We dedicated an entire week of posts to breaking into the white-hot information security field, including how to get experience in IT security, tips for crushing your first security interview, certifying as an ethical hacker, and even what to do if you get audited during the certification process.
With today’s endless avalanche of malicious attacks, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity is one of the hottest skills sets for 2017. As demands for reliable security skills grow, you should be ready.
If you’re thinking about specializing in security, there are many options to gain valuable security experience, even in your current position. As you gain experience and progress toward your first security position, it’s important to validate your knowledge with certifications, and you have choices.
You can start with CompTIA’s security fundamentals, progress to hardware-specific certifications, like Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, and Checkpoint, or gain more general security knowledge with (ISC)2 CISSP.
Though, if you really want to get your hands dirty, we’d recommend certifying with the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker exam.
About the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification
CEH certification requires successful—with a minimum 70 percent score—completion of a 125 question, 4-hour exam that covers a wide range of cybersecurity topics. In order to be eligible to take the CEH exam, candidates must either attend an official EC-Council training program or have two years of information security experience, validated and approved by the EC-Council.
Many candidates select the second option, choosing to submit to the EC-Council’s eligibility application process and to prepare for the exam with reputable, self-study CEH training like CBT Nuggets’ EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v9.0 course.
You can read more in a Roadmap to Success: Certified Ethical Hacker.
If you go the red team route, here are some tips on the steps you can take to make your Certified Ethical Hacker training.
Tip #1: Use CEH Exam Blueprint as Your Guide
You will be investing time and money to study for your CEH certification exam, so be sure to clearly understand what you need to know in order to pass.
You can start with the EC-Council’s CEH Exam Blueprint, which describes — at a high level — the structure, topic weighting, and number of questions in the exam. The blueprint is not very detailed, however, so you could either buy a study guide or use the latest Certified Ethical Hacker training outline to start planning.
You don’t even need to subscribe to the course to access a detailed, module-by-module course description.
Tip #2: Layout an Honest Study Timeline
After you’ve mapped out your study plan, you should decide how much time you’re going to allocate to each topic.
Using your chosen CEH exam study guide, decide which areas will need more — or less — attention. You might even want to start with the basics.
Any security certification validates not only your knowledge of security features, but also your fundamental understanding of basic concepts like routing, switching, and software processes. It can’t hurt to go back to Network+, CCNA, and MCSA to get a refresher on the basics.
You don’t necessarily have to learn everything again. If you aren’t feeling confident about a topic, then only watch those videos.
Not sure what you don’t remember? Take a Transcender practice exam to get a good sense of where to focus your efforts.
There’s no hard and fast rule as to how long it will take to study for the CEH certification exam. It depends on how much you know going in. Some successful CEH candidates said that their study plan took them a total of two months or more.
You’ll have to pay hard cash to take — and retake — the CEH certification exam, so don’t shortchange your study time. It’ll cost you in the end.
Tip #3: Practice what you learn
They say that the best way of learning something is to actually do it, and that’s especially true while training for the Certified Ethical Hacker exam.
The CEH exam might be written (versus hands-on), but lab environments reinforce learning with real practical application of the tools, tricks and techniques you learn. That’s why CBT Nuggets trainer Keith Barker teaches you how to build your own CEH home lab before getting into the certification material.
See and learn for yourself how perimeter defenses work. Mount your own denial of service. Introduce viruses (safely) into your network.
Virtual labs are a key component to CBT Nuggets training. Certified Ethical Hacker is certainly no different.
Tip #4: Measure your progress with practice tests and quizzes
The best way to see if you know the material is to take frequent practice tests. We’ve embraced that by including in-video quizzes in the Certified Ethical Hacker training videos.
You’ll get an immediate sense of how well you are mastering the content and know which topics need additional study time.
The EC-Council also provides a free CEH practice test that you can use to assess your exam readiness. CEH practice tests also are available from a number of third-party companies.
Don’t spin your wheels. Start on CEH today.
Cybersecurity is certainly one of the fastest growing areas of opportunity and certified professionals are in great demand.
The Certified Ethical Hacker is arguably the best-recognized certification in the IT security space, so start on the CEH path today.
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