top of page
Want to get notified when I create a new blog post?

Thanks for subscribing!

  • Writer's pictureKyser Clark

Is a Cybersecurity Certificate Worth It?

So you're looking to start a cybersecurity career and are considering your training options... great! In this article, I will explore if cybersecurity certifications are "worth it" compared to other training options.


  • Quick answer: YES! Cybersecurity certificates are undoubtedly "worth it."

  • Certifications are a popular and effective way to enhance cybersecurity skills and knowledge.

  • They are highly sought after by employers in job postings and listed in almost every cybersecurity job ad.

  • Certifications instantly verify a person's skills and knowledge.

  • They are challenging to obtain, requiring 1-4 months of focused study.

  • Tests require the ability to apply best practices in real-life situations.

  • The difficulty of exams quickly increases knowledge and skills.

  • Certifications make a job candidate stand out, gains respect as a peer in the industry, and give necessary knowledge & skills to solve complex problems.

  • I highly recommend certifications to break into the field or level up an existing cybersecurity career.

  • Certifications are cost-effective compared to other training options.

  • They provide a very high return on investment (ROI).

Generally, there are four training options:

Training Method


Time to complete


Bang for your buck

"Worth it?"

Boot camp









Very High













Very High



Cybersecurity certifications are specialized qualifications designed to help aspiring professionals become more employable. A cybersecurity certification can demonstrate a person's proficiency in using different tools and systems and provide evidence that they are knowledgeable and capable of dealing with technical security roles. Having them can also set individuals apart from others applying for the same jobs, giving them an edge over other candidates. Finally, many employers now look for certified candidates when hiring IT personnel—as such, bearing the right certification can go a long way towards helping people break into this rewarding and lucrative career path.


  • Affordable

  • $554.51 on average (for both training and exam voucher(s)).

  • Slightly more expensive ($618.51 on average) if you study/practice part-time

  • Gain skills very quickly (about 1-2 months if you study/practice full-time).

  • about 2-4 months if you study/practice part-time

  • They are highly sought-after by employers as they are listed on most job postings.

  • Self-study.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer to have instructor-led training)

  • Self-Paced.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer a set schedule).

  • Semi-custom learning path.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer a fully structured path).


  • Very difficult to pass exams, and you must pay for another voucher to re-take the exam in most cases.

  • Somewhat of a hassle to maintain as most certifications require re-certification after three years.

  • You must pay small maintenance fees to maintain an active certification in most cases.

Boot camps

Cybersecurity boot camps are intensive training programs that prepare students for cybersecurity careers. These programs are typically short, full-time courses that provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the workforce. Cybersecurity boot camps are widely considered a great option for those who want to get started in this field quickly.


  • Gain skills quickly (4.5-5.5 months if you attend full-time).

  • Some boot camps offer part-time attendance, which costs a little more and significantly extends the completion time.

  • Instructor-led.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer self-study)

  • Set course schedule and learning path.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer self-pacing and the ability to choose your own path).

  • Some programs incorporate certifications in the boot camp.


  • Expensive ($13,252.34 on average).

  • Lack of Credentials (No degree and possibly no certifications). Job postings do not require proof of boot camp participation (unlike degrees and certifications).

Four-Year Degree

For someone with little to no experience in cybersecurity, acquiring a degree from an accredited institution is a great way to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise to get started. A cybersecurity degree is designed to teach students about computer networks, security protocols and software, cryptography principles, and more. By taking courses relevant to entry-level roles in the sector, aspiring professionals can develop a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental concepts related to cybersecurity. In addition, having a degree will give them credentials that will help their job search and prove they have been educated on various topics in this rapidly changing field. These elements combine to create an objective-based education tailored specifically for people starting in the industry, making it easier for them to break into this exciting field.


  • Degrees are highly sought after by employers.

  • Learn crucial research, communication, and writing skills (unlike other options).

  • Online and in-person degrees are available.

  • Set course schedule and learning path.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer self-pacing and the ability to choose your own path).


  • Very Expensive ($35,692 on average).

  • Gain skills very slowly (Typically, your first 2 years are courses that don't provide. cybersecurity skills, and it typically takes 4 years to finish the degree).

  • Not as "hands-on" as the other options.


Self-learning and taking the initiative to improve skills in their free time set job candidates apart in this field. Investing time in self-learning cybersecurity fundamentals, developing necessary skills, and researching existing trends are important approaches to gaining an edge before an interview. Demonstrating an enthusiasm towards learning new technologies while developing knowledge of industry practices through open-source study materials and certifications can make candidates stand out among their competitors. Employers often prefer those who demonstrate competence by actively seeking out information independently versus relying solely on course credits or a degree. Becoming self-taught in the rapidly changing world of cybersecurity is essential if one wishes to stand the best chance of being successfully employed in this continually evolving industry. There is absolutely no reason to forgo self-learning, as you should be self-learning on top of any other training option you are doing.


  • Every skill you need can be learned at home for free or at a very low cost.

  • Gain skills very quickly (You can learn valuable skills in hours).

  • Seemingly endless online resources.

  • Very "hands-on."

  • Employers seek people who learn in their free time as it shows ambition and desire to be in the field.

  • Self-paced

  • Custom learning path


  • No credentials to list on a résumé (degree, certification).

  • (There are ways to list your projects on résumés though).

  • Self-study and self-paced means you may not know what or where to go for learning.

  • (This can be a pro if you know what you want to learn and where to go to learn it).


Certifications are my absolute favorite way to level up my cybersecurity skills and knowledge. Certifications are easy to start, relatively inexpensive compared to other training options, and highly sought after by employers in job postings. Almost every cybersecurity job posting lists multiple certifications. This is because certifications are a great way to instantly verify a person's skills and knowledge.

Certificates are more than "just a piece of paper" or "proof you can pass a test." Certifications are usually quite challenging to obtain and require 1-4 months of highly focused study to pass the exam, even for "entry-level" certifications. You can't just memorize definitions and terms to pass exams; you must be able to apply best practices in a wide array of real-life situations. However, the difficult nature of certification exams increases your knowledge and skills rather quickly compared to other training options. The difficulty in passing certification exams is another reason employers and customers who purchase cybersecurity products and services demand them from workers.

Certifications make you stand out as a job candidate, give you respect as a peer in the industry, and give you the knowledge & skills necessary to solve the complex problems within cybersecurity. The pros easily outweigh the minor cons. Therefore, I highly recommend getting multiple certifications to break into the field or level up your existing cybersecurity career.

Now that you're totally convinced that a certification is "worth it" to break into cybersecurity, you may be wondering what certification you should start with and how to get started. I have you covered. Everything you need to know is in this article: How to Get Into Cybersecurity (and Other IT Fields) With No Experience If you want to know more about why I don't think cybersecurity boot camps are worth it, check out this article:

Are Cybersecurity Bootcamps Worth It?


Related Posts

See All
Want to get notified when I create a new blog post?

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page