If you asked 100 IT security professional which certification to get for both knowledge and career advancement, you’d get approximately 90 different answers. There are so many cybersecurity certifications out there that it can be tough to decide which to choose.
CEH vs CISSP
There is a consensus among cybersecurity pros that both the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications are valuable for a career in IT security.
That leaves you with the challenge of identifying which is right for you and your career. Let me break it down to help with your decision.
How Can These Certifications Advance Your Career In IT?
The median salary of a CEH-certified IT professional is around $77k in the United States, but there’s more money to be made as a freelancer or consultant.
For an IT professional holding a CISSP certification, salaries can range from about $92k to $110k, depending on the company and job title.
What Can A CEH or CISSP Certification Do for You?
Like the name implies, a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification gives you the tools and skills of a malicious hacker, while working on the right side of the law (and making money while doing it).
Organizations that have security concerns will hire CEH-certified IT pros to “think like a hacker” and make an attempt to make it past their security and hack into their systems. They take this on to probe and assess any security flaws in the system and test its IT security in a thorough, legal, legitimate manner.
They can be thought of as consultants, and any feedback from the CEH can be used to step up the organization’s IT security.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications are typically held by people whose job titles might include security consultant, manager, analyst, auditor, or security architect. They are the ones who build the security controls from the ground up and make the crucial decisions in the overall IT security plan of an organization.
In other words, the CISSP certification is to build the security system and framework, the CEH consultant tries to hack into it, and then lets the CISSP know what they can do to help harden the system.
What’s Required for The Certifications?
The first prerequisite of being accepted into a CEH program is a minimum of two years at an IT security-related job.
The CEH course will then walk the student through 18 modules and 27 separate attack methods, all of which mimic hacking scenarios from the real world. At the end of the course, there’s a CEH exam that is comprised of 125 multiple-choice questions, with four hours to complete the test.
A CISSP prospect will need five years of on-the-job experience in at least two of the following disciplines: security/risk management, communication/network security, identity and access management, software development security, security operations or asset security.
At the end of the course, there’s a CISSP exam that consists of 250 multiple choice questions, with six hours to finish. Unlike CEH, however, there isn’t a formal, structured course to attain a CISSP certification.
Many professionals consider the CEH certification to lead to more challenging and interesting work, although the salary might be a bit lower. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which is the best path.
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