Cyber Security Certification Path

If you've been looking for a way to learn new abilities or change your career, then a cyber security certificate program could be just what you need. An undergraduate certificate in this industry can help you position yourself to pursue entry-level employment while building career-relevant skills. This kind of credential may even help you prepare to pursue certain cyber security certifications, which combined with your education  may help you stand out to employers when you begin your job search.

In case you're unfamiliar, an undergraduate certificate is a non-degree credential that is earned through a certificate program. These programs cover some of the same basics that one might find in an associate degree or bachelor's degree program, but without as many general education course requirements.

At some schools, like DeVry University, the qualifying credits earned while completing a certificate program may apply towards a degree with us in the same field1. This makes an undergraduate certificate an excellent choice for anyone who wants to earn a credential and build their skills quickly.

In this article, you'll learn what you need to know about a cyber security undergraduate certificate and other career-relevant credentials as we explore the following sections:

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

Whether you know exactly where you're heading, or you're still planning your next steps, it all starts with a simple conversation. Let’s talk.


DeVry University’s Cyber Security curriculum is acknowledged and verified as an approved provider by NICCS.

What are the Qualifications for an Entry-Level Cyber Security Program?

In order to qualify for an undergraduate certificate in cyber security program, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. At DeVry, you must also place into MATH062 and ENGL062. Some students may also need to complete a transitional studies course prior to program enrollment. Please see academic catalog for complete admissions requirements.

Do I Need Advanced Cyber Security Qualifications or Certifications?

An undergraduate certificate in the field may help you prepare to pursue certain entry-level positions, while helping to lay the groundwork for you to prepare to work toward other industry cyber security certifications.

These certifications may help you prepare to pursue jobs in the cyber security field, depending on the position and the skills required. They also help communicate your willingness to continue your learning journey beyond the classroom. Some of the more advanced cyber security certification exams that an undergraduate certificate program can help you prepare to pursue include:

  • CompTIA A+: A certification that proves your ability to perform basic IT tasks. Areas covered include networking, hardware, troubleshooting, operating systems and network tests.

  • CompTIA Cloud+: A certification that demonstrates your capability to perform cloud computing tasks. It primarily covers your ability to set up, manage and troubleshoot cloud computing systems.

  • CompTIA LINUX+: A certification that shows that you are capable of utilizing the Linux operating system. It mostly touches on how this operating system interacts with devices.

  • CompTIA NETWORK +: A certification designed to prove your knowledge of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT).

  • CompTIA PenTest+: A cyber security focused certification that verifies a person's ability to test systems by using techniques similar to those a cybercriminal might employ.

  • CompTIA Security+: This is a cyber security certification that proves your ability to perform basic cyber security defense tasks such as testing the strength of a network and system construction capabilities.

  • EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker: Similar to the PenTest+ certification, this credential certifies the holder as an ethical hacker. Ethical hacking is mostly used to test system security.

  • EC Council Certified Network Defender: This cyber security certification is the defensive counterpart to the EC Council's Ethical Hacker credential. It proves your ability to set up secure networks and systems. It is one of the more important certifications that a cyber security professional can earn.

When you combine an undergraduate certificate with one or more of the above qualifications, you may increase your chances of standing out to employers by showcasing your knowledge and comprehension of the field.

Do I Need Hands-on Training to Get a Job in Cyber Security?

Hands-on cyber security training is always beneficial for those looking to get a job in the field. This style of training reinforces the concepts learned in the classroom and encourages students to learn the adaptability required in the modern workplace.

You can pursue hands-on learning through several different methods. Many people gain hands-on experience through job experience, home learning or a class. Some cyber security programs, such as DeVry’s Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security, may offer hands-on learning or teach students through simulations of real-world problems.

This kind of experience may help inform your decision to continue your education after earning your certificate, and to pursue certain cyber security certifications over others. Each method is valuable, though it may be easier to prove your skills to an employer if your experience comes from education or previous employment.

Self-learning is an excellent way to strengthen your familiarity with programs and skills that were developed through earning a degree or a certificate.

At DeVry, our undergraduate certificate in cyber security program includes several hands-on learning opportunities. For instance, our course on network security testing includes a lab element where students get the chance to test the security of a real network. And our course on ethical hacking gives students the opportunity to explore and execute ethical hacking programs.

Do I Need Experience to Go into Cyber Security?

While experience in the field certainly helps, it is usually not necessary to find an entry-level position as a cyber security professional. However, it doesn't require any experience beyond a high school diploma or equivalent in order to pursue an undergraduate certificate in cyber security.

A certificate of this level may be able to open up new opportunities for those interested in the cyber security and information technology fields. With this credential, you can build your on-the-job experience and gain credits that can help you work towards a future associate or bachelor's degree.

Do I Need to be Able to Program before Pursuing a Qualification in Cyber Security?

No, you do not need to be able to program before you pursue a qualification on a cyber security certificate path. However a program like DeVry’s Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security should provide some of the foundational programming elements needed to help you start pursuing higher level certifications.

Most cyber security jobs require their candidates to have competency across a few basic programming languages, as an understanding of these programming essentials is not only vital for finding employment, but also needed to protect customer data. Those looking to pursue a career in cyber security may enroll in a programming essentials course if they so choose.

Build Your Foundation in Cyber Security at DeVry

DeVry's Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security is a great way to build your competency and prepare to pursue higher level certifications. This program also stacks with our Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and Networking with a Specialization in Cyber Security1, should you choose to continue your education with us.

Cyber Security Certifications for Beginners

In order to prepare to pursue a cyber security certification, you should familiarize yourself with the world of cyber security, and one way to do that is through education. A great way to start is with an undergraduate cyber security certificate, like DeVry’s Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security. This program contains courses that may help you build skills needed to pursue a cyber security certification while working toward earning an undergraduate credential at the same time.

Some of the courses you'll take as a part of this program include:

  • Introduction to Technology and Information Systems
  • Introduction to Operating Systems
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Introduction to Digital Devices
  • Fundamentals of Information Security
  • Fundamentals of Infrastructure Security
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Principles and Theory of Security Management
  • Network Security Testing with Lab

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in cyber security and want to learn more about the field and the industry’s certifications, check out our article on how to get into cyber security.

Ready to learn more?

Find out how an undergraduate certificate in cyber security can be the first step in your journey towards your new career.

Request Info

1At the time of application to the next credential level, an evaluation of qualifying transfer credit will occur and the most beneficial outcome will be applied.