Top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider recommended by Experts

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This post is dedicated to anyone in cybersecurity, curious as to which of the certifications out there to take first. So, If you are just getting started it may be pretty overwhelming as there are just quite a lot to consider. This post also presents to you an updated list based on recommendations from experts across the world.

Recently, Rachel Tobac a Social Engineering expert put up a question on twitter. She asked “If you could get a sponsorship for any training, course or learning opportunity, which one(s) would you be most excited about? ”.

And of course, there came flooding down all the recommendations you can imagine. Surprisingly, the list consisted of various sectors from cybersecurity to machine learning to Marketing and a bunch of others.  With over 100 plus replies we are going to share with you the top 10 exams to consider. We would be listing the courses, the prices, and where you can register.

Benefits of having a cybersecurity professional certification

Taking a professional cybersecurity exam and getting the certificate doesn’t mean an automatic dream job. But having it does increase your chances of getting that job and climbing several steps up the corporate ladder.

Here are some of the benefits of having a cybersecurity professional certification:

  1. Gain Valuable Experience
  2. Increased chances of getting selected by recruiters
  3. It shows your commitment and dedication to the cybersecurity field.
  4. It gives you the chance to enhance your knowledge


So, in no particular order and preference. Here are the top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider.

via GIPHY


Top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider as recommended by Experts

  1. OSCP labs and testing for extended time

Price: $800 – 30 days access or $1200 – 60 days access

The Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) course and certification has been around for over 10 years and has gained a well-earned reputation for toughness. Also, it provides  with a very hands-on learning structure and exam. The official online, self-paced $800 training course is called Penetration Testing with Kali Linux and includes 30 days of lab access, or an extended 60 days lab access for about $1200. Because it relies on Kali Linux (the successor to pen testers’ previous favorite Linux distro, BackTrack), participants need to have a basic understanding of how to use Linux, bash shells and scripts.

2. SANS Incident response and threat hunting, SANS GWAPT , and  SANS GPEN:

Prices: $5000 – $6000

The SysAdmin, Networking, and Security (SANS) Institute is a highly respected training organization, and anything they teach along with their certifications are greatly respected by IT security practitioners. SANS offers multiple pen testing courses and certifications, but its SANS GWAPT Web App Penetration testing and Ethical Hacking,  GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) and GCFA FOR508: Advanced Digital Forensics, Incident Response, and Threat Hunting is one of the most popular.

The SANS courses and exam comes highly recommended because It covers everything from detailed technical approaches to testing all the way up through scoping, rules of engagement, and reporting. The exam is very scenario focused, so it will present a given penetration test scenario and ask which is the best way forward. Or, it’ll show you the output from a tool, and ask what the tool is telling you and what you should do next.

Top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider as recommended by Experts

3. Bellingcat Open Source Investigation workshop:

Price:  £1800 (5 days)

The intention of the workshop is to teach participants the core skills required for open source investigation, giving them sufficient time with practical examples to develop solid investigative experience, and teach a range of tools and methodologies that can be applied to their own work.

Also, The workshop is split into two main sections. The first three days dedicated to teaching participants a range of open source investigation skills, with case studies and practical examples focused on topics including conflict, crime, corruption, and fake news. The first two days focuses on investigations of videos and photographic content, and the third day on social media investigation.

Top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider as recommended by Experts

4. CISSP by The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)²:

Price: $699

The CISSP is ideal for experienced security practitioners, managers and executives interested in proving their knowledge across a wide array of security practices and principles. Earning the CISSP proves you have what it takes to effectively design, implement and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program. With a CISSP, you validate your expertise and become an (ISC)² member, unlocking a broad array of exclusive resources, educational tools, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

5. CMoE by Red Team Alliance:

Price: $3750

RTA’s Covert Methods of Entry class is geared toward students who need to be spun up rapidly in the field of physical site compromise and entry. Professionals already working in the field who wish to hone their existing CMoE capabilities will also derive great benefit from taking this course. A wide range of topics including multiple special focus modules across a variety of physical, digital, and human attack surfaces will be covered in great detail.

6. Hardware hacking and reversing training by Toothless co.:

Price: €5000

The Toothless Consulting Hardware Hacking Training is one the world’s leading courses on hardware security. The course is ideally suited for both hardware engineers who wish to better understand potential security issues that may exist in hardware implementations and software security engineers who may lack experience in analyzing hardware and embedded systems. The training teaches participants a unique hybrid hardware/software workflow that is extremely effective for identifying security issues in hardware, embedded devices, automotive and IoT (Internet of Things). Students will be familiarized with the concepts of hardware analysis and have a first-hand chance to build and instrument the analysis of hardware targets using FPGAs.

Top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider as recommended by Experts

7. Comptia Security Plus (+)

Price: $330

CompTIA’s Security+ certification has long been a top choice for those looking for their introduction into the cyber security industry—it provides the fundamental knowledge for securing a network and managing risk. It also is approved by the U.S Department of Defense to meet information assurance technical and management certification requirements, so it’s a pretty huge distinction and in great demand.

Completing the test for Security+ certification certifies that you have the skills and knowledge that are required to install and configure systems that secure networks, applications, and mobile devices; take part in risk mitigation activities; perform and respond to threat analysis; and work with knowledge of all applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

8. EC-council CEH:

Price: $600

The EC-Council’s Certificate Ethical Hacker (CEH) is easily the oldest and most popular penetration course and certification. The official course, which can be taken online or with a live in-person instructor, contains 18 different subject domains including traditional hacking subjects, plus modules on malware, wireless, cloud and mobile platforms. The full remote course is offered for $1,850, and includes six months of access to the online Cyber Range iLab, which will allow students to practice over 100 hacking skills. For comparison, CBT Nuggets offers CEH training for $80 per month, which includes many other possible exam preparations. EC-Council offers myriad other courses and certifications.

Sitting for the CEH certification requires taking an official course or, if self-study, proof of two years of relevant experience or education. It runs $950 with a $100 application fee. It contains 125 multiple-choice questions with a four-hour time limit. Taking the exam requires accepting the EC-Council’s Code of Ethics, which was one of the first required codes of ethics required of computer security test takers. The courseware and testing is routinely updated.

Top 10 cybersecurity exams and certifications to consider as recommended by Experts

9. EC-council ECSA and LPT:

Price: ECSA($300) LPT($899)

This exam has one purpose: To Differentiate The Experts From The Novices In Penetration Testing! The Advanced Penetration Testing Course by EC-Council was created as the progression after the ECSA (Practical) to prepare those that want to challenge the Licensed Penetration Tester (Master) certification and be recognized as elite penetration testing professionals. The training has been designed by the best in the industry and meant to push you to develop the kind of skill that you’ve been waiting to acquire. LPT (Master) training is not comfortable (and the exam is even worse!) , but filled with intense stress meant to illicit the best from you. Those who prevail will have developed an instinctual and intellectual response to real world penetration testing challenges.

10. Social Engineering Course by Chris Hadnagy:

Price: Not Disclosed

About this course: This is a highly-specialized course for security professionals interested in learning the skills, mindset and tools to become a professional social engineer. Students develop the ability to blend his/her mental skills of influence, persuasion and psychological tactics with technical skills such as mastering elicitation and pretexting.

The Advanced Practical Social Engineering course is a week-long immersion into the world of a professional social engineer.

Designed and written by Christopher Hadnagy, our Advanced Practical Social Engineering program is a five-day (4-day for BH) intensive training course that includes lectures, discussion, multiple hands-on exercises, demonstrations, and even nightly homework.

Think we missed any? Lets hear your thoughts

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