• Dominique

5 Entry Level Security Certifications

With Information Security being a hot topic these days, I thought it would be important to highlight the latest entry to intermediate level certifications in the field including a description of the exam, details regarding what is expected to take it, and what kind of roles you can expect from achieving the certification. The exams are not ordered level of difficulty.



1. CompTIA Security +


CompTIA's Security + is seen as the entry level standard certification for those looking to get into the field. It is a vendor-neutral exam that validations the baseline skills you need to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career. This exam is designed for individuals looking to get into the roles of Junior IT Auditor/Penetration Tester, System Administrator and Security Administrator.


Exam Details

  • Prerequisite

  • Number of Questions: 90 (multiple choice and performance-based)

  • Length of Exam: 90 minutes

  • Passing Score: 750/900

  • Price: $339



2. Cisco Certified Network Associate Security



Also known as the CCNA, this exam is offered by Cisco and validates an associate level individuals' knowledge and skills required to secure Cisco networks. This exam emphasizes core security technologies, how to install and troubleshoot, as well as monitoring of network devices to maintain integrity, confidentiality and availability of data and devices. It is designed for those looking to get into Network Security Engineer and Administrator roles. This exam is a two test process and requires the completion and passing of both exams to receive


Exam Details

  • Prerequisite: Yes

  • Number of Questions: ~60-70 questions

  • Length of Exam: 120 minutes

  • Passing Score: unknown

  • Price: $300

Note: On February 24, 2020, Cisco will release a new, consolidated CCNA exam.



3. Cisco Certified Network Security Professional


Also known as the CCNP, this exam is aligned specifically to the job role of the Cisco Network Security Engineer. This individual would be responsible for security in routers, switches, networking devices, as well as choosing, deploying, supporting and troubleshooting firewalls, VPNs, and IDS/IPS solutions. This exam is a four test process and requires the completion and passing of all 4 exams to receive certification.


Exam Details

  • Prerequisite: Yes

  • Number of Questions: ~50-70 questions

  • Length of Exam: 120 minutes

  • Passing Score: unknown

  • Price: $300 each for a total of $900

Note: On February 24, 2020, Cisco will release a new, consolidated CCNA exam.



4. CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

Brought to you by the EC-Council this exam that demonstrates an individuals knowledge of assessing the security of computer systems by looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems, using the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker but in a lawful and legitimate manner. This exam is an entry level step for those looking to pursue red team (offensive) positions such as penetration testing. This is one of the most expensive exam options.




Exam Details

  • Prerequisite: Yes

  • Number of Questions: 125 (multiple choice)

  • Length of Exam: 4 hours

  • Passing Score: can range from 60% to 85%

  • Price: $850 with official training , $950 - $1199 without training.



5. Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator

Computer crime in today's cyber world is on the rise. Also provisioned by the EC-Council, The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator exam tests an individuals knowledge of the process of detecting hacking attacks and properly extracting evidence to report the crime while conducting audits prevent future attacks. You will be expected to identify an intruder's footprints and properly gather the necessary evidence to prosecute in the court of law. This exam is geared for those looking to pursue a role such as Forensic Analysts, Forensic Engineers, Security Operations Center Analysts.


Exam Details

  • Prerequisite: Yes

  • Number of Questions: 150 (multiple choice)

  • Length of Exam: 4 hours

  • Passing Score: can range from 60% to 85%

  • Price: $650 with official training , $700 without training.


This is not a comprehensive list as there are tons of certifications geared toward specific vendors and other topics. These are the the "hottest" in terms of what positions and certifications organizations and looking for when hiring.


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