10 Popular Cybersecurity Certifications [2024 Updated]

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Elevate your career in information security with these in-demand credentials.

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Cybersecurity protects computers, networks, and data from theft, damage, loss, or unauthorised access.

As interconnectivity increases, so do the opportunities for bad actors to steal, damage, or disrupt. A rise in cybercrime has fueled a demand for cybersecurity professionals. According to the 2022 (ISC)2 cybersecurity Workforce Study, global demand for Cybersecurity professionals should exceed 3 million people [1].

10 in-demand cybersecurity certifications

Whilst most cybersecurity professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, many companies prefer candidates who also have a certification to validate knowledge of best practices. There are many certifications available, from general to vendor-specific, entry-level to advanced. 

Before choosing which certification to earn, it’s important to find one that will give you a competitive advantage in your career. If you're just starting in cybersecurity, consider an entry-level credential, like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. You can build job-ready skills in less than six months while earning an industry leader's shareable certificate.

*All base salary represents average base salaries in India from Glassdoor as of April 2023.

1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The CISSP certification from the cybersecurity professional organisation (ISC)² ranks among the most sought-after credentials in the industry. Earning your CISSP demonstrates that you’re experienced in IT security and capable of designing, implementing, and monitoring a cybersecurity programme.

This advanced certification is for experienced security professionals looking to advance their careers in roles like:

  • Chief information security officer: ₹76L

  • Security administrator: ₹9,96,730

  • IT security engineer: ₹5,51,262

  • Senior security consultant: ₹13L

Requirements to qualify for the CISSP exam: You’ll need a four-year degree in computer science to satisfy one year of the work requirement. Part-time work and paid internships also count. You’ll also need five or more years of cumulative work experience in at least two of eight cybersecurity domains. These include:

  • Security and risk management

  • Asset security

  • Security architecture and engineering

  • Communication and network security

  • Identity and access management

  • Security assessment and testing

  • Security operations

  • Software development security

Cost: ₹61,409 ($749 USD)

Path to CISSP

If you're new to cybersecurity and lack the necessary experience, you can still take the exam to become an Associate of (ISC)2. Once you pass the exam, you'll then have six years to build the relevant experience for full CISSP certification.


2. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

This credential from IT professional association ISACA helps demonstrate your expertise in assessing security vulnerabilities, designing and implementing controls, and reporting on compliance. It’s among the most recognised certifications for careers in cybersecurity auditing.

The CISA is designed for mid-level IT professionals looking to advance into jobs like:

  • IT audit manager: ₹20L

  • Information security analyst: ₹6,00,000

  • IT security engineer: ₹5,51,262

  • IT project manager: ₹14L

  • Compliance programme manager: ₹24L

Requirements: You need at least five years of experience in IT or IS audit, control, security, or assurance. A degree can be substituted for years of experience.

Cost:  ₹47,141 ($575 USD) for members, ₹62,320 ($760 USD) for non-members

3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

With the CISM certification, also from ISACA, you can validate your expertise in the management side of information security, including topics like governance, program development, and program, incident, and risk management.

If you’re looking to pivot from the technical to the managerial side of cybersecurity, earning your CISM could be a good choice. Jobs that use the CISM include:

  • IT manager: ₹12L

  • Information systems security officer: ₹13L

  • Director of information security: ₹37L

  • Data governance manager: ₹30L

Requirements to take the CISM exam

  • At least five years of experience in information security management

  • Satisfy up to two years of this requirement with general information security experience. You can also waive one or two years with another certification in good standing or a degree in an information security-related field.

Cost:  ₹47,141 ($575 USD) for members, ₹62,320  ($760 USD) for non-members

4. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level security certification that validates the core skills needed in any cybersecurity role. With this certification, you can demonstrate your ability to assess the security of an organisation, monitor and secure cloud, mobile, and Internet of Things (IoT) environments, understand laws and regulations related to risk and compliance, and identify and respond to security incidents.

Earning your Security+ certification can help you in roles such as:

  • Systems administrator: ₹4,50,000

  • Help desk manager: ₹4,87,656

  • Security engineer: ₹8,19,355

  • Cloud engineer: ₹6,00,000

  • Security administrator: ₹9,96,730

  • IT auditor: ₹8,65,043

  • Software developer: ₹8,00,000

Requirements: Whilst there are no strict requirements for taking the Security+ exam, you’re encouraged to earn your Network+ certification first and gain at least two years of IT experience with a security focus.

Cost:  ₹30,338($370 USD)

If you’re just getting started in information technology (IT), CompTIA recommends that you get your Google IT Support Professional Certificate first. You’ll build foundational skills in IT whilst preparing to pass the CompTIA A+ exams—the first step in the CompTIA certification path. 

5. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Ethical hacking, also known as white hat hacking, penetration testing, or red team, involves lawfully hacking organisations to try and uncover vulnerabilities before malicious players do. The EC-Council offers the CEH Certified Ethical Hacker certification. Earn it to demonstrate your skills in penetration testing, attack detection, vectors, and prevention.

The CEH certification helps you to think like a hacker and take a more proactive approach to cybersecurity. Consider this certification for jobs like:

  • Penetration tester: ₹5,07,120

  • Threat intelligence analyst: ₹8,86,971

  • Cloud security architect: ₹12L

  • Cybersecurity engineer: ₹7,36,376

Requirements: You can take the CEH exam if you have two years of work experience in information security or complete an official EC-Council training.

Cost: ₹98,295 ($1,199 USD)

6. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) is an entry-level security credential for those with some information systems and networking background. Earning this credential validates your skills in security tasks such as active defence, network security, cryptography, incident response, and cloud security.

Consider taking the GSEC exam if you have some background in IT and wish to move into cybersecurity. Job roles that use the skills demonstrated by the GSEC include:

  • IT security manager: ₹19L

  • Computer forensic analyst: ₹7,86,931

  • Penetration tester: ₹5,07,120

  • Security administrator: ₹9,96,730

  • IT auditor: ₹8,65,043

  • Software development engineer: ₹12L

Requirements: There are no specific requirements to take the GSEC exam. First, set yourself up for success by gaining some information systems or computer networking experience.

Cost: ₹204,879 ($2,499 USD) includes two practice tests

Path to GSEC

GIAC also offers the Information Security Fundamentals (GISF) as its entry-level certification for those new to IT. If you're still gaining experience with networking and information systems, this could be a good place to start.


7. Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

With this intermediate security credential from (ISC)², you can show employers that you have the skills to design, implement, and monitor a secure IT infrastructure. The exam tests expertise in access controls; risk identification and analysis; security administration; incident response; cryptography; and network, communications, systems, and application security.

The SSCP is designed for IT professionals working hands-on with an organisation’s security systems or assets. This credential is appropriate for positions like:

  • Network security engineer: ₹6,12,328

  • System administrator: ₹4,50,000

  • Systems engineer: ₹4,13,000

  • Security analyst: ₹5,70,000

  • Database administrator: ₹7,20,000

  • Security consultant: ₹8,88,514

Requirements: Candidates for the SSCP need at least one year of paid work experience in one or more of the testing areas. This can also be satisfied with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a cybersecurity-related programme.

Cost: ₹20,413 ($249 USD)

8. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

The CASP+ is designed for cybersecurity professionals who demonstrate advanced skills but want to continue working in technology (as opposed to management). The exam covers advanced topics like enterprise security domain, risk analysis, software vulnerability, securing cloud and virtualisation technologies, and cryptographic techniques.

The CASP+ can open up opportunities for advanced architecture, risk management, and enterprise security integration roles. Possible job titles include:

  • Security architect: ₹21L

  • Security engineer: ₹8,19,355

  • Application security engineer: ₹9,00,663

  • Technical lead analyst: ₹14L

  • Vulnerability analyst: ₹9,50,000

Requirements: While there’s no formal prerequisite for taking the CASP+ exam, CompTIA recommends it only for experienced cybersecurity professionals with at least 10 years of IT administration experience (including five years of broad hands-on experience with security).

Cost: ₹38,203 ($466USD)

9. GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

Earning the GCIH validates your understanding of offensive operations, including common attack techniques and vectors, and your ability to detect, respond, and defend against attacks. The certification exam covers incident handling, computer crime investigation, hacker exploits, and hacker tools.

This certification is meant for anyone working in incident response. Job titles might include:

  • Security architect: ₹21L

  • System administrator: ₹4,50,000

Requirements: There are no formal prerequisites for taking the GCIH exam, though it’s a good idea to have an understanding of security principles, networking protocols, and the Windows Command Line.

Cost: ₹204,879 ($2,499 USD) includes two practice tests

10. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

The OSCP from Offensive Security has become one of the most sought-after certifications for penetration testers. The exam tests your ability to compromise a series of target machines using multiple exploitation steps and produce detailed penetration test reports for each attack.

The OSCP is a good option for jobs like:

  • Penetration tester: ₹5,07,120

  • Ethical hacker: ₹6,15,012

  • Threat researcher: ₹8,06,168

  • Application security analyst: ₹7,00,000

Requirements: There are no formal requirements to take the exam. Offensive Security recommends familiarity with networking, Linux, Bash scripting, Perl or Python, as well as completion of the Penetration Testing with Kali course.

Cost: From ₹131,087 ($1599 USD); basic package includes Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK/PEN-200) course, 30 days of lab access, and one exam attempt

How to choose a cybersecurity certification

Earning a certification in cybersecurity can validate your hard-earned skills and help you advance your career. Here are some things to consider when choosing which certification is right for you.

  • Your level of experience: Start with a certification that matches your current skill set. Invest in a certification you know you can achieve, and use it to advance toward more challenging certifications later in your career. If you're new to IT, look at these beginner IT certifications and certificates.

  • Cost: Getting certified typically costs several hundred US dollars (or more), plus the additional fees to maintain it. The right certification can open up better job prospects or higher salaries, but investing wisely is important.

Tip: Some employers will help pay for your certification, so it's always a good idea to ask first. According to the (ISC)²  survey, 40 percent of respondents said that their organisation covered the cost of their courses, exam, and fees [2].


  • Area of focus: If you’re just getting started in cybersecurity or want to move into a managerial role, a more general certification might be a good choice. As you advance in your career, you might decide to specialise. A certification in your concentration area can validate your skills to potential employers.

  • Potential employers: Check some job listings of employers you may want to work for (or job titles you plan to apply for) to see what certifications are commonly required.

How to get into cybersecurity: First steps

Many of the most coveted certifications require or recommend some previous experience in cybersecurity or IT. If your career goals include a job in this in-demand industry, there are some steps you can take now to start gaining the experience you need.

Consider a degree in computer science.

Whilst you don’t need a degree to enjoy a successful career in cybersecurity, it can help you build a strong foundation. Many of the most prestigious certifications will waive some work experience requirements if you’ve earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or a related field. 

Start with an entry-level job. 

Hands-on experience is often the most effective way to prepare for certification exams. Start accumulating work experience with an entry-level role as a cybersecurity analyst. Many cybersecurity professionals start off in more general IT roles. 

Get an entry-level certification.

Enhance your resume and make yourself more attractive to hiring managers with a certification that doesn’t require previous experience. Start building job-ready skills in cybersecurity with the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on Coursera. Get hands-on experience with industry tools and examine real-world case studies, all at your own pace. Upon completion, you’ll have a certificate for your resume and be prepared to explore job titles like security analyst, SOC (security operations center) analyst, and more. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Article sources


(ISC)². "2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, https://www.isc2.org/Research/Workforce-Study." Accessed April 19, 2023.

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