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By: SLWelty
February 5, 2020

Expanding Your Expertise: Three Courses to Specialize Your Career (and Boost Your Salary)

By: SLWelty
February 5, 2020
By: SLWelty
February 5, 2020

Demand for skilled IT professionals is exploding — companies can’t find enough skilled, entry-level staff and the problem is getting worse.

Adoption of “new collar” approaches that prioritize skillsets and industry certifications over traditional post-secondary programming are beginning to bridge the gap, but the increasing scale and scope of technology presents a new challenge: Finding intermediate IT pros with the expertise and experience necessary to build out critical networking, security and information management programs.

What does this mean for your IT job outlook? If you’ve already invested in entry-level courses such as CompTIA A+, Networking+ or AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, there’s opportunity to specialize your career and boost your salary with in-demand qualifications and courses.

The Network Management Track: CCNA Certification

Corporate networks are rapidly becoming more complex as organizations face the dual challenge of expanding into cloud environments and integrating employee devices. With remote work now a necessity for many enterprises and cloud deployments critical to deliver IT at scale and speed, there’s a growing need for qualified network managers capable of tackling new challenges and troubleshooting potential problems on-demand.

CCNA — the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification — remains one of the most in-demand intermediate qualifications on the market. With many businesses leveraging Cisco networks, routers, firewalls and devices to meet corporate requirements, CCNA certification providers a career path to IT roles including network engineers, administrators, field technicians and help desk support specialists. CCNA certified pros have the advanced skills necessary to install, configure, troubleshoot and operate both LAN and WAN network environments.

Enroll in Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Certification >>

To obtain CCNA certification, students must complete a 50-60 question exam comprised of both multiple choice and short-answer questions. Cisco determines passing marks based on statistical industry analysis — as result, it’s worth considering self-paced, expert-taught online courses to help maximize your score and increase your chances of success.

CCNA training covers six key areas:

  • The Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) model
  • Physical networking components
  • Data link layer connections and protocols
  • Network layer routing and troubleshooting
  • Transport layer access and translation
  • Additional layers and protocols including point-to-point and IPv6
  • Positions that require CCNA certification typically offer salaries between $55,000 and $90,000 per year.

    The IT Security Track: Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

    The need for robust IT security can’t be overstated — companies are now under continual threat of data breaches, phishing attacks and vulnerability exploits. As a result, IT security professionals are in high demand to help identify and eliminate potential network weaknesses.

    If you’re interested in IT security and have completed entry-level certifications such as CompTIA Security+, it’s worth building out skills across key disciplines like penetration testing and ethical hacking. Cybrary’s Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking course offers the knowledge you need to prepare for certification tracks such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).

    This course helps students understand and replicate the methods used by attackers to infiltrate systems and exfiltrate data. Topics covered include:

  • Black vs. grey vs. white hat hackers
  • Scanning and enumeration
  • Creating and planting backdoors
  • Common malware tools and use cases
  • Sniffing basics
  • Social engineering and session hijacking
  • IDS, firewalls and honeypots
  • IoT and cloud attacks
  • Cryptography and reporting
  • Certified ethical hacking and penetration testing professionals have access to variety of career paths including information security analysts, data security engineers, digital forensics experts and IT auditors. In addition to private sector opportunities, increased government investment in cybersecurity has created job opportunities across the National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Defense (DoD) and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS).

    The Information Governance Track: CISSP

    Often referred to as the “gold standard” of information security certifications, CISSP is a great addition to any IT resume. Designed for IT professionals with substantive technical knowledge and practical experience, the certified information systems security professional certification is a common requirement for high-level positions in network security, risk management, identity access management or software development security.

    Many of these jobs offer salaries in the $100,000 - $120,000 range and include wide-ranging responsibilities for network security and information governance. CISSP certification indicates that you have both the experience and expertise necessary to address emerging infosec challenges, design effective responses and remediate IT environments after incidents occur.

    CISSP training includes development of key skills including:

  • Information security and risk management
  • Asset security
  • Security engineering and architecture
  • Communications and network security
  • Identity and access management
  • Security assessment and testing
  • Security operations
  • Software development security
  • Obtaining CISSP certification requires completion of a 250-question, six-hour exam with a score of 700/1000 or better. CISSP qualifications are valid for three years. While CISSP training is often described as challenging and intense, it’s worth the time and effort for experienced IT professionals looking to take their career to the next level.

    Intermediate and advanced IT skills are now in demand to fill specialized technology positions. Expand your career potential — and boost your pay grade — with CCNA, ethical hacking and CISSP training.

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