-Council
The CHFI from EC-Council is a computer forensics course that will give you a range of skills to help you identify an intruder’s footprints and teach you how to gather the necessary evidence to prosecute.
You will be taught about many of the top tools used in computer forensics, including hardware, software, and specialized techniques.
It is no longer a matter of “will your organization be comprised (hacked)?” but, rather, “when?”
Make sure you’re ready by completing this online training course and getting certified as a Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator.
CND – Certified Network Defender – by EC-Council
The CND course from EC-Council is the most advanced Certified Network Defense course with 14 of the most current network security domains any individuals will ever want to know when they are planning to protect, detect, and respond to the network attacks. Using the CND coupon code (“INFOSEC15”) allows you to obtain this qualification with a 20% discount.
Save on the best Cyber Security Certifications through ISCN
Many of these training courses are available through our partners at discounted rates for the ISCN community (which you are already a part of if you’re using this site). You can view the full list of our current training discounts on our homepage.
Start today to find out more and start your journey, get certified, and get that promotion!