NOTE: This article has been updated with the February 24, 2020 CCNP Security updates and the most recent name and curriculum changes to the CCNA CyberOps certification, now known as the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification. Cisco will replace the 210-252 SECFND and 215-255 SECOPS exams with the 200-201 CBROPS exam.
Many consider the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate to be a great starting point in cyber security professionals. It provides enough basic concepts, such as cryptography and Security Operations Center basics. This cert doesn’t require any prerequisites.
Then why not consider earning Cisco CCNP Security certification instead? It’s not a comparable comparison to the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate. First, CCNP certifications require more advanced skills and have traditionally required candidates to pass the CCNP exam. This is changing soon though. More on this later.
Let’s take a closer at each certification and discuss why we choose one over the other.
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Start trainingCisco Certified CyOps Associate: The Pros and Cons
The Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate is a good choice for anyone looking to get into cybersecurity. Although it covers the most important concepts of Cisco hardware and software, it doesn’t go into too much detail. Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate teaches you security operations and is a great way to get a junior analyst position in a SOC.
There are no prerequisites to take the CyberOps path. You can instead skip the 210-250 SECFND security fundamentals exam. This exam focuses more on security technologies like host-based intrusion prevention and monitoring systems.
The second exam (210-255 SECOPS) focuses on computer forensics. It teaches candidates how they can correlate data with suspicious activities and identify signs of an attack. It also covers incident response and handling skills and prepares candidates to take on cybersecurity-related roles.
The new, simplified 200-201 CBROPS exam will go live on May 29, 2020. The 200-201 CBROPS exam merges the two 90-minute exams into a single 120-minute exam that focuses more on security concepts and analysis. Although the exam objectives covering networking fundamentals have been dropped from the new exam, you can expect to need to be well versed in these topics for any Cisco exam. This is especially true for network security certifications.
It is important to note that the CyberOps Associate certification can only be used once. This means that you cannot go further with this particular security track. If you intend to use the certification as leverage to further your education, it could prove to be a dead end.
This cert will help you develop the mindset that you need to be a cybersecurity professional. If you’re just starting out, it’s a great choice.
Cisco CCNP Security: The Pros and Cons
Cisco is reorganizing its certification program in February, if you haven’t already heard. We have all the details here. The CCNP Security certification has been restructured so that you can take it (300-701 SCOR) without any prior certification. This is huge.
It took a lot longer to become CCNP territory than it did in the past because you had to pass several levels of CCNA exams. After passing the exam, you can choose to specialize. This allows you to concentrate on a specific area of security that will help you take your career to the next level.
Find out where you want to go
It is one thing to know about certifications, but what does it do for you? You should find certifications enjoyable and challenging.