The 'How to' Blog

Jan 15 2016   3:53PM GMT

The top 5 IT security certifications to target in 2016

FirebrandInstructors Profile: FirebrandInstructors

IT security
Security certifications

The trend of high profile hacks continued in 2015, with big names including Experian, Ashley Madison and Uber joining the list of victims. An IBM study now estimates the average cost of a single breach at $3.79 million for business.

With businesses facing an ever present and growing threat from cybercrime, it is unsurprising that demand for IT security professionals has never been higher. However, it seems these professionals are in short supply. (ISC)2 are reporting a cyberscurity skills gap which is set to reach 1.5 million professionals by 2020.

So, if you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, or looking to boost your future earning potential, we’ve compiled the list of top 5 IT security certifications to build and prove your cybersecurity skills. So, in no particular order:

(ISC)2 – Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

With more and more businesses moving to the new technology frontier that is cloud, demand for cloud security professionals is on the rise. Cloud presents a new attack avenue for cybercriminals as they seek to deploy old attacks on new systems.

Whilst cloud computing presents many benefits, including improved security, it is critical that businesses understand the information security risks and mitigation strategies. Launched in 2015 from leading cloud and information security non-profits, the Cloud Security Alliance and (ISC)2, the CCSP credential develops and demonstrates these skills.

On a CCSP course you’ll develop and demonstrate practical skills in areas including cyber, information, software and cloud computing infrastructure. With the certification on your CV, companies will know you have the skills to protect their data assets in a cloud environment.

EC-Council – Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH v9)

EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification is the go to credential for professionals looking to protect an organisation from black hat hackers. The information security training program gives you the skills to beat a hacker, by teaching you to think like a hacker.

The curriculum for CEH training went through an updated in October, 2015. Now on version 9, the new course teaches you 270 attack technologies, commonly used by hackers. You’ll also work through labs which mimic real time scenarios to help you ‘live’ through an attack and develop practical skills relevant to the workplace.

You’ll walk away from the course with advanced hacking skills which are in high demand. Put into practice you can identify and provide solutions to security weaknesses identified in a business’s systems, software and networks. This is done by actively attacking their systems.

ISACA – CSX Practitioner

In 2015, ISACA launched the Cybersecurity Nexus™,  a brand new program designed for cybersecurity professionals. Broken down into three certification levels, the CSX program aims to develop practical skills for real world application in modern day information security roles.

The first tier of the Cybersecurity Nexus program offers the CSX Practitioner certification. The program is broken down into 3 separate courses which develop skills across the 5 domains contained within the CSX program which are as follows:

  • Level 1 – Identification and Protection – build foundation security skills to identify key networks and develop required protection mechanisms. Topics will cover network scanning and security control implementation.
  • Level 2 – Detection – build the skills to detect potential network events and incidents by learning core concepts, methods and tools used to leverage cybersecurity controls.
  • Level 3 – Respond and Recover – learn to contain an attack, protect your assets and infrastructure, and the critical processes and features of an all-encompassing incident response plan.

This practical program developing hands-on skills is set to be one of the most sought after IT security certifications in 2016.

CompTIA – Security +

If you’re looking to break into a career in cybersecurity, then the CompTIA Security+ certification is a great place to start.

The certification is globally recognize and trusted to validate vendor neutral, foundation IT security knowledge and skills. Attending a CompTIA Sec+ course will develop knowledge in network security, compliance and operation security, threats and vulnerabilities as well as application, data and host security.

Approved by the U.S. Department of Defense and compliant with government regulations under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), this credential has significant value throughout the US marketplace.

(ISC)2 – Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

A top IT security certifications list is never complete without the globally recognized (ISC)2 CISSP certification. Hailed as the gold standard of information security certifications, the credential is sought by IT security experts worldwide and is often the gateway to high profile information security  roles like Chief Information Security Officer (CIO).

Like the CEH, the CISSP training course also received a curriculum update in 2015, moving from 10 to 8 knowledge domains. Attaining the credential will prove you have the technical knowledge and skills to develop a security program against a set of globally recognized standards to protect a business.

You’ll learn skills in security operations, network security and asset security amongst others. The cert is aimed at experts and so has strict prerequisites demanding a minimum of 5 years’ experience in 2 of the 8 domains.

About the Author


Edward works for Firebrand Training as a Technical Writer within the Marketing department. His works are widely published, featuring in high-end publications including TechNet, Entrepreneur and TechRadar. At the beginning of 2015 Edward was named in Microsoft’s IT Pro New Year’s Honours List.

4  Comments on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.
  • Kevin Beaver
    Thanks for the post, Edward. This is great news for those of us working in information security. Will likely push salaries that much higher.
    27,515 pointsBadges:
  • terminatorx
    Actually the CISSP moved from 10 to 8 domains.

    10 pointsBadges:
  • FirebrandInstructors
    • Kevin - glad you enjoyed it. 
    • terminatorx -  you are indeed correct and I have adjusted the content accordingly. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
    190 pointsBadges:
  • Somtie
    Please, can you advise on how one can break into the industry after gaining the CompTIA Security + certification?
    10 pointsBadges:

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: