Top 10 IT Security Certifications for Beginners

Cybersecurity has been one of the key concerns among business owners worldwide. The rapidly evolving digital landscape offers several business opportunities.

However, it has also brought several unprecedented challenges in the form of obsolete technologies and increasing instances of cybercrimes like phishing scams, website spoofing, ransomware, malware, and IoT hacking.

A report by Cybersecurity Ventures in 2017 predicted that cybercrime losses would be $10.5 Trillion annually on a global scale. Another study by Cybercrime Magazine conducted in the same period suggests that cybersecurity investments in cybersecurity services and products will reach $1 Trillion in the period between 2017 to 2021.

A large section of these investments will focus on avoiding impending cyber attacks. Do you think this scenario offers any better career opportunities? Yes, it does. There is a high demand for experienced and certified cybersecurity professionals in IT organizations.

With hundreds of IT security certifications available, choosing the right ones for your career progress may be difficult. This article discusses the top 10 IT security certifications for beginners that will help them launch a secured career in cybersecurity.

Top 10 IT Security Certifications for Beginners in 2021

Many IT security certifications for beginners listed here require candidates to have certain years of work experience.

You may be required to submit evidence of work experience while applying or booking slots for your certification exams. It is always better to read and understand the requirements of these exams carefully before making a decision.

The below-given are 10 top IT security certifications for beginners that you may want to try to jump-start your career in cybersecurity.

  1. Comp TIA Network+
  2. Gaining knowledge and understanding of your network will help you build a great career in cybersecurity. This is why this certification holds the first position in this list of top IT security certifications for beginners.

    This entry-level certification prepares you for troubleshooting, managing and configuring networks. This is a vendor-neutral certification. Earning this certification prepares you for the following job roles across organizations.

    • IT Consultant
    • Computer Technician
    • Help Desk Technician
    • System Engineer
    • Network Analyst

    Exam Overview: The CompTIA Network + certification is ideal for those who want to build a career in networking or cybersecurity. It validates their knowledge of networks and introduces them to the basics of network security.

    This certification exam costs $329. You need to attempt 90 questions in multiple-choice, PDQ, and drag and drop format. The exam duration is 90 minutes. Minimum 9 months of working experience in any of the aforementioned roles is recommended.

  3. CompTIA Security+
  4. This is the most popular global IT security certification that validates your skills needed to perform the core, as well as intensive security functions in any IT organization.

    This certification is validated by different business corporations, as well as defence organizations across the world.

    This is perhaps one of those certifications that emphasize acquiring practical skills and prepares a candidate to solve a wide variety of complex problems.

    The following are a few job roles that use CompTIA Security+ certification:

    • Security Administrator
    • Helpdesk Manager/Analyst
    • Security Engineer/Analyst
    • Systems Administrator
    • Network/Cloud Engineer
    • DevOps/Software Developer

    Exam Overview: The CompTIA Security+ exam comprises 90 questions in multiple-choice and performance-based formats, and the test duration is 90 minutes.

    The candidates appearing for this exam must possess at least two years of work experience. This certification shows your understanding of managing risks and avoiding intrusions to the company network.

  5. Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate/CCNA Cyber Ops
  6. This is one of the most in-demand IT security certifications for beginners. The certification prepares a candidate for entry-level jobs in security operation centers (SOCs) of various organizations.

    The certification tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills in various security concepts, security monitoring, host-based analysis, network intrusion analysis, and security policies and procedures adopted by organizations.

    The following are a few popular job roles associated with this certification.

    • Cybersecurity Analyst
    • Site Administrators
    • Auditors
    • Network Administrators
    • Various Security Professionals

    Exam Overview: The exam duration is 90 minutes and you have to attempt 60-70 questions in this duration. This certification will show the world that you possess the experience and skills required to handle challenging cybersecurity tasks. The certification exam offers a comprehensive overview of the best practices of Cisco’s security solutions.

  7. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Security Fundamentals
  8. This is one of the most popular IT security certifications for beginners. This certification targets students in high schools and colleges or those who may be looking for a career change.

    It is recommended to take relevant training courses to gain exposure to technologies and concepts outlined by Microsoft before attempting this certification. It analyses your knowledge in core security principles of software and network security.

    The following are some job roles that use MTA Security Fundamentals certification.

    • Security Administrator
    • Security Analyst
    • Network Security Engineer
    • Technical Support Associate/Engineer

    Exam Overview: The MTA certification exam can be taken in English and several other languages. You can easily earn certification by passing a single exam. The exam fee is $127.

  9. Certified Informations Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  10. Many IT organizations across the globe value CISSP certified professionals over other certified professionals.

    This certification is vendor-independent and applies to various IT setups and is suited for entry-level, experienced security practitioners, as well as managers. Anyone with or without a technical background can attempt this certification. The CISSP certification prepares you for the job roles like

    • System Security Analyst
    • Security Administrator
    • Network Security Engineer
    • Security Architect
    • Security Consultant
    • Security Analyst
    • Security Systems Engineer

    Exam Overview: The exam costs $699 and this is the most expensive IT security certification for beginners. You can earn the certification by clearing a single exam that comprises questions on access controls, incident response and recovery, security operations, and administration, and so on.

  11. System Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  12. The SSCP is an ANSI-accredited (ISC)2 exam and is an entry-level certification. It is a vendor-neutral certification and has no strict prerequisites. Along with CISSP, SSCP is one of the most recognizable IT security certifications in the world today.

    This certification is the right choice for you if you have practical knowledge of different security practices or hands-on skills. This certification is suited for people who want to pursue entry-level security positions including

    • Network, System Analyst, or Administrator
    • System Engineer
    • Network Security Engineer

    Exam Overview: This certification exam costs $250 and to earn the certification, the candidate must clear the single exam that focuses on seven common bodies of knowledge (CBK) domains including access controls, security operations and administration, risk identification, monitoring, and analysis, incident response and recovery, cryptography, systems and applications security, and network and communications security.

    (ISC)2 recommends candidates gain hands-on security knowledge before taking the exam by attending conference workshops, training courses, webinars, and so on.

  13. EC-Council: Certified Ethical Hacker
  14. EC-Council or International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants is an organization that specializes in IT cybersecurity certifications, training, and education.

    Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is the ethical hacking certification course offered by this council. This course introduces learners to the commercial-grade hacking techniques, tools, and methodologies used by information security professionals and hackers to break into a company’s system. Earning a CEH certification prepares you for the job roles as

    • Cybersecurity Auditor
    • System Security Administrator
    • Cyber Defence Analyst
    • Vulnerability Assessment Analyst
    • Information Security Analyst

    Exam Overview: The CEH certification exam comprises 125 questions and the test duration is 4 hours. This certification introduces you to some unique concepts like hacking challenges, emerging attack vendors, malware reverse engineering, cloud computing security challenges, and so on. In short, it prepares you for a challenging career in ethical hacking.

  15. OSCP with PWK ( Penetration Testing with Kali Linux)
  16. This is one of the best IT security certifications for beginners who wish to build a career in penetration or offensive security testing. It helps candidates to boost their careers and skills.

    This certification exam validates your skills and knowledge of various penetration testing tools as well as techniques with the help of hands-on experience. Although it targets beginners, experience with Linux and Windows administration is one of the prerequisites for attending the exam.

    This certification is best for the following job roles:

    • Infosec professionals eyeing a career in penetration testing
    • Security Professionals
    • Pen testers
    • Network Administrators

    Exam Overview: The OSCP exam comes with a 24-hour time limit. The candidates need to complete a penetration test in an isolated VPN network of OffSec. They have to strictly follow the connectivity and exam instructions for the same. They will be awarded points for solving each compromised host.

    The Penetration Test report featuring in-depth notes, as well as screenshots of their observations need to be submitted. Successful candidates will be declared Offensive Security Certified Professionals and they are easily hired by top companies for cybersecurity positions at various levels. The people are trained to identify risks, vulnerabilities, and they execute organized attacks in a focused and controlled manner.

  17. GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
  18. The GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF) certification focuses on a broader perspective on cybersecurity. It validates a candidate’s knowledge of networking and computer functions, the foundation of computer security, cybersecurity technology, and introductory level cryptography.

    Earning this certification allows you to find intermediate and middle-level cybersecurity positions in different companies. This certification is perfect for the following job roles:

    • Non-IT Security Professionals
    • System Administrators
    • Information Security Managers
    • Information Security Officers

    Exam Overview: Candidates need to attempt 72 questions on various aspects of cybersecurity within two hours. The exam is proctored and web-based. Like many other IT security certifications for beginners, this certification requires candidates to exhibit their problem-solving and analytical thinking skills.

  19. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  20. This may not be the regular IT security certifications for beginners still it prepares you for a challenging role ahead. This certification requires aspirants to have at least five years of work experience.

    This validates a candidate’s skills in information security governance, incident and risk management, and program development and management. This certification is suited for those who may be eyeing senior security job positions including

    • Security Consultants and Managers
    • IT Directors and Managers
    • Security Auditors and Architects
    • Security System Engineers
    • Information Security Managers
    • Risk Officers

    Exam Overview: The examination cost is $575 for members/ $760 for non-members. The exam duration is 4 hours. The exam is designed to test a candidate’s experience in addressing and resolving different information security situations. To become CISM certified, along with experience, the candidate must adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics, comply with the Continuing Education Policy.


Before choosing IT security or cybersecurity as a career option, understanding the relevance of each of these certifications and the requirements of your job role will definitely help.

Each of these certifications prepares you for a role in unique ways. Having said that, clearing these certifications won’t be easy unless you prepare wisely.

As discussed, most of these certifications are time-bound and tests your knowledge in various aspects of cybersecurity. They aim to bring out the best in you in terms of skills and knowledge. While preparing, you can download easy-to-study guides from the official websites of these certifying organizations.

However, that is not enough, you need to put your knowledge into practice. This practice becomes easy when you partner with a trusted certification preparation platform like CertoMeter.

We provide different IT security certification preparation courses for beginners and working professionals. These courses are tailored to meet changing industry needs and are conducted by industry experts.

The courses feature several free and paid tests and simulations, which prepare you for the exam in unique ways. These tests and simulations are revised regularly to offer you the most real experience of the certification exam.

Feel free to get in touch with the team at CertoMeter for more information on these certification exams. Our experts would be happy to resolve your queries.

Curated by-

Ms. Mahima Garg

She is a technology enthusiast and an author who is passionate about ideation, planning, implementing, integrating, and managing business processes for business growth. This led her and the team to build a Global IT Certification and Preparation Platform for professionals which help them get certified and enhance their career growth. With 20+ years of experience in IT and Management, she believes to impart what she has learned in her exciting career.

Subscribe to Newsletter and Get Voucher Updates, Mock Tests Updates, and More!