Sharpen Your Skill with Expert Level Cybersecurity Certifications

In previous articles, you have learned how to create a cybersecurity certification path from the foundational level, to advanced, and then to specialized or role based. You may be wondering what additional courses and certifications go beyond the advanced and provide a professional or expert level of cybersecurity competence.  This article will focus on the next step courses and certification that are recognized at the expert or professional levels.

Let’s start with CompTIA’s professional certification.

CompTIA Professional Level Exam

Going beyond the Security+ and CySA+, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) provides the next level of security knowledge and understanding. This course and exam have a deeper focus on various security policies and frameworks beyond the materials within Security+ and CySA+.  For this course and exam, you should have an advanced level of understanding as it pertains to cybersecurity.  

Cloud Provider Professional and Expert Level Exams

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft provide security certifications for their cloud platforms. AWS has the AWS Certified Security Specialty. Google has the Cloud Security Engineer Professional. Both certifications fall more into the expert level than intermediate or advanced. However, these certifications do not require any validated experience. Therefore, with the proper course of study and hands-on experience, you could earn these certifications.  These are currently the only exams for cybersecurity from AWS and GCP.

Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect (SC-100) exam and expert certification in 2022.  This course and exam are focused on the architecture of a cloud and hybrid security infrastructure rather than the administration and operations of these services and solutions.  Unlike the AWS and GCP security exams, Microsoft builds from the other exams within their cloud security certifications.  To earn the expert badge that comes with passing the SC-100 exam, you must also have earned one of the other cloud security associate certifications.  This can be the advanced broad certifications of Azure Security Engineer Associate or Microsoft 365 Security Administrator Associate, or one of the role-based certifications with Security Operations Analyst Associate or Identity and Access Administrator Associate.  Currently, the Information Protection Administrator Associate is not in the pre-requisite list.

(ISC)² Professional Level Certifications

If you are looking to hold an industry recognized and respected cybersecurity certification, look no further than (ISC)2.  They have built a reputation for having the top vendor independent certification available with their Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) course, exam, and certification. In this course and exam, you will learn about NIST and other industry frameworks for cybersecurity.  This course teaches you how to think like a CISO in evaluating and architecting a cybersecurity program.  Like many (ISC)2 certifications, this certification requires validated experience.  To obtain the CISSP certification, you must have at least five years of experience in at least two of the exam domains.

To expand upon the CISSP cybersecurity certification, (ISC)2 developed the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) with a focus specifically on cloud security.  This certification is great as a stand alone certification for individuals that may be in a cloud-native architecture, but it is also a great companion to the CISSP. Like the CISSP, you must have at least five years of validated experience.


No matter what your path, choosing to learn more in cybersecurity will put you in a primary position with hiring managers.  You should plan a direction based on your interests and then determine a training curriculum that suits your needs.  This will keep you focused on the time necessary to obtain a certification.  Start with the foundation and fundamentals, work toward advanced and specialized, and then go for the expert and professional.


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.