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A career path in the IT security department is very promising for its lucrative average yearly salary. So if you are looking forward to it, you may be considering a penetration certification test to gain knowledge as well as secure your dream job. The most common certifications are CEH and GPEN. So the important question is, which one to take?

Comparing CEH and GPEN, most organizations prioritize GPEN over CEH as it is a more challenging test with an in-depth syllabus. CEH, on the other hand, is a cheaper test and the only one accepted in various federal and military organizations.

Besides working as an IT security auditor, CEH or GPEN certification is also a must-have for computer forensic investigators and ethical hackers. I will go through the CEH and GPEN certifications in detail, and compare their advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, study time and acceptability in the job sector.

CEH Certification

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is an IT security qualification. The Certificate atemptee must take a test where they have to demonstrate knowledge of assessing the security of computer systems.

The CEH test contains sets of multiple-choice questions, and thus fails to test the skills of the test candidates. The CEH certificate candidates use the same knowledge as a hacker, but in a legal way to check the security posture of a target system.

Who Should Take The CEH Certification Exam

The CEH certification exam is mainly designed for ethical hackers. This certificate focuses on hacking methods, tools and knowledge. The main belief is that to stop a hacker, one must learn to think like a hacker.

Since CEH was a pioneer in penetration testing certification, it is still widely popular globally. Besides, the federal IT sector jobs prefer CEH certification. So you should consider CEH if you are looking forward to learning ethical hacking at the beginner level. 

How To Take The CEH Certification Exam?

The CEH Certificate exam is offered by the EC-Council Exams. The exam is 4 hours long and is provided in multiple forms. Based on the exam form of each set, the passing score ranges from 60% to 85%.

The study materials and practice tests are found on the EC-Council website. The CEH Certificate exam registration fee starts at only $99.

CEH Course Materials

The CEH Certificate holders must go through twenty-four hacking challenges across four levels of complexity which cover eighteen different attack vectors. The twenty course topics covered are:

  1. Introduction to Ethical Hacking
  2. Foot-printing and Reconnaissance
  3. Scanning Networks
  4. Enumeration
  5. Vulnerability Analysis
  6. System Hacking
  7. Malware Threats
  8. Sniffing
  9. Social Engineering
  10. Denial-of-Service
  11. Session Hijacking
  12. Evading IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots
  13. Hacking Web Servers
  14. Hacking Web Applications
  15. SQL Injection
  16. Hacking Wireless Networks
  17. Hacking Mobile Platforms
  18. IoT and OT Hacking
  19. Cloud Computing
  20. Cryptography

You can take the CEH certificate test after taking an authorized course. Passing the test will give you the CEH Certificate and membership privileges in the EC-Council. Candidates can attempt both the CEH and CEH (Practical) certifications and be designated as CEH Masters. This validates both the educational and skillful abilities.

GPEN Certification

The GIAC® Penetration Tester (GPEN) is created and administered by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). It is an internationally recognized vendor-neutral certification. The GPEN Certificate validates advanced-level penetration testing skills.

Who Should Take The GPEN Certification Exam

GPEN is designed for any IT security personnel as well as ethical hackers whose work includes targeting networks to find security vulnerabilities. Besides, GPEN offers knowledge about conducting penetration tests, their legal issues and the technical and non-technical aspects of penetration testing.

So IT security auditors, computer forensic investigators, incident responders, and ethical hackers can benefit from the GPEN certification.

How To Take The GPEN Certification Exam

Successfully passing the GPEN testing with a minimum of 75% scores, the exam candidate can obtain the GPEN Certification. There are no specific prerequisites to apply for the GPEN certificate test.

GPEN Certification attempts should be registered on the GIAC website. The test fee is $1699. Along with the fee, the candidate has to fill up an online application form. Before the exam, you can take training courses and mock tests.

The GPEN certification must be renewed after four years in order to keep up with the ever-changing field of cybersecurity.

GPEN Course Materials

The GPEN Certification covers sixteen outcome statements. That is, the certification test covers sixteen topics:

  1. Advanced password attacks
  2. Attacking password hashes
  3. Exploitation fundamentals
  4. Initial target scanning
  5. Metasploit
  6. Moving files with exploits
  7. Password attacks
  8. Pentesting foundations
  9. Pentesting process
  10. Pentesting using PowerShell
  11. Penetration testing using the Windows command line
  12. Reconnaissance
  13. Scanning for targets
  14. Vulnerability scanning
  15. Web application attacks
  16. Web application reconnaissance

Test candidates should have a strong knowledge and skills that are taught within these topics to pass the exam.

Advantages Of GPEN

The career prospects of cybersecurity professionals looks promising given the rise in internet use in various institutions. There has thus been a rise in the need for information security.

The jobs for information security analyst and penetration tester have been increasing and the promotions are also becoming more frequent.

GPEN Certification is a must for securing most of these jobs. Those already working in these fields can get a promotion by gaining the GPEN certificate. GPEN certificate holders can also further take the research based GPXN certification test.

Most IT companies throughout the country accept GPEN certificates because of its intensive study material and a detailed testing procedure. 

CEH Vs. GPEN: Which Is Better?

Now that we have looked through the specific features of CEH and GPEN separately, let’s compare them to help you decide which one to take.

Study LevelBeginner Intermediate
Cost $99+$1699+
Materials Covered20 outcomes16 outcomes
Test ProcedureMultiple Choice QuestionsMix of knowledge and skill based
Course TaughtEC-CouncilThird-party websites
AcceptanceGovernment and Military All sectors

So CEH is the right choice only when you are a CEH Master and are looking for a government job. The GPEN certification can bring in job offers in any IT security sector since it is seen as a more competitive and intensive evaluation than the CEH.

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