As cyberthreats continue to make daily headlines, the need for security experts is at an all-time high. Yet talent is scarce. Research shows the cybersecurity workforce needs an influx of 2.7 million professionals to meet global demand. Near limitless job opportunities are wide open to problem-solvers with an analytical mindset.

How can you start your career in cybersecurity? Working cybersecurity professionals agree, certification is the most important way for career pursuers to enter the field. But with so many cybersecurity certifications out there, how do you choose the one that will help you break into the field and help lead you to long-term career success? Let’s compare two entry-level options: ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity℠ and ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals.

What is the focus of each?

As the true entry point to career excellence, Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) proves to employers that you have the foundational and practical knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for a beginning role in cybersecurity. It demonstrates to employers that you understand fundamental security principles and operations, risk management, network security and access controls, and how they relate to an organization’s operations. With CC, they’re reassured you have the skills to meet and exceed performance standards in a beginning or junior-level role.

Cybersecurity Fundamentals focuses on the principles of data and technologies that frame and define cybersecurity, its language and the role of cyber professionals in protecting enterprise data and infrastructure.

Certification vs. certificate: what are the distinctions?

Certified in Cybersecurity is a certification. A certification recognizes a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities, typically framed by a job role. It often requires continuing professional education (CPE) to stay in front of trends.

Cybersecurity Fundamentals is a certificate. A certificate’s scope documents training course completion. A certificate does not require CPE credits to maintain.

What level of professional experience is required?

For Certified in Cybersecurity, no work experience in cybersecurity or formal education is required. The certification is recommended for IT professionals, career changers, college students and recent graduates.

What distinguishes Certified in Cybersecurity from Cybersecurity Fundamentals?

Certified in Cybersecurity starts newcomers on their path to advanced cybersecurity certifications and future leadership roles. It introduces candidates to the field within the world’s most recognized portfolio of information security credentials. You’ll start your professional journey on track toward earning world-class ISC2 expert-level certifications, including the CISSP, the global gold standard and most-required security credential by hiring managers searching for candidates on LinkedIn.

In addition, upon certification, you’ll become a member of ISC2, cybersecurity’s leading professional organization, gaining you access to these key benefits and more:

  • Community of professionals – You’ll be part of a network of more than 365,000 cybersecurity experts around the world.
  • Job offers and advancement – You’ll demonstrate the solid foundation of cybersecurity knowledge employers are looking for, from an association they trust.
  • Ongoing professional development – You’ll advance in your career path with the most current continuing education and other exclusive ISC2 learning opportunities. Save with discounts on training, industry events, webinars, publications and more.

What content are candidates tested on?

The Certified in Cybersecurity exam covers the following domains and topics:

  1. Security Principles (26%)
  2. Business Continuity (BC), Disaster Recovery (DR) & Incident Response Concepts (10%)
  3. Access Controls Concepts (22%)
  4. Network Security (24%)
  5. Security Operations (18%)

The Cybersecurity Fundamentals exam covers the following domains and topics:

  1. Securing Assets (35%)
  2. Information Security Fundamentals (27%)
  3. Information Security Fundamentals (27%)
  4. Threat Landscape (18%)

Comparing the Exams


ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity

ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Length of Exam

120 minutes/100 multiple-choice questions

120 minutes/75 multiple-choice and performance-based questions

Passing Score




U.S. $0 – Self-Paced Training + Exam
U.S. $199 – Self-Paced Training + Exam + Extras
U.S. $804 – Live Online Training + Exam + Extras

U.S. $150 – Non-Member
U.S. $120 – Member
Click here for full details

Annual Maintenance Fee

U.S. $50


CPE Credits Required

45 credits over 3 years


Testing Provider

Pearson VUE Testing Centers

PSI Test Centers and Remote Proctoring

What training is available from ISC2 and ISACA?
Certified in Cybersecurity exam prep options include online instructor-led training, online self-paced training and classroom-based training. What makes the exam prep so unique from other entry-level trainings is the attainability of knowledge and skills for individuals with no technical background. For career changers, it provides business use-case scenarios that incorporate technical jargon to facilitate the application of cybersecurity technology to real-world business practices.

Cybersecurity Fundamentals exam prep options include a self-guided online course, a lab package and a study guide.

What is the ISC2 One Million Certified in Cybersecurity initiative?
As part of its commitment to help close the workforce gap, the new ISC2 global initiative, One Million Certified in Cybersecurity, is providing a path for more entrants into the field by offering free entry-level Certified in Cybersecurity Online Self-Paced Training and exams to the first million people.

To encourage diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce, ISC2 will work closely with new and existing partner organizations as part of this program to reach populations underrepresented in cybersecurity. Half of the commitment – 500,000 course enrollments and exams – is pledged to this effort. Learn More

How ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Can Help You
Learn more about how ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity opens the way to an exciting and rewarding career, enabling you to build confidence and enter your first role prepared for what's next.

Take the next step by downloading your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Certified in Cybersecurity: The Entry-Level Certification for Tomorrow's Cybersecurity Leaders.

Get Your Guide