Im just starting out in school to study Network and Info Security. I know this is the field I want to invest my time and study into. Well over 200k security jobs went unfulfilled last year. My question is this - I know that real work experience is the most important factor that companies look at when comparing applicants. After factoring that in, what are the certifications that can not only help advance a career but aid in the work, itself, where security and entry-level is concerned? Again, I'm very new to this so certifications that would be available to someone fresh out of school.
closed as primarily opinion-based by Xander, David Houde, Mark, TildalWave, Rory Alsop♦ Oct 18 '14 at 15:09
Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
I would advise to start with Comptia Security Plus after you gain some information security experience you can opt for C|EH or advanced certifications like CISSP/CISA/CISM (Sans - Intermediate and above Certs). Sec+ ->CEH->CISSP/CISA/CISM or Sec+ ->GCIH/GCIA->CISSP/CISA/CISM
You can opt for CISSP earlier in your career by taking the CISSP and if you pass you will be Associate of (ISC)²- CISSP ).
For information security experience is of most value and no certification can replace that but at the same time you learn and practice new things while studying for these certifications.
Just check the job sites and see what employers are asking for. My opinion -- seems like for Management type positions the CISSP is favored among others. For Analysts and Techs probably any cert that includes practical working knowledge (EC Council CEH) or lab components (Sans GIAC certs). How much money you have and are willing to spend on a certification will also determine your options. If you only can afford a few hundred dollars then the CEH is good place to start. On the other hand, if you have a few thousand dollars then nothing is probably better than a Sans GIAC cert -- any of them.