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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.
- Security Engineer Career Overview
- How To Become a Security Engineer
- The Typical Day of a Security Engineer
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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.
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:
Certified Security Specialist
This certification suits workers in the beginning of their careers. Students learn about information security, network security, and computer forensics.
Certified Network Defender
This credential is for early professionals with some industry knowledge who want to learn more about protecting and defending those networks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This credential demonstrates a candidates ability to implement, monitor and administer IT infrastructure using security best practices, policies and procedures.
- 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.
- Certificate Programs in Information Technology
- Certificate Programs in Cybersecurity
- Associate in Cybersecurity Programs
- Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Programs
- Master's in Cybersecurity Programs
- Cybersecurity Bootcamps
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:
What Is a Security Engineer?
This page looks at the security engineer career, including the job description and common tasks.
How to Become a Security Engineer
Learn about the education and experience required to become a security engineer.
Day in the Life of a Security Engineer
Discover what a day in the life of a security engineer looks like from a professional in the field.
Security Engineer Career and Salary
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.
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