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Best Information Security Certifications 2018

Best Information Security Certifications 2018
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InfoSec professionals who want to get ahead in IT security should tackle at least one of these top five information security certifications for 2018.

Credit: ShutterstockThe year 2017 marked another milestone for information security: more breaches, bigger losses, more coverage and more jobs and opportunities for IT and programming professionals. By the end of 2017, according to a Cyber Seek report the number of cybersecurity job openings in the USA stands at just over 285,000. Projections continue to be robust further out: CSO expects that number to hit 500,000 by 2021, with more than 3 million cybersecurity jobs open for the rest of the world that same year.

When evaluating prospective InfoSec candidates, employers frequently look to certification as an important measure of excellence and commitment to quality. We examined five InfoSec certifications we consider to be leaders in the field of information security today:

  1. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  2. CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
  3. CompTIA Security+
  4. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
  5. GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials

This year's list includes entry-level credentials, such as Security+ and GIAC Security Essentials, as well as more advanced certifications, such as the CEH, CISSP and CISM. We also offer some additional certification options in the last section that covers choices outside our top five, because the field of information security is both wide and varied, with lots of other options.

Security-related job roles cover a lot of ground, such as information security specialist, security analyst, network security administrator, system administrator (with security as a responsibility) and security engineer, as well as specialized roles such as malware engineer, intrusion analyst and penetration tester. Average salaries for information security specialists and security engineers – two of the most common job roles – vary widely depending on the source. For example, Simply Hired reports $124,000 for specialist positions, whereas Glassdoor's national average is just under $78,000. For security engineers, Simply Hired reports $96,000, with Glassdoor's average at $86,000.

If you're serious about advancing your career in the IT field and are interested in specializing in security, certification is a great choice. It's an effective way to validate your skills and show a current or prospective employer that you're qualified and properly trained.

Before examining the details of the top five InfoSec certifications, check the results of our informal job board survey. The data indicates the number of job posts nationwide in which our featured certifications were mentioned on a given day. The data should give you an idea of the relative popularity of each certification.

Job Board Search Results (in alphabetical order, by certification)*

Certification
Simply Hired
Indeed
LinkedIn Jobs
TechCareers
Total
CEH (EC-Council)
2,211
2,553
2,439
1,430
8,633
CISM (ISACA)
3,104
3,485
3,827
11,209
21,625
CISSP [(ISC)2]
10,104
11,351
11,189
5.977
38,621
GSEC (SANS GIAC)
1,484
1,781
1,745
854
5,864
Security+ (CompTIA)
3,197
3,357
1,405
1,526
9,709

*See our complete methodology for selecting top five certifications in the "Best Certifications" series.

MORE: Best IT Certifications
MORE: Best IT Training
MORE: IT Certs & Career Paths

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