Navigating the Career Path: CND vs. Other Cybersecurity Certifications

February 1, 2024

The cybersecurity industry has recently undergone rapid growth and global-level expansion like no other sector, estimated to grow from $190.5 billion in 2023 to $208.8 billion by 2024. The growing adoption of Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), and automation is igniting a surge in cyber threats. 

With their presence growing online, organizations have put forth an increased demand for cybersecurity experts. But with industry-recognized certifications, as they validate the candidate's expertise in handling cyber challenges. The Certified Network Defender (CND) stands out among other cybersecurity certifications as it is designed for handling, managing, and protecting IT infrastructures and network security.

Read along to know how CND compares to other certifications and why it should be chosen as a career path.


Understanding the Certified Network Defender (CND)

CND is a comprehensive cybersecurity training program covering topics such as security protocols, incident response, Business Continuity (BC), forensic investigation, Disaster Recovery (DR), and mobile, IoT, wireless network, cloud, and end-point security. It equips individuals with extensive cybersecurity knowledge and applicable skills to protect and defend organization's IT infrastructure. 

With increased sophisticated cybercrimes, the demand for certified network defenders has spiked in recent years. CND prepares individuals with expertise to counteract modern-day and tech-advanced attacks such as malware, phishing, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), XXS, zero-day exploits, Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), and others. Hence, with a CND certification, you can come to the forefront of cyber resilience and digital ecosystem protection for your organization.


CND vs Other Cyber and Network Security Certifications: A Brief Comparison

In the vast landscape of cybersecurity certifications, understanding the distinctions between various programs is essential for professionals as well as fresh graduates seeking to bolster their expertise. When comparing CND with other cyber and network security certifications, they should consider some requisites such as career path choice, previously attained skills, and industry demands. 

Next is a brief comparison of CND with other cyber and network security certifications for beginners and professionals to help you make informed career decisions.

1. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Offered by the EC-Council, CEH specializes in ethical hacking and penetration testing. While both CEH and CND share common ground in ethical hacking practices, the latter uniquely focuses on network defense. Organizations desiring to check the security of their IT infrastructures and intrusion threats hire ethical hackers to mimic cyberattacks. 

However, professionals seeking network expertise may find CND more aligned with their career goals. It not only caters to a broader audience on the verge of falling victim to malicious incidents but enables candidates to uphold resilience for industries from diverse domains.  


2.    CompTIA Security+

Recognized as an entry-level certification, CompTIA Security+ offers a comprehensive overview of various cybersecurity aspects. It serves as an excellent starting point for professionals aiming to build a foundational understanding of security concepts. However, compared to CND, which specializes in network defense, Security+ provides a broader scope. 

Professionals seeking a general understanding of cybersecurity may opt for CompTIA Security+, while those desiring in-depth knowledge of network-specific defenses may lean towards the CND certification.


3.    Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Positioned at a high level, CISSP is tailored for individuals aspiring to leadership and management roles in cybersecurity. Covering a wide array of domains, including governance, risk management, and legal compliance, CISSP is suitable for those aiming to shape organizational security strategies. 

In contrast, CND is best suitable for individuals concentrating on network-specific security roles focused on security protocols, incident response, Business Continuity (BC), forensic investigation, Disaster Recovery (DR), and other domains.


4.    Certified Incident Handler (ECIH)

The Certified Incident Handler (ECIH) certification includes building expertise in incident response and handling. It equips professionals with the skills necessary to identify, respond to, and mitigate security intrusions effectively. ECIH is the right choice for individuals focusing specifically on incident response roles within the cybersecurity landscape. 

However, ECIH's scope is narrower than CND, encompassing a broader spectrum covering comprehensive topics such as network protection, security protocols, and incident response skills. This certification is ideal for individuals dedicated to mastering network and IT infrastructure defense against evolving cyber threats.


5.    Certified CyberOps Associate

This certification is designed to provide individuals with foundational knowledge in cybersecurity operations. It covers key areas such as security monitoring, analysis, and response. Certified CyberOps associate is well-suited for those aiming to understand the core principles of cybersecurity operations within an IT environment. While it offers a comprehensive overview, it may not emphasize network-specific defenses as extensively as CND. 

CND ensures a thorough understanding of security measures specifically tailored for IT environments, making it a suitable choice for those aiming to specialize in network defense within the cybersecurity domain.


Unable to Choose the Right Career? Consider these Factors

As of January 17, 2024, the average salary of a CND was recorded to be $2,348/week or $10,175/month, becoming a handsome annual income of $122,108. When it comes to choosing the career path in the massively expanding cybersecurity industry, you should consider some main factors. Next are the requisites that will help you make the right decision. 

●   Career Preference

The first in line should be the question where do you want to see yourself in terms of a career? As soon as you figure out the answer, it will be easier to choose the right career path. As cybersecurity is a vast domain industry, there will be a multitude of opportunities at your disposal. If network defense is what clicks your attention and desire, CND certification will be the accurate decision. 

●   Skill Level

Desire is not what will solely get you started towards a well-compensated career; your skills should also suit the choice. Some certifications are better suited for beginners, while others target more seasoned professionals. Choose wisely!

●   Industry Demand

A thorough research further adds to the clarity of choosing a promising career in cybersecurity. Search for industry demands, certification requirements, and skills enhancement opportunities to outperform in the job market. 

●   Cost and Time Commitment

Evaluate the cost and time required to obtain each certification. Some certifications may require more extensive preparation and investment than others.


Concluding Remarks

Choosing the right career path in cybersecurity can be tricky and cumbersome due to the vastly expanding nature of this industry. Given the severity of modern-day external threats, there is a noticeable increase in demand for certified network defenders. With several other cybersecurity certifications available, CND stands out as the most high-in-demand specialization as organizations embracing digitization require robust, efficient, and proactive IT ecosystems. Hence, EC-Council’s certified network defender program is best suitable for individuals seeking employment in any of the cybersecurity domains.


Where Does Ferro Technics Steps in?

With almost a decade of experience in IT security, network, and infrastructure certifications, Ferro Technics has earned its name as an emerging leader in the IT industry. Being an accredited training partner of EC-Council, we offer extensive knowledge and advanced tech-driven network defense skill building to both beginners and professionals. Whether you are eager to enter the cybersecurity landscape or already holding a position, our CND training program will validate your expertise.

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