It’s that time of the year again. Here at ISCN, we bring you an objective list of the top 10 best cybersecurity courses in 2023! This comes from us asking our 100,000-strong ISCN LinkedIn group of cyber security professionals to rank their favorite cyber security courses. Read on to see the results below.
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We asked 20 questions about 50 of the leading cybersecurity certifications. Our community of over 100,000 information security professionals gamely answered our survey and we compiled their answers to provide a definitive list of the top 10 information security certifications in 2023 starting in reverse order.
And now, the top CyberSecurity Certifications in 2023 are…
10. Penetration Testing Courses by SANS
At the cusp of the top 10 is the Penetration Testing Courses offered by SANS. These PenTest courses rank well for helping participants make a higher pay grade. Although not paid as much as other positions, those in possession of this certificate still often break the 6-figure barrier.
9. University Degree
A cyber security-specific University Degree ranks at number 9. Although not as highly regarded by most cyber security professionals in terms of ‘real-world’ experience, this course is recommended for those considering management positions. This is understandable, however, as having a formal university degree certainly looks good on a resumé.
One caveat, though, is that most university degrees matter as much as the university itself. If you’re on the fence about which university to choose, this 2022 guide provides a list of the world’s top universities offering a science degree.
8. CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional)
8th in this list of cybersecurity certifications is the CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional) certification program. Despite skidding a couple of places from the previous year, 15% of our survey respondents stated their intention to complete the course within the next 12-24 months – maintaining its popularity.
The rapid rise of cloud computing systems in recent years caused an upshoot to the popularity of the CCSP course from ISC2. It is designed for information security professionals with a minimum of 5 years of 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
According to PayScale, the average annual salary for CCSP certificate holders is currently $119,000.
7. CompTIA Security+
In 7th place, this year is the CompTIA Security+ Course. Although ranking lower than in last year’s survey, it remains in the top 10 with 26% of survey respondents praising its relevance to real-world scenarios.
This CompTIA Security+ Certification is a great start for people interested in embarking towards a cyber security career. It is widely considered as one of the best gateway qualifications into the cybersecurity sector. Gaining the Security+ certification qualifies the bearer to deal with a wide range of considerations that need to be taken into account to implement successful security strategies.
6. CCISO – Certified Chief Information Security Officer – from EC-Council
Right at the hump in 6th place is the CCISO Certification from EC-Council. For those looking to get promoted to managerial positions, this could be the best cybersecurity certification for you. 33% of cyber security professionals stated that this course is one of the best for equipping participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in managerial positions. CISO thought leader Todd Fitzgerald answers in the video below a few questions about the certificate and its relevance to management within cyber security, among other factors.
CCISO’s managerial qualities are no doubt related to its industry-leading CISO training program. It recognizes the variety and depth of real-world experience that is required to succeed at the Executive level in information security. Last year, this course was ranked at #6 (coincidentally same as its position here!), way above the CISSP online course as one of the certifications held by top earners in Certification Magazine’s ‘Salary Survey 2021: An All-New Salary Survey 75’.
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5. Cisco – CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
5th on our list is the Cisco CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) certification. 26% of cyber professionals surveyed stated that this course provides you with skills which are directly transferable to the real world. It also ranked highly in terms of courses which are in demand by employers, with 23% of respondents providing this course in their answer.
4. EC-Council – Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
NOTE: Discount available using our CEH Coupon Code.
Coming in 4th is EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) qualification. This course consistently ranked near the top of the survey’s respondents. For example, in response to the question about which qualification is most in-demand by employers, 25% of all respondents gave CEH as an answer.
Figure 1.1. Which certification(s) are you thinking about studying for in the next 12-24 months?
The popularity of CEH stays steady as it is set to increase with 21% (in second place) of respondents stating their intention to take this course within the next 12-24 months, as shown in Figure 1.1. below.
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 comprehensively covering over 270 attack methods and technologies which cybercriminals and hackers commonly use.
3. ISACA – CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
The third best cybersecurity certification (according to the survey results) is the ISACA – CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) course. This course ranked high among survey respondents in terms of the management qualities which accompany it. For example, the course came in second place (after CISSP) in terms of equipping someone to succeed in a management position (as can be seen in Figure 1.2, below).
Figure 1.2. Which certification(s) would you say are best for equipping someone to succeed in a management position?
But management skills are not the only benefit of the CISM certification. According to a study by Forbes regarding the certifications which lead to the highest salaries, this course came in 3rd place with an impressive annual salary of $148,622 in 2020.
The course is designed for managers and has a strong focus on strategy and policies. As such, this one is not ideal for cybersecurity certifications for beginners. The CISM requires a minimum of 5 years of experience in Information Security before you are permitted to take the course. If that is not restrictive enough – prospects must note that the experience must be relevant from within the last 10 years.
15% Discount this course with this CISM Promo Code, or read more about the CISM Online Course.
2. Offensive Security – PWK OSC
In 2nd place is the Offensive Security – PWK OSCP Course. As with the CISSP online course, this course consistently ranked high in the survey results. In particular, cyber security professionals believe it to have strong relevance to the ‘real world’, as shown below in Figure 1.3.
Figure 1.3. Which certification(s) would you say are best for learning skills that can be applied in the real world?
And this wasn’t the only advantage pointed out by survey respondents. As seen previously in Figure 1.1., cybersecurity professionals also ranked the qualification in second place (behind CISSP) in terms of how ‘in-demand’ it is by employers.
1. CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional – from ISC2
NOTE: 15% CISSP Discount available using our CISSP Promo Code.
Topping our 2023 list is the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) course. In our survey, a huge chunk of cyber security professionals ranked CISSP as the best all-around cyber security course. In particular, respondents rated it for its relevance to the real world, the earning potential it provides, as well as how in-demand it is by employers.
For example, for the question ‘Which certification(s) would you say are most in-demand by employers?’ a whopping 72% of them gave the CISSP certification as their answer (as can be seen in Figure 1.4 below).
Figure 1.4. Which certification(s) would you say are most in-demand by employers?
As can be seen, the CISSP certification is definitely in-demand. This popularity in the workplace is mirrored by a corresponding high salary. Figure 1.2., below, shows how 77% of information security professionals regard CISSP as the highest-paid security certification. This is lent support by a study by Forbes in 2020 which likewise found that those possessing this certification enjoy one of the highest salaries within IT ($141,452).
Furthermore, CISSP was voted the best cybersecurity certification in terms of its relevance to the real world, as shown in Figure 1.5 below.
Figure 1.5. Which certification(s) would you say are best for getting into high-paying positions?
However, despite being the most popular course, it is not always the right choice for everyone. To start, this is not a great fit for those starting out in cyber security. Keep in mind that the CISSP course requires paid work experience, as well as regular recertification. Furthermore, it also requires a certain level of prerequisite experience. For these reasons, you may want to consider the other courses listed (above) in our top 10.
15% CISSP Discount available using our CISSP Promo Code, or read more about the CISSP Online Course first.
Honorable Mentions (not included in our Top 10 Best Information CyberSecurity Certifications)
The courses below did not make the top 10 best cybersecurity certifications in our survey, but we have picked them out as honorable mentions based on their income potential, career value addition, popularity, and real-world use:
APT – Advanced Penetration Testing – by EC-Council
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
Discount available using our APT Coupon Code, or read more about the APT Online Course first.
ECES – Certified Encryption Specialist – by EC-Council
Encryption has become an essential 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.
Discount available using our CES Coupon Code, or read more about the CES Online Course first.
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 compromised (hacked)?’ but, rather, ‘when?’
Make sure you’re ready by completing this online training course and getting certified as a Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator.
Discount available using our CHFI Coupon Code, or read more about the CHFI Online Course first.
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 individual 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 15% discount.
Discount available using our CND Coupon Code, or read more about the CND Online Course first.
Why cyber security certifications are still relevant in 2023 (and beyond!)
The world is constantly evolving towards a tech-enabled and tech-based future. Looking back at headlines in recent years, we’ve seen high-profile cyber security issues such as the 2013 infamous Target breach, Yahoo, Alibaba, LinkedIn, and even internet giant Facebook just to name a few. That equates to billions of sensitive data such as names, addresses, usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. Cybercriminals have been consistently creative in finding new ways to break through security vulnerabilities big or small. There’s definitely no reason to think that cyber security specialists will become less relevant any time soon.
As hackers find ways to beat even the most sophisticated of security systems – we’re talking daily – information security professionals are more essential than ever. The role of cybersec professionals is to continually develop and implement preventative measures to defend against cyberattacks of any type on any business.
Another good reason why the demand continues to grow is that data breaches are (we cannot stress this enough) expensive. IBM reported that 2021 saw a 9.8% increase in the average cost of data breaches amounting to a colossal US$4.24 million. That’s the highest amount in the report’s 17-year history.
That type of money can knock most businesses off their feet, so it’s certainly a no-brainer to hire the best cyber security professionals with that kind of threat looming on the horizon.
Who took part in the survey about TOP 10 best cybersecurity certifications?
In order to determine which are the best cybersecurity certifications, the survey was sent to thousands of cybersecurity professionals, including over 100,000 members of the Information Security Careers Network LinkedIn Group. Despite being united by their profession (of cybersecurity), they come from a range of backgrounds across various countries.
In terms of earning power, 35% of respondents earn above $100,000, with 7% earning even above $200,000.
In terms of location, the majority (41.5%) of survey participants are situated in North America, while 28.3% are in Asia, and 20.8% in Europe (as shown below in Figure 1.6).
Figure 1.6. Location of survey participants
Source: ISCN’s survey
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