Top 5 Certifications for Penetration Testing

Top 5 Certifications for Penetration Testing

Cybersecurity is a fascinating field. It is expanding and growing daily. The security side of information technology has many career opportunities. One of the specialized fields within cybersecurity is penetration testing. Penetration testing is testing a system or network for weaknesses that could be taken advantage of by an attacker. The Cyber Job Mentor has identified five certifications for penetration testing. These certs are recommended for experienced IT professionals looking for advancement or a new set of skills for a new career path.

Offensive Security Certified Professional OSCP

The Offensive Security Certified Professional OSCP exam is presented by Offensive Security. This group provides penetration testing training and certification. This OSCP is considered entry-level for the discipline of penetration testing but it takes advanced knowledge and the examination is rigorous and that is why it is included in this list. To achieve this certification, you must complete Offensive Security’s Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PwK) course and pass the 24-hour hands-on exam. This exam validates information gathering, identifying vulnerabilities, executing attacks, and completing penetration test reports. The minimum price for the exam and course is $800.00. You can learn more about this excellent certification here

CompTIA PenTest+

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification validates skills in penetration testing. The topics covered are planning and scoping, penetration testing tools, attacks and exploits, and reporting. The CompTIA PenTest+ certification verifies that effective candidates have the knowledge and skills required to plan and scope an assessment, understand legal and compliance requirements, perform vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, analyze data, and effectively report and communicate results. This is not an entry-level exam. The recommended requirements for the exam are Network+, Security+ or equivalent knowledge. Minimum of 3-4 years of hands-on information security or similar experience. While there is no required prerequisite, PenTest+ is intended to follow CompTIA Security+ or equivalent experience and has a technical, hands-on focus. The exam cost is $349.00. You can learn more here

EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Certification (CHFI)

The certification exam focuses on computer forensics. This includes recovering data, investigating crimes, and analyzing data. Some of the topics covered by the exam are computer forensics investigation process, network forensics, investigating email crimes, and the tools or applications necessary to accomplish those tasks. The cost of the exam is $700.00 which includes a $100.00 application for those that have not taken an approved training class. The experience requirement is 2 years. This exam is presented by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, also known as the EC-Council. You can learn more here

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacking Certification (CEH)

The Certified Ethical Hacking Certification is well regarded by human resources departments. If you were to peruse job postings for cybersecurity professionals you would find this cert as a requirement for employment or similar training. A certified ethical hacker will use many of the tools and knowledge that malicious hacker uses, but in a lawful manner and with permission. This exam is presented by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, also known as the EC-Council. They provide many certifications that revolve around cybersecurity. The cost of an exam voucher is currently $1199.00. The experience requirements are having another CEH version cert, or 2 years of experience that will be verified, or take an approved training course. If you are interested in learning more about this certification please visit their website

GIAC Penetration Testing (GPEN)

The GPEN exam is designed to validate the knowledge and skill required to target networks and systems and find vulnerabilities and exploit them. To successfully achieve this certification a candidate must know the methodologies and techniques required to conduct a penetration test. Topic areas covered include attacks, penetration test planning, reconnaissance, and others. This exam is provided by GIAC. Global Information Assurance Certification is an information security certification entity that specializes in technical and practical certification. There are no prerequisites for the exam through GIAC recommends training provided by their affiliates. The cost of the exam is $1999.00. If you are interested in learning more please visit

Studying for certifications can be an excellent method of professional development. Choose professional development activities that work best for your situation. Look for opportunities that align with your goals and align with your learning style. There are other certifications out there, this is not a comprehensive list and they may not work for all people. Find what works for you.

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