Certifications to Get You Started in a Cybersecurity Career

You want to make a career change. You have been drawn to exploring a cybersecurity career. Since you do not have any cybersecurity experience, you want to gain the knowledge that can get you an interview for entry-level cybersecurity positions. How can this be accomplished? What certifications in cybersecurity will look good on a resume to get you noticed?

Whether you have been in technology or are new to technology, moving to a cybersecurity career can be a challenge. If you spend any time on social media on this topic, you may find yourself frustrated quickly if you do not have a good plan to get noticed. This article will provide you with guidance on that plan and some of the certifications that can accelerate your career in cybersecurity.

On-premises and Cloud Foundational Training

Let’s start with guidance for someone that does not have a technology background. If you are not from a technology background or role currently, you should have some basic knowledge and build a foundation within your plan to move to cybersecurity. This includes understanding on-premises and cloud technologies for compute, networking, and data.

If you are starting with on-premises technologies, CompTIA has some helpful foundational training and certifications that can assist. The CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) provides this foundational knowledge on technology concepts and IT practices. This training and exam will provide you with the basic features and functions of operating systems, networks, and software applications within an IT infrastructure. This knowledge and skills are important for understanding the concepts of IT that are necessary for cybersecurity. The knowledge is also transferrable to a cloud infrastructure.

Moving into cloud technologies, the three primary cloud providers, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), all have their own foundational training and certification. AWS has their Cloud Practitioner certification, and they provide free on-demand training for their partners. GCP has their Digital Leader certification. Microsoft has a wide range of Fundamentals certifications depending upon the product area. The Azure Fundamentals, AZ-900, training and exam provides a broad and high-level understanding about cloud technologies and infrastructure. Microsoft 365 Fundamentals, MS-900, is focused on the software-as-a-service capabilities of Microsoft 365.

Cybersecurity Foundational Training

Once you have the foundational on-premises and cloud infrastructure and technology understanding, or if you have already been in the technology field, you can begin to plan your cybersecurity journey. You want to have an understanding and awareness about cybersecurity across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures. So, where do you start?

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² recently realized the gap in foundational cybersecurity training and certifications. (ISC)2 is a globally recognized organization that focuses on cybersecurity training and certification curriculum. Their industry independent certifications, most notably their flagship CISSP certification, have been recognized as the premium certifications to obtain. However, these certifications required five (5) plus years of experience in cybersecurity that could be proven prior to receiving a certificate. The (ISC)² have created three (3) starter certificates for cybersecurity and an entry-level certification that can now be obtained without prior experience. The Cloud Security Certificates provide a starting point with Cloud Basics, Moving to the Cloud, and Working in the Cloud that are available on the (ISC)2 learning platform for on-demand learning and an assessment that provides digital badges through Credly.

If you prefer to move directly to a certification rather than a certificate, the Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) from (ISC)² is a good start to your cybersecurity credential path. Unlike the CISSP within (ISC)², no prior cybersecurity experience is required. Official (ISC)² training providers with authorized instructors provide instructor-led training to prepare you for this exam.

Another very popular cybersecurity training that does not require previous experience is Security+ from CompTIA. Security+ is a more detailed certification than the (ISC)2 CC, and you should consider completing the ITF+ before moving to the Security+ training and exam. This certification is recognized globally as a very reputable exam, and you would benefit from having completed this certification.

Once you have completed the CC exam, you are on your way to showing a perspective employer that you are serious about cybersecurity. Also recommended on this path would be the Certified Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals (SC-900). This certification provides a foundational certification focused on one of the top three (3) cloud providers.

Conclusion and Next Steps

After you have taken these foundational steps toward a cybersecurity career with these certifications, you will be ready to move forward to the more advanced certifications. You may also choose to move to a more specialized area. In future articles in this series, you will be introduced to these more advanced and role-based certifications for cybersecurity. If you are interested in knowing more about the training that is available, Opsgility is a training provider for (ISC)2, Microsoft, and CompTIA with a catalog and schedule of instructor-led training for any cybersecurity career direction.


Dwayne Natwick - Azure MVP

Meet the author

Dwayne is an Azure MVP and a MCT Regional Lead. I am a vision-driven and goal-focused leader with a history of successfully managing and training on the full life-cycle of Cloud and IT products and services including technical sales and marketing. I author blog articles, curriculum, and provide training for internal and external clients in workshop, video, or certification preparation formats. I currently manage the product strategy, life cycle, and service offerings for Multi-Cloud migration services at Cloudreach, an Atos company.