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10 Highest paying cyber security certifications in 2019

Huge demand for cyber security professionals in global business means a massive increase in annual salaries. Find out which jobs and which training providers will keep you up-to-date with cutting-edge security techniques

Demand for cyber security professionals has been soaring for a while now, with certified professionals landing some of the highest paying jobs in the IT industry. This is largely due to an increasingly digitised and interconnected world, as businesses across the board migrate their data and processes to the cloud.

In today’s world, keeping sensitive data secure from prying eyes and cyber-attacks can mean the difference between leading the market, and bankruptcy.
Running a business in the cloud has some obvious benefits, like availability across devices and geographies, granular control of access, and easily accessible data versioning. But it also comes packed with dangers, as data remains permanently exposed to online threats, like hackers, data leaks, DDoS attacks, amongst others.

Cyber-attacks are now among the top threats to businesses and consumers globally. Major security breaches are increasingly common, like the interference in the 2016 US election, 2017 Equifax data breach, and Facebook’s almost routine-like privacy mishaps. In the UK, more than half of British firms have reported some kind of cyber attack by mid-2019.

Moreover, cyber attacks are increasingly costly. Financial losses are estimated to sit in the trillions of dollars per year, with a report by Cybersecurity Ventures forecasting £5 trillion in global losses by 2021.

The cyber security skills gap has only widened. Research by (ISC)2 has put this gap at a whopping three million in October 2018. This means businesses need more security experts, fast. And to professionals, it means opportunities abound, with competition for certified experts driving salaries ever higher.

The question is, with so many options, what choice offers the best value, both for businesses and individuals? A good way of looking at it is by looking at market demand - and there’s no better way of gauging it than by average compensation.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the 10 highest paying cyber security certifications as measured by average salary:
  1. EC-Council’s CCISO
  2. Cisco’s CCIE
  3. (ISC)²’s CCSP
  4. EC-Council’s ECSA
  5. (ISC)²’s CISSP
  7. GIAC’s GSEC
  10. EC-Council’s CEH

1. EC-Council’s CCISO - £115,000

A Chief Information Security Officer is an executive with a wealth of experience in both business expertise and technical skills. It's one of the most senior roles in a company's IT career ladder. This managerial role oversees security engineers and a business’ incident response control.

As a certified CISO, you are required to have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the cyber security field. It’s not an entry-level position you could just jump into, but taking a CCISO certification is definitely worthwhile for anyone contemplating a career upgrade.

According to ITJobsWatch, the average salary for a CCISO as of 2019, is £115,000. In contrast, according to ITCareerFinder, CCISO salaries can range anywhere between £80,000 to over £400,000 per year.

The urgency for CCISO professionals has increased enormously since last year, having climbed over 51 positions in the ranking by a ITJobsWatch

EC-Council is globally renowned for their IT certifications (like the Certified Ethical Hacker, an industry standard today). It’s no surprise, then, that their CCISO certification takes the first place as the best salary in the cyber security field.

2. Cisco’s CCIE - £83,000

Cisco’s Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) attests the skills required of an expert-level network engineer to plan, operate and troubleshoot complex network infrastructure.

With an average salary of £83,000 for 2019, and a substantial increase on its representativeness amongst advertised IT jobs, the demand for CCIEs is on the rise.

Please note that Cisco is planning a major overhaul on the structure of CCIE and other courses starting in February 2020.

3. (ISC)²’s CCSP - £74,000

As a Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), you’ll have the advanced technical skills and knowledge to design, manage and secure data, applications and infrastructure in the cloud. You’ll also implement best practices, policies and procedures to establish cyber security for your business.

This certification is designed for senior-level professionals – you’ll need to have at least five years of cumulative, paid work experience in information technology, of which three of them must be on information security.

(ISC)² is an international, non-profit membership association for information security leaders. A certification by such a heavyweight provider will without a doubt increase the value you add to any business, along with your salary.

This certification is in high demand. According to ITJobsWatch, there’s been a 6.67% increase year-on-year, with an average salary of over £74,000.

4. EC-Council’s ECSA - £67,500

EC-Council’s Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) levels-up your expertise in penetration testing. This cyber security certification relies on hands-on and interactive knowledge. Penetration testing puts you in the shoes of a hacker, looking for exposed attack vectors so you can build a robust defence.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a penetration tester in the UK is around £67,500.

5. (ISC)2’s CISSP - £65,000

A Certified Information Systems Security Professional, is a senior-level IT expert responsible for a business’ information security, and in charge of the implementation and management of an enterprise security programme.

The salary for a CISSP professional has increased by 4% since last year, averaging £65,000 in 2019.

This certification is ideal for security consultants, analysts, managers, auditors and architects. It also acts as a stepping stone in the direction of becoming a CISO.

6. ISACA’s CISM - £65,000

As a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), you’ll be responsible for the management and design of information security systems for your business. If you’re an information security manager looking to accelerate your career, then this certification is a perfect match.

Leading up to an average salary of £65,000 in 2019, it’s quite a valuable investment for professionals.

7. GIAC’s GSEC - £65,000

GIAC’s Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) is ideal for entry-level security professionals, operations personnel, and managers. In this certification, you’ll learn how to design and build network architecture, run Windows/Linux command line tools, and design an effective security policy for your organisation.

GIAC provides some of the most rigorous standards for security professionals. Taking into account that this certification is designed for entry-level professionals, an average salary of £65,00, shows how much value it can add to both businesses and individuals.

8. ISACA’s CRISC - £65,000

As a Certified Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), you’ll improve your understanding of IT risk management and its impact on your business. You’ll learn how best to design, implement, monitor and maintain risk-based, efficient and effective information systems controls. Finally, you’ll also understand what is systemic enterprise risk, and get familiar with various information systems controls to mitigate this risk.

The CRISC certification is another example of a certification designed for entry-level positions. The change year-on-year has decreased by 7.69%, however in the last 6 months, professionals are seeing incomes of over £100,000 once certifying in CRISC. Average salaries are in the £65,000 range.

9. ISACA’s CISA - £65,000

As a Certified Information Security Analyst (CISA), you’ll be responsible for identifying risks and providing compliance reports within your business.

The certification is specifically designed to escalate your career into a managerial position, which can further be supported with a starting salary of £65,000.

10. EC-Council’s CEH - £60,000  

Through EC-Council's Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) you’ll learn the techniques and strategies of a hacker, but use them for defending against attacks. You’ll be immersed in an interactive hacking environment, learning to scan, test, hack and secure your own systems.

The average salary for an EC-Council's CEH is around £60,000, but depending on the sector, it can exceed £80,000.

How to get a cyber security certification?

Cyber security is not just a trend, it’s slowly becoming the cornerstone of our modern economy. The world of today is online, and barring another giant meteor, there’s no going back.

In this world, bank heists happen online and security professionals don’t carry guns. The best (and best-paid) defenders of the 21st century will pack a solid body of knowledge, flexibility, and the will to always be learning to try and stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

If you’re up to the challenge, come learn the skills to help build this future with Firebrand’s accelerated cyber security certification courses.