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There are many cybersecurity-related certifications which professionals in the industry or those looking to venture into cybersecurity can try to attain. However, what are the most relevant cybersecurity certifications to have in 2023?

Previously, we’ve detailed the recommended preparation methods for OSCP and CTF competitions which you can read more about if you’re interested. This time, we’ve interviewed Koki Adachi and Tom Ladley, who recruit and support career change for job seekers in engineering positions within the cybersecurity field, and Harris Vu, who is in charge of recruiting for sales, marketing, and other commercial positions within cybersecurity, to share about the qualifications that are useful to have when changing jobs.


Types of cybersecurity certifications

Cybersecurity-related certifications fall into three broad categories: national, public, and private (vendor).


National cybersecurity certifications

Currently, there are two national cybersecurity-related qualifications authorised by the government: Information Security Management Examination and Information Technology Security Assistants Examination.


Public cybersecurity qualifications

Public cybersecurity certifications are organised by general foundations and various associations.

Examples of cybersecurity-related public qualifications include:


Private sector (vendor) cybersecurity certifications

Private (vendor) cybersecurity certifications are sponsored by various organisations and private companies. There are certifications that are highly specialised and are applicable on a global scale, as well as certifications that are more specific towards particular companies.

Examples of cybersecurity-related private (vendor) certifications include:


Recommended cybersecurity certifications for 2023 by occupation

Based on our cybersecurity recruitment consultants' experience in supporting job seekers in their job change, here are some recommended cybersecurity certifications from the abovementioned national, public, and private (vendor) cybersecurity-related certifications.


Recommended cybersecurity certification for engineer jobs in Japan at security consulting companies

Adachi shared, “In general, not many companies require cybersecurity qualifications when changing jobs in the cybersecurity field. However, it is more likely to give you an advantage during the application screening and interview process”. As such, the CISSP and its higher certifications, CCSP, GIAC, and the White Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification are recommended for positions in security consulting firms, for jobs like security analyst, security operations and other SOC, forensic specialist, and incident response (IR).

As many companies offer half the cost for getting the certification, it is a good idea to get certified after you join the company and use it to help your next career move.


  • (ISC)²

The (ISC)² certification conducted by the U.S. organization is internationally recognised and is recommended for those who aim to become a specialist in the cybersecurity field.

CISSP is the top international certification in information security. Even after passing the certification, you are required to continue your studies and renew your certification.

SSCP is for those who develop and operate network systems that require interaction with information security specialists. It is characterised as a cybersecurity-related certification for those who do not specialise in information security.

CCSP tests knowledge of information security, especially cloud security, and requires at least five years of experience working for an IT company, at least three years of information security work experience, and at least one year of cloud security work experience.

Official website: https://japan.isc2.org/  


  • GIAC

Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) is a generic term for cybersecurity-related certifications administered by the SANS Institute. There are approximately 45 GIAC certifications, ranging from entry-level to high-level certifications in areas ranging from security to Linux and operating systems required to operate servers and other equipment.

GAIC is one of the most highly recognised cybersecurity-related certifications and is internationally recognised, making it a sought-after certification for those who wish to work in cybersecurity-related positions overseas. However, the course fee can be relatively expensive at approximately ¥67,000 per session (as of January 2023), but it is easily preferential as a valuable qualification in your job search.

Official website: https://www.sans-japan.jp/giac


  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

The CEH is an international cybersecurity certification accredited by EC-Council and is also known as a Certified White Hacker in Japanese. It is an international certification adopted by the Department of Defence that certifies knowledge and skills to fundamentally learn cyber-attack techniques and to be practically prepared to build a secure environment that can defend against such attacks.

Official website: https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-ethical-hacker-ceh/


  • CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is an international certification that tests knowledge of risk management, system design for maintaining security, and problem solving. “It requires five years of work experience in the security domain, and costs ¥80,000. It is also one of the most common certifications for beginners in the security industry,” says Ladley.

CompTIA Security+ is a practical skills certification that can be applied to a variety of roles, including security administrator, system administrator, security engineer/analyst, help desk manager/analyst, network/cloud engineer, IT auditor, and IT project manager. It applies to a variety of job roles and is recognized by many companies and organizations.

Official website: https://www.comptia.org/certifications/security


Recommended cybersecurity certification for engineer jobs in Japan at security vendors

Adachi mentioned, “When considering a career change to a security vendor, I recommend acquiring a networking certification. Specifically, it's a good idea to have a Cisco technician certification such as CCNT or CCNA, or a Juniper Networks certification such as JNCIA”.


  • Cisco technician certification

The Cisco technician certification, sponsored by Cisco Systems, offers a variety of exams for engineers. The four recommended certifications for those within information security are CCENT, CCNA Security, CCNP Security, and CCIE Security.

  • CCENT is an exam that tests basic knowledge of networking.
  • CCNA security is a higher level certification of CCENT. It tests the knowledge required to protect the network.
  • CCNP security is an even higher level certification than CCNA Security. It tests the knowledge required to build a network environment and troubleshoot problems.
  • CCIE security is another higher level certification compared to CCNP security. It is internationally recognised as an advanced certification in the field of information security, and has a very high level of difficulty.

Official website: https://www.cisco.com/c/ja_jp/training-events/training-certifications/certifications.html


  • Juniper Networks Certification Programme (JNCP)

Juniper Networks Certification Programme (JNCP) certifies skills related to Juniper Networks equipment. Although not very well-known in Japan as of yet, this certification is especially recommended for those seeking employment as a network engineer or in other cybersecurity-related positions overseas.

Juniper Networks certifications can be broadly classified into the following four categories: entry-level JNCIA (Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate); JNCIS (Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist); JNCIP (Juniper Networks Certified Internet Professional); JNCIE (Juniper Networks Certified Internet Expert).

Official website: https://www.juniper.net/jp/ja/training/certification.html


Recommended cybersecurity certification for endpoint security jobs in Japan

Adachi added, “As basic knowledge of IT is required at the very least, beginners in particular are recommended to take national certifications such as the Information Security Management Examination or the Information Processing Security Assurance Support Professionals Examination”.


  • Information security management examination

The information security management examination is a national cybersecurity certification administered by the Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA), and tests basic knowledge of information security measures as well as how to respond to problems. Although the exam is designed for management of information security, it is relatively basic among cybersecurity-related certifications and therefore has a high pass rate, averaging about 50% in the past, making it an easier qualification to have for those who aim to become engineers.

Official website: https://www.jitec.ipa.go.jp/1_11seido/sg.html


  • Information technology security assistants professionals examination

Information technology security assistance professionals examination is administered by the Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA), and requires high skills and knowledge in information management, information security management, and ensuring cybersecurity in the planning, design, and operation of information systems.

Official website: https://www.jitec.ipa.go.jp/1_11seido/sc.html


Recommended cybersecurity certification for sales and marketing jobs in Japan

“In sales and marketing jobs within cybersecurity, it is not necessary to possess cybersecurity-related certifications. But if you are interested in working within the cybersecurity field in the future, you may want to try acquiring the aforementioned cybersecurity-related certifications. If you are looking for a new job in Japan, brushing up on your knowledge on the products of cybersecurity companies that you want to apply to will give you an edge in the interview process,” says Vu.

He added, “However, if you have been with Cisco, AWS, or Microsoft, or are considering a career change at one of these companies, it’ll be good to have the Cisco technician certification, AWS certified security, Microsoft Azure security technologies, and Microsoft Certified: Azure security engineer associate”.


  • AWS certified security

The AWS certified security is an international certification for security professionals with a minimum of two years of practical experience protecting AWS workload.

The exam tests specialised data classification and protection, implementation of data encryption methods in AWS, working knowledge of AWS security and mechanisms such as the implementation of secure internet protocols in AWS, and an understanding of security operations and risks. Especially for SIers who want to take on projects that deal with AWS, being certified will give companies a great sense of security and will be advantageous to you.

Official website: https://aws.amazon.com/jp/certification/certified-security-specialty/


Microsoft Azure security technologies

Microsoft Azure security technologies is a cybersecurity-related certification sponsored by Microsoft. Like AWS, this certification is recommended for SIers who want to work on Azure projects.

Official website: https://docs.microsoft.com/ja-jp/learn/certifications/exams/az-500


Microsoft Certified: Azure security engineer associate

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate is a higher level of certification than Microsoft Azure security technologies. It requires expertise in managing identity and access for security control and protection from threats, as well as creating secure environments such as end-to-end connecting cloud and on-premises.

Official website: https://docs.microsoft.com/ja-jp/learn/certifications/azure-security-engineer/


Cybersecurity and information security-related certifications are rarely considered a prerequisite for changing jobs, but in many cases, they can be advantageous during interviews. If you are currently considering a career change to a position related to information security, or if you are already working in a cybersecurity-related position and are aiming for future career advancement, we recommend that you first aim to acquire the appropriate certifications.


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