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Dave Smith
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Enterprise Security Essentials FAQs: Cost, Training, Value

Is the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) worth it?

Yes, the GSEC is a highly credible security credential from one of the world's most reputable professional organizations for cybersecurity training and certification. Preparing for the GSEC will expand your knowledge and skills of cybersecurity. Earning the cert will prove your commitment to staying current with evolving security threats. The GSEC is a globally recognized validation of network security, cryptography and risk management skills, earning it is a strong career move.

How much does the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) cost?

According to the GIAC website as of December 2023, The GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) exam costs $979. All GIAC exams cost $979 for the first attempt except for their Applied Knowledge certifications, which are a category of more narrowly specialized certs. If you fail on your first attempt, it costs $879 to retry the exam, so you're much better off investing in training and passing the exam on your first try.

How hard is the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) exam?

Many people call the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) exam exam one of the hardest cybersecurity exams they've ever taken. The test perfectly captures the idea of being a mile wide and an inch deep. The immense breadth of the GSEC exam means two things: passing it takes a level of familiarity with nearly every aspect of security, and cramming for it in a short time is nearly impossible.

Does the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) expire?

The GSEC certification is good for four years from the date you earn it and you can begin the process of renewing your GSEC two years after you earn it. Renewing the GSEC costs $479 and requires some sort of renewal activity. The GIAC website lists many different options for earning renewal credits, like taking specialized GIAC training, earning a new certification, participating in community events, and more.

Is the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) good for beginners?

The GSEC certification is a good credential for new cybersecurity professionals, but the topics are probably too specialized and specific for brand new or inexperienced IT professionals. Although the GSEC covers cybersecurity topics like incident handling and response, cryptography and loss prevention, it also dives deep into Windows, Linux and cloud management and administration. A good foundation in IT knowledge and experience is important before attempting the GSEC.
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