Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.
UPDATED: We updated this post on September 22, 2017, to reflect relevant changes to the Certified Ethical Hacker certification curriculum.
The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification has gained popularity as the ever-growing threat of security breaches looms large in the minds of IT managers, CIOs, and industry insiders. As such, there is a trend in the industry of employers seeking IT professionals with experience and expertise in preventing security failures.
The CEH certification affirms learners’ skills and abilities to penetrate networks and/or computer systems in order to expose security weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and points of failure.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) v9
Certified Ethical Hacker is an intermediate-level certification designed to validate learners’ ability to determine if vulnerabilities exist within one’s computer and/or network, and undertake preventative, corrective, and protective countermeasures before an actual compromise of the system occurs.
The CEH is made up of just one exam, which is covered by the CBT Nuggets training, EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v9.0. It is important to note that learners pursuing self-study, such as that offered by CBT Nuggets, must apply for exam eligibility and demonstrate a minimum of two (2) years of work experience in security.
Because the CEH is an intermediate-level certification, learners typically should have 2-5 years of experience in security, or a security-related field, and familiarity with Windows (all versions, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003). While it is not required, familiarity with Linux is strongly recommended. Familiarity with basic networking also is recommended.
Downloadable Study Plan
CBT Nuggets offers a study plan that maps to the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v9.0 course. This downloadable EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v9.0 study plan breaks down the course and supplemental learning resources to equip learners with a strategic and manageable approach to conquer their training goals. Download the EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker v9.0 study plan.
The CEH exam is offered through the EC-Council or through Pearson VUE. As previously noted, it is critical that learners understand that they must apply for eligibility for the exam before an attempt can be made.
Time allotted for exam: 4 hours (240 minutes)
Number of questions: 125
Passing score: 70%
Question types: Multiple choice
Exam registration: Pearson Vue
Exam cost: $950 (USD) for an exam voucher; $100 (USD) for the exam eligibility fee
Exam Blueprint: CEH Exam Blueprint v2.0
The CEH certification is valid for three years. You can recertify by passing another EC-Council certification, or by pursuing approved continuing education (ECE) opportunities including attending conferences, writing research papers, reading materials on related subject matters, attending webinars, etc. ECE credits are earned on an annual basis between January 1 and December 31; learners must pay an annual membership fee and register their ECE credits by February 1 of the following year to maintain their certification status.
The Next Step
For learners seeking additional certification(s) with the EC-Council, most typically, the next step is to pursue the EC-Council Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) certification. However, many learners choose to diversify their certification resumes by earning other security-related certifications. Learners often choose:
Payscale.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the CEH. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds a CEH can earn between $50,255 and $126,885. Roles that are common for those holding a CEH include information security analyst, security engineer, security analyst, penetration tester, and information security manager.
The Certified Ethical Hacker certification meets the requirements for DOD 8750 and/or DOD 8140 baseline certifications for CSSP Analyst, CSSP Infrastructure Support, CSSP Incident Responder, CSSP Auditor, and CSSP Manager, qualifying learners for Department of Defense jobs and contract work for the U.S. federal government.
The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) is a member-supported professional organization that developed, and provides, the Certified Ethical Hacker certification, among others, all of which focus on critical security issues. The EC-Council offers a variety of certifications, which fall into several categories:
Security Awareness Certification:
EC-Council also offers a variety of degree programs through their online university.
While there is no formal hierarchy for EC-Council certifications, some are intended for advanced learners with more professional experience. The most popular certification offered by the EC-Council is Certified Ethical Hacker.
The CEH is a certification that is proving to be quite valuable in an industry where security threats are increasing. IT professionals can set themselves apart with the CEH and prove they have the knowledge and ability to thwart security breaches effectively, efficiently, and ethically. The CEH certification creates opportunities for learners to continue to advance their IT security careers and take on exciting new professional challenges.
Watch. Learn. Conquer the CEH!
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