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Find out about cyber security certifications


Cyber security certifications

Hi and welcome to our cyber security certifications page. Here will be looking at the cyber security certifications available to those living, working or studying in the North Of Ireland. The page will initially be filled with our guides on the qualifications and credentials I have taken. Hopefully, I will provide insight into what and how I learned the knowledge that you will also need to take these exams.

Cybersecurity certification programs exist in many formats. Generally, they serve two primary purposes. The first is to train entry-level employees to use specific tools and technologies and show they have the required knowledge. Such certifications are generally run by Vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco and Amazon.

The second reason for gaining professional certifications is to provide a way for more seasoned IT and computer networking professions to verify and show mastery of skills in an area they are working in.

Professional certifications play a prominent role in cybersecurity employment and career advancements, like other computer science and information technology fields. With recruiter specifically scanning for specific certifications.


What’s the difference between cybersecurity certification programs?

In the UK and Ireland, cybersecurity certifications can be split into two main categories: Professional cybersecurity certifications and academic cybersecurity certifications.

Types of Certification

Professional Cyber Security Certifications

These are designed for people who already work in the cybersecurity field (or closely related IT and networking fields) to gain and show they have the knowledge and skills to use the Vendors tools and software to detect, prevent, and combat cybersecurity situations.

These certifications are used to demonstrate proficiency with specific technologies. The AZ-500 or the CompTIA Security + are examples of professional certificates typically for entry-level or junior-level cybersecurity professionals.

In certain countries such as the USA, they require certain qualifications for you to work in Cyber Security – such as the CompTIA Sec +

Types of certifications

Academic cybersecurity certifications

These are designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn about current issues in cybersecurity, often as part of a Bachelors or Masters degree program.

Examples of academic certification programs include the Open Universities Cyber Security Modules or Modules run by Belfast Metropolitan College and Queens. Along with many of the prominent universities in the US and UK, Harvard University offers online cybersecurity certifications at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

These courses generally pair with other coursework and certification programs to provide students with the necessary skills and experience to start the growing cybersecurity industry. 

Types of certifications

Cybersecurity certification programs for professionals

One of the main characteristics of the cybersecurity field is that several certifications qualify you for specific cyber security skills. Many career opportunities, particularly job postings in cybersecurity, require some level of certification.

so I would recommend paying attention to what kinds of certifications are in demand, depending on a career track or job type you are looking to take.

Gaining professional certifications can also be a great way to get your foot in the door and that first job within cybersecurity.

Some companies use specific vendors or network products. So they may require that their cybersecurity staff are certified to provide assurances to clients and keep the employees up to date.

Academic Courses

Examples of Cyber security certifications

Examples of popular Entry or junior Level professional certifications include:

Examples of popular professional certifications include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH certification)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • CompTIA CySa+ (Cyber Security Analyst)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional
  • GIAC Security Essentials Certification*
  • Global Information assurance certification exams

It is worth noting that many cybersecurity certifications, even the ones considered entry-level, often require a combination of coursework or several years of work experience. Sometimes certifying bodies might need both. Additionally, some certifications, particularly advanced certifications, will have to be renewed after a set number of years and charge fees to determine eligibility to continue to hold these.

Foundation, bachelor’s and Masters cybersecurity degree programs increasingly offer professional certification preparation as part of the course options. 


Some of my cybersecurity certifications

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Academic Courses

A listing of academic cybersecurity certification programs

This listing is compiled with the latest available information about academic programs that offer educational cybersecurity certification programs. These are courses delivered in or available to those in Northern Ireland. This listing is not a ranking system by any means. Instead, it was created to help prospective cybersecurity students compare and contrast some basic information about the programs available. 

Belfast Metropolitan College

BSc – Cyber Security & Networking Infrastructure

South West College 

FSc – Cyber Security

The Open University 

BSc – Cyber Security

Queens University Belfast

MSc – Applied Cyber Security

PGCert – Applied Cyber Security