Security Engineer Certifications

| Terrisha Buckley Modified on March 28, 2022

Security Engineer Certifications

Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Security engineers build security systems to protect their organizations' data from unauthorized access, threats, and attacks.

Security engineers usually start as information security analysts, identifying threats to organizations' information systems. While security analysts identify threats, security engineers build systems to fend off attacks.

Security engineers also test and implement new procedures. They troubleshoot and respond to security incidents as well.

All sectors are prioritizing efforts to increase cybersecurity. Reports of suspected cybercrime rose by 300,000 in 2020, according to an FBI report. Reported losses due to cybercrime exceeded $4.2 billion.

What Is Certification in Security Engineering?

Certifications are not typically required to practice in a profession. Licenses, on the other hand, are legal permissions given by licensing authorities to professionals. This allows professionals to practice their particular occupations.

Certifications help assure employers that applicants have skills for specific positions within security engineering. Industry certifications may lead to potential employment and higher salaries.

Why Pursue Certifications in Security Engineering?

Those pursuing security engineering careers should start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, cybersecurity, or a related profession.

After graduating, many cybersecurity professionals begin their careers as security analysts to gain valuable industry experience and pursue formal certifications. These certifications help future employers know that candidates possess the required skills for the job.

Security engineer certifications may also improve chances of employment for candidates without undergraduate degrees. When combined with a bachelor's degree, certificates could allow candidates to advance faster to their desired careers.

Security engineer certifications may also improve chances of employment for candidates without undergraduate degrees.

Certification gives more credibility to an applicant's resume. While employers place a high value on experience, skills are also very important. Combining both of these helps create a competitive resume.

Read more about working as a security engineer at the links below.

What the Best Certifications for Security Engineers Have in Common

The most common certifications among security engineers are:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional - Architecture (CISSP)
  • Security 5 Certification
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • IT Information Library Foundations Certification (ITIL)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Some professional organizations offer several security certifications. Many certifications have different requirements and cover specific skills for certain occupations. Some, like the CISSP, require professional experience, while others only require coursework.

Security analysts can acquire certifications like the CISM while working. This allows candidates to gain experience along with required certifications. Some employers may cover certification costs.

To determine the right certifications, look at job descriptions for your ideal position and then acquire those credentials. Be sure to also look into the professional organizations that offer these certifications.

Below is a list of well-known certifying bodies and their corresponding certifications for security engineers. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. You may need to do more research to find the certifications needed for specific positions.

International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council)

This organization began after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The EC-Council is known as the world's largest cybersecurity technical certification body. The founder Jay Bavisi considered the possibility of large-scale cyberattacks and formed the organization.

The EC-Council operates in 145 countries. The council is a member-based organization that certifies information security professionals in preventing cyberattacks.

Some of the certifications the EC-Council issues include:

true Certified Security Specialist

This certification suits workers in the beginning of their careers. Students learn about information security, network security, and computer forensics.

Learn more about this certification.

Certified Network Defender

This credential is for early professionals with some industry knowledge who want to learn more about protecting and defending those networks.

Learn more about this certification.

Certified Cloud Security Engineer

This course teaches professionals how to plan, implement, and troubleshoot cloud platform security for their organizations. It also covers how to manage security on several platforms.

Learn more about this certification.

Certified Application Security Engineer

This certification verifies the skills and knowledge required during a typical software development life cycle. It focuses on implementing secure methodologies and practices in today’s market.

Learn more about this certification.

Cisco

Cisco was founded as a solutions provider for organizations. In 1984, the founders, Len Bosack and wife Sandy Lerner, wanted to email each other from their offices at Stanford University. They were not able to due to technical difficulties.

Since then, Cisco has created various solutions for organizations. Cisco's products address issues including communication and data protection.

In addition to products and services, Cisco also offers career development training for IT and cybersecurity professionals.

true CCNP Security Certification

The CCNP certification demonstrates network security solution skills. It involves two exams: a core exam and a specialty exam tailored to a chosen focus.

Learn more about this certification.

Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional Certification

This Cisco certification does not require experience and can help verify your cybersecurity knowledge. This also includes two exams: a core exam and a specialty exam.

Learn more about this certification.

CCNP Data Center Certification

This certification can help prove your skills with data center solutions. It covers data infrastructure knowledge and maintenance. This certification also requires two exams: a core exam and a specialty exam.

Learn more about this certification.

Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

CompTIA is well known in the information technology profession. They promote industry growth through education and training, philanthropic efforts, plus market research

They also maintain partnerships with many organizations, including academic institutions, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies.

true CompTIA CySA + Certification

This is an intermediate cybersecurity analyst credential with both performance-based questions and a written exam. It tests a candidate's ability to track, capture, and respond to network traffic findings along with software and application security knowledge.

Learn more about this certification.

CompTIA Security+ Certification

This CompTIA certification validates the baseline skills necessary to perform security functions and pursue an IT security career. Like other CompTIA exams, it proves hands-on skills and knowledge.

Learn more about this certification.

CompTIA PenTest+ Certification

This cybersecurity certification tests penetration testing and vulnerability management skills. The exam is composed of an essay exam and a hands-on portion.

Learn more about this certification.

Additional Certifications for Security Engineers

In addition to the certifications listed above, there are also other industry certifications that may boost your career as a security engineer.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

This certification proves your ability to design, implement, and manage a security program. The certification is facilitated by (ISC)², a global organization that seeks to empower information security professional leaders.

GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

The GSEC certification also validates candidates' IT knowledge and includes a hands-on exam portion. This comprehensive examination can be taken by many different cybersecurity professionals, including security engineers.

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

This credential demonstrates a candidates ability to implement, monitor and administer IT infrastructure using security best practices, policies and procedures.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The CISA certification is for entry-level to midcareer professionals within IT. It proves your ability to apply a risk-based approach to planning, executing and reporting on audit engagements.

Preparing for Certification Exams

When preparing for certification exams, verify which security certifications employers typically require for your chosen career path. Visit certifying bodies' sites to see what they are testing on each exam.

Professionals can also participate in mentorships, internships, and study groups to prepare for certification exams.

Once you have all the exam information, it is time to study. Some websites may offer test preparation outside of the organization. However, many offer their own study guides or practice questions — the best options when preparing for the exam.

Professionals can also participate in mentorships, internships, and study groups to prepare for certification exams. Mentors that have taken the exams recently can help with specific exams.

Internships help provide hands-on experience and the professional experience that may be required before sitting for the exam. Finally, study groups are a great tool to connect with fellow industry professionals.

Follow the links below to learn more about getting an education in cybersecurity.

Choosing A Certification

When choosing security certifications, look at every aspect of each credential to see which one will work best for you. As you progress in your career, your employer may offer opportunities to gain certifications.

Pursuing certifications through an employer can help offset some costs. However, this may also come with some stipulations like prolonged time of employment. Other considerations include the certification requirements like the amount and type of professional experience needed to sit for the exam. The type of test also determines how to study for the exam.

Consider exam length when preparing for test day. Find out whether your certification requires renewals and how often. These renewals may come with additional costs and tests.

Resources for Security Engineers

Listed below are some additional resources for prospective security engineers:

This page looks at the security engineer career, including the job description and common tasks.

Learn about the education and experience required to become a security engineer.

Discover what a day in the life of a security engineer looks like from a professional in the field.

Explore salary potential and projected job outlook for security engineers.

FAQ About Cybersecurity Engineer Certifications

How long does it take to become a certified security engineer?

Becoming a certified security engineer may take nine years. This includes the time to earn a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity or a related profession, plus five years of relevant experience and certifications.

Do security engineers need to be licensed?

Security engineering does not require any particular license. Security engineers should hold academic degrees and appropriate certifications for career entry and advancement.

What are the best certifications for security engineers?

The best certifications include CISSP, CompTIA Security+, GIAC security essentials certification, CompTIA PenTest+, systems security certified practitioner, and certified information systems auditor. Some jobs might prefer other certifications.

What is the easiest security engineering certification to get?

The most common certifications are CISSP, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA PenTest+, systems security certified practitioner, and certified information systems auditor.

Recommended Reading

View hand-picked degree programs

Tell us what you’d like to specialize in, and discover which schools offer a degree program that can help you make an impact on the world.