Penetration testers are security experts who are often called ethical hackers. Why? They can reveal vulnerabilities by simulating a real attack. These weaknesses are invisible to automated tools and it is the task of security professionals to find them before attackers can exploit them.

So such an approach is aimed at identifying even minimal security flaws and reducing attack risks. If you are interested in this field obtaining a testing certificate is not just an addition to your knowledge but also a necessity. Thats why we decided to review the best and most promising certifications to help you get started.

Why Penetration Testing Certifications Matter

Obviously any certificates are a confirmation of your skills and knowledge in testing. This is your trump card that makes you more attractive to employers. It is also a demonstration of your ability to fulfill your duties, improve your skills and constantly enhance your mastery.

However this is not the only important point. Certification is an essential aspect of professional growth for penetration testers. The field of pentesting is very dynamic and the best penetration testing companies open doors for those who keep up with the pace of development. So this is a must for everyone who plans to develop in this direction.

What are the top certifications now? Lets take a look at them.

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

If you’ve ever been interested in penetration testing you might have noticed that the CEH certification by the EC Council is one of the most prestigious credentials in the field of ethical hacking. It is well known for its program which equips you with the specific skills to think like a hacker and understand how to protect the system against cyber threats.

CEH covers different areas. After the certification you’ll be able to work on network scanning, enumeration, vulnerability analysis and system hacking etc. Additionally you’ll gain skills in detecting malware threats, sniffing and social engineering as well as protecting systems from denial of service (DoS), session hijacking and hacking web servers.

Employers highly regard CEH certification. Its comprehensive curriculum offers practical experience and is backed by a strong professional network. So you definitely have to add this certification to your list.

Certified Mobile and Web Application Penetration Tester

CMWAPT certification as you could’ve guessed from the name, specializes in mobile and web application security. It covers all the crucial areas of testing services in this direction. More applications move online so talent shortage in this field is noticeable.

CMWAPT covers all the services regarding vulnerabilities in mobile OS (Android, iOS) web application vulnerabilities and specific attack vectors. It may be ideal for security professionals focusing on a specific apps system. For modern cybersecurity roles the skills you can acquire during CMWAPT certification are critical.

Certified Expert Penetration Tester (CEPT)

The next certification worth your attention is CEPT. It is designed specifically for those who have valid experience and advanced skills in penetration testing and want to validate their expertise.

Such certification focuses more on sophisticated attack techniques and defense mechanisms. Basically it covers areas of protection such as network attacks, shellcode development, memory corruption and Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) etc.

Here you can not only confirm your knowledge and professional skills. CEPT. will help you gain new experience, refresh your knowledge and improve your abilities to solve extremely complex security tasks.

Certified Cloud Penetration Tester (CCPT)

The adoption of cloud services is growing. According to statistics more than half of business data is stored in the cloud, so for security professionals, there is a particular certification related to this area. And penetration testing is no exception.

CCPT focuses more on systems security testing methods specific to cloud environments. Here, professionals must demonstrate knowledge of testing, analysis and protection that would cover cloud security architecture, common vulnerabilities, pentesting tools and processes etc. Expertise in working with security operations and reporting in cloud environments is also required.

As a large number of organizations move to cloud infrastructures and this number will only increase, cloud penetration testing expertise is in incredibly high demand. In the future, most companies will hire pen testers with certifications in this field as an additional professional requirement.

CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA PenTest+ is a very well known and cloud penetration widely recognized certification. It is one of the most important because it covers all aspects of penetration testing, from planning and scoping to vulnerability scanning and reporting.

CompTIA PenTest+ is designed for cybersecurity consultants and professionals who want to demonstrate their extensive vulnerability management skills. Therefore, they need to demonstrate knowledge of information gathering, vulnerability detection, attacks, reporting and communication.

Such certification is vendor agnostic, making it universal and suitable for a variety of environments. It is recognized all over the world so specialists who complete it are popular in the labor market in different regions.

Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

OSCP certification is not so much about theory as it is about a practical approach. Accordingly in this case the candidates have to demonstrate their skills in the real practical exam.

Here candidates need to have certain skills in vulnerability detection, attack execution, penetration testing methodology and tools in the Kali Linux distribution. It’s a lot of knowledge and work but its worth it because OSCP is considered one of the most rigorous and respected certifications in the industry. If you get it you prove your ability to effectively handle real world penetration testing tasks.

GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)

GPEN by SANS focuses not only on the practical but also on the legal aspects of penetration testing. Its more about a comprehensive understanding of the industry and the ethical aspects of the pen tester business.

If you’re going for this certification you’ll need to prove your skills in password cracking and vulnerability scanning as well as your knowledge of penetration testing practices and legal issues.

However you will gain many advantages in the job market as GIAC certifications are highly valued for their rigorous standards and comprehensive coverage of safety issues. They provide a solid foundation for a career in cybersecurity.

Choosing the Right Pen Testing Certification

Choosing the right certification is always a challenge and this applies to all fields not just pen testing. Its not just an investment of your time and effort. Certifications have a direct impact on your cybersecurity career. Therefore lets try to consider the factors that should be taken into account when making a decision.

First the choice of certification is highly dependent on your existing knowledge and skills. If you’re a beginner choose entry level options like CompTIA PenTest+. If you’re an experienced professional feel free to get advanced certifications like OSCP or CEH.

Second you must align your certification achievements with your long term career goals. Are you looking to specialize in cloud security and web application security or maybe lead a red team? Your choices should match your desired career.

Also keep in mind that each certification has certain prerequisites and experience requirements. Before you invest time and money make sure you meet these requirements. Some certifications require formal training courses while others may require relevant work experience.

For example to become a Council of Europe Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) you need to either complete formal training or submit a detailed application about your experience. All this is time money and effort. Therefore it is worth clearly understanding whether it is worth it.

It is not superfluous to estimate the recognition and value of certification in the field of cyber security. Certifications from well known organizations such as EC-Council, CompTIA and Offensive Security often carry more weight with employers. Explore job listings and talk to industry experts to identify leaders.

Don’t forget about the structure and content of the exam to make sure it matches your learning style and knowledge. Some certifications like the OSCP are completely practical and require hands on demonstration of skills. On the other hand options such as GPEN include multiple choice questions focused on theoretical knowledge. Choose the exam format that best suits your strengths.

And finally keep in mind that certifications often require Regular updates to keep you Up to date of the latest industry developments. So do your research and Prepare yourself with the recertification process including any continuing education or re-examination requirements. For example the CompTIA PenTest+ certification is valid for three years and requires continuing education units (CEUs) to renew.

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