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I hope this is the best place to ask this question... I did search the internet, but I cannot find an answer which I can trust, so here I am asking the IT pros: if you wanted today to get certified in network security, which way would you go - which certification would you pick for "Network Security"? (Not necessarily limited to Microsoft)

BTW, it would be great if you can provide info about courses and/or tests which are available in Canada, Ontario.

Thanks in advance for all answers.

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closed as off topic by Shane Madden, MadHatter, Zoredache, EEAA, MDMarra Nov 15 '11 at 19:40

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Have a look over at this question and others on Security Stack Exchange. Included in the list are certs which have a partial or full focus on network security:

  • CEH Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CCIE Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert
  • CIPP Certified Information Privacy Professional
  • CISM Certified Information Security Manager
  • CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • GIAC Global Information Assurance Certification
  • LPT Licensed Penetration Tester
  • AHC Anti-Hacking Certification
  • AISC Advanced Information Security Certification
  • CHFI Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator
  • CPP Certified Protection Professional
  • SSEC Software Security Engineering Certification
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I must say -- this is the most comprehensive list of certifications! – woohoo Sep 9 '11 at 14:17

At the very basic end of things you have the Comptia Security+ certification. Pretty basic, but may be a good start. I'm sure some others will be along with some more advanced certs shortly, it's not really my field.

However if your looking to start a career in network security then certification is no substitute for real world experience, and that is what any hiring manager worth their salt is going to look for. Yes certifications can help, and they are a good way to focus learning, but my advice would be get as much real world experience as you can, don't become one of those people I have met who can pass an exam, but can't cut it in the field.

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Thanks for the input, I know what you're talking about. I have extensive experience in a different IT field (no certifications there, either). And I have met people with certifications who couldn't face the heat of production environment... – woohoo Sep 7 '11 at 15:38

Experience is key. If you have certs but no experience, you're dead. If you have experience but no certs, you have a good job. :-)

That said, CISSP is well respected, as is (I hope) Cisco CCIE-Security. Both are pretty difficult, so you have a long way to go if you're just starting out, but they're good goals.

-Steve (CCIE #5444, r+s/security)

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yep, having goals is good :) thanks! – woohoo Sep 7 '11 at 15:42

I've thought about getting security certification for years and researched a lot of different options. I'm planning to go with the SANS / GIAC route.

These certifications feel like they provide the most comprehensive training within a given security specialty of anything I have looked at.

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thanks, I'm interested in this kind of input. – woohoo Sep 7 '11 at 19:54

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