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Choosing which certification to pursue isn't an easy decision. The tables that accompany this article can help. First, decide which of the three kinds of certification you want. It will probably be easiest to eliminate the training-organization sponsored ones unless you're currently enrolled in their classes. Next, decide if you want a certification that identifies you as a specialist in a particular product or technology or if you want a one that identifies you as a generalist — one who has broad experience in a wide range of security issues. If you prefer to implement technology, then see if there's a vendor-sponsored certification that matches your current skill set, or even better, the skill set you need to advance a level, then go for it. However, if you prefer to integrate multivendor solutions than one of the vendor-neutral choices will serve you better.

The three tables that accompany this article show the leading security certifications, broken down by category. The various titles show the sponsoring organization, the certification name, the certification’s goals and promises, and the requirements for getting it.

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