Cyber Security Certificate Path

If you've been looking for a way to learn new abilities or change your career, then a cyber security certificate could be just what you need. An undergraduate certificate in this industry can help you position yourself for entry-level employment while building career-relevant skills.

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. At some schools, like DeVry University, the credits earned while completing a certificate program may apply towards a degree at that school 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:

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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 for certain entry-level positions, while helping to lay the groundwork for other industry certifications.

These certifications may help improve your chances of qualifying for jobs in the field. They also help communicate your willingness to continue your learning journey beyond the classroom. Some of the more advanced certification exams that a cyber security 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+: A 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 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 training is always beneficial for those looking to get a job in cyber security. 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. 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 valuable credits that can help you work towards a future associate or bachelor's degree. Should you choose to work after earning an undergraduate certificate, and then return later to earn a bachelor's, you may find yourself more qualified than candidates who have only received a degree.

Do I Need to be Able to Program before Getting 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 yourself for higher level certifications. This program also stacks with our Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and Networking with a Specialization in Cyber Security1, saving you time and money should you choose to continue your education with us.

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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.