The Ultimate Study Guide for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam

The Ultimate Study Guide for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam

Let’s be honest, no one likes studying. No matter the subject, it’s tempting to procrastinate. After all, some tests you can take on an hour of sleep and two cans of Red Bull. Unfortunately, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is not one of them.

Given the ever-growing importance of cyber security, maybe it’s no surprise that the CEH is rated as one of the hardest exams in the IT world. A four-hour long affair that costs $950 or more, it’s not something you want to do more than once. That means studying smart is everything if you want to learn how to ethically hack.

Fortunately, there’s no need to go it alone. We’ve prepared a list of resources and handy advice so you can pass with flying colors.

Exam Overview

“To beat a hacker, you need to think like a hacker.”
—EC-Council on CEH

The Certified Ethical Hacker is a vendor-neutral certification focused on cyber security and penetration testing. Its goal is to certify that a professional is able to identify weakness and vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could exploit. In ethical hacking or, “white hat,” hacking, this information is used to help an organization strengthen its defenses.

Here’s the lowdown on the test.

The purpose of the CEH credential is to:

  • Establish and govern minimum standards for credentialing professional information security specialists in ethical hacking measures.
  • Inform the public that credentialed individuals meet or exceed the minimum standards.
  • Reinforce ethical hacking as a unique and self-regulating profession.

If you’re not sure if you want to get your CISSP or CEH, check out our blog on 5 Essential IT Certifications for Cyber Security Jobs.

CEH Exam Quick Facts

  • Exam Voucher Cost: $950 – $1,199 (this is the Certified Ethical Hacker certification price)
  • Number of Questions: 125
  • Duration: Four hours
  • Format: Multiple choice
  • Test Delivery: ECC EXAM, VUE

Source: EC-Council

Though it may seem pricey, CEH-certified individuals make an average salary of $90,000 per year and as much as $126,381. With earning potential like that, the investment is well worth it.

CEH Prerequisites

The CEH program requires the candidate to have two years of work experience in the Information Security domain and should be able to provide a proof of the same as validated through the application process unless the candidate attends official training. If a candidate has completed official EC-Council training either at an Accredited Training Center, via the iClass platform, or at an approved academic institution, the candidate is eligible to attempt the relevant EC-Council exam without going through the application process. LeaderQuest is an Accredited EC-Council Training Center

Free Resources

Of course, everybody wants free hacker training! Fortunately, the EC-Council provides a variety of free resources to get you started. Begin by heading over to the CEH assessment which provides 50 questions that will give you an idea of how prepared you are to dive in. It’ll help you gauge what needs the most attention.

Next, the EC-Council’s comprehensive exam blueprint dives deep into which subjects will be covered in the text, how they are weighted, and even how many questions will be devoted to each topic. Going one step further, the EC-Council CEH Candidate Handbook v2.2 covers not only the nitty-gritty details, but also lays out a CEH career path, discusses the application process, and even outlines a strict code of ethics that white hat hackers must follow.

If you need to study on-the-go, this free EC-Council CEH™ v9 Exam Prep (which includes some in-app purchases) provides you with 600 practice questions over seven different subjects. It’s available for iPhone, Android, and through Amazon. It’s perfect for Certified Ethical Hacker online training.

Lastly, it’s important to stay in the mindset of a hacker and the EC-Council white papers are a great way to do that including the 10 Deadly Sins in Virtualization Security and 5 phases every hacker must follow.

Best Textbooks

Internet resources are great, but they can only take you so far. At some point, putting money into your CEH study is a wise choice. Here are the most highly-rated textbooks and what you can expect to learn from them.

Study with an Expert

No matter how hard you study alone, there’s bound to be gaps. If you’ve hit a wall in your studying, or are worried you’re missing key information that will help you pass, don’t go through it alone. At LeaderQuest, we offer a 5-day Certified Ethical Hacker training course taught by industry expert instructors. They know what they’re talking about because they’ve been there and had years of real experience. They’re ready to help you get certified while also preparing you for the real-life challenges you’ll face during your cyber security career.

LeaderQuest classes come with a CEH VUE exam voucher (value $1,199) and an opportunity to take the test at our onsite location. That way, you don’t have to stress about the details and can focus on passing. You also won’t have to pay the $100 eligibility application fee for self-study students. If you ever feel like you need a refresher, we offer free class resits to all our graduates.

No matter what your schedule, we can work with you. Our classes are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night. We will work with your schedule to get you certified and strengthen your earning potential.

Don’t tear your hair out studying for your Certified Ethical Hacker. Train with the experts at LeaderQuest and kick your cyber security career up a notch. Ethical hacking jobs are out there waiting for you! Give us a call today.

Contact Us!

12 Pros and Cons of Working for a Defense Contractor

12 Pros and Cons of Working for a Defense Contractor

Have you considered working for a defense contractor? Some of the largest defense contractors in the world are located in the United States! There are a lot of benefits to working in this industry, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. Below, we take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of private defense contractor jobs so that you can make a decision with all of the information you need.

Pros

1. Great Pay

Because of Directive 8570 (and 8140), those who work with secure information need certain baseline certifications such as Security+ to even start working. That means that defense contractors need these certified individuals to meet the requirements of their contracts, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for this kind of talent. It pays to get certified!

2. Put Your Security Clearance to Work

If you have an active security clearance, or have had one recently, you’ll be able to command higher pay from defense contractors. In fact, contractors with a security clearance earned $15,000 more than their government coworkers on average. And demand for these workers is only increasing as the US comes to terms with the dangers of cyber warfare and a crippling cyber security talent shortage. Your defense contractor salary could easily be as much as $83,000 for a Network Security Administrator, but even entry level defense contractor jobs can pay handsomely.

3. Good Education Benefits

Many defense contractors provide ample education benefits to keep their workers certified and compliant. Taking advantage of these benefits can help you build your career at an impressive pace as you continue to add new certifications to your resume.

While this is a common practice, be sure to examine your company’s policies, as many require that the employee continue to work for the company for a number of months after completing their class. You’ll want to plan ahead to make sure your timeline matches up perfectly.

4. Doing Work That Matters

By working in the defense industry, you could be protecting American cyberspace or creating the next generation of defense technology. The defense industry supports our military and the important work it does all over the world.

In recent years, it’s become clear how vulnerable companies and governments are to cyber attacks that can cripple infrastructure or steal valuable data. The defenses that we build today will safeguard us against cyber terror for years to come.

5. Working with Cutting-Edge Technology

The defense industry uses brand new technology that you can’t get access to anywhere else. While you may not want to live the life of a contractor forever, your time spent working with DoD contractors will give you irreplaceable experience.

Did you know that the internet was created by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency? This is just one example of how defense technology eventually gets adopted for civilian uses. By working with the defense industry, you can use these technologies before they go mainstream!

6. Equal Pay for Everybody

The US Government mandates that all workers with a given position receive the same pay. This means that you can’t get paid less for being too old or too young, or for being a minority or a woman. If you get the job, you’ll get paid the same amount as everybody else in that job.

7. Work with Interesting People

Those who work for defense contractors come from diverse backgrounds. Many of them have had experience working in the armed forces and could tell you a story or two. Others have been studying and working with cutting-edge technology for years. If you want to surround yourself with people who are capable and smart, look no further.

Cons

8. Your Job Depends on Government Funding

The US Government is no slouch when it comes to defense spending, but that doesn’t mean your job has perfect security. As administrations change or national priorities shift, you could find that what you’re working on has been defunded. The company you work for may switch you to a different project, or all of your positions might be liquidated.

On the other hand, no industry offers 100% job security, and the skills and experience you gain will still hold their value.

9. Projects May Change at the Whim of the Administration

Similar to the point above, you may find that the project you’ve devoted all of your blood, sweat, and tears to is no longer a priority for the administration. This could be caused by political differences, changing national priorities, or external factors such as cost or economic shifts.

While your project might not be outright defunded, its focus could be altered to suit the changing winds. Work that had been completed might be scrapped or repurposed. For most, this kind of change might be stressful but would still be better than losing your job.

10. Your Contract May Be Purchased by Another Company

Even if your project continues to receive funding and support, it may be purchased by another company. When this happens, you might stay with your current company and be reassigned to another project, or you could get hired by the company that’s taking over the contract and be asked to stay on that project. New employees of the company taking over the project essentially have to start over and may have to negotiate pay rate and benefits.

11. You May Face More Criticism

If you work with employees of the government, you’ll find that you’re vulnerable to a lot more criticism. Government employees are protected from losing their jobs unless they really make huge mistakes. Contractors, on the other hand, are easy to fire and don’t have the same kind of security. It can be frustrating to see coworkers who’re just “going through the motions” with no problem while you get criticized for every little thing. Of course, this depends on the kind of position you have and the company you work for.

12. You’ll Need to Pass a Background Check

For many people this isn’t a big deal, but for others it may be an issue. Just know that any defense contractor will want a background check as a condition of employment. A background check may include employment, education, criminal records, credit history, motor vehicle and license record checks. You’ll probably also need to take a drug test, so keep that in mind.

Interested in Working for a Defense Contractor?

LeaderQuest can help! We offer IT certification courses to help you get your Security+, CEH, CISSP, and other certifications that can be your foot in the door to get hired by a defense contractor. Our courses take 5-10 days, are taught by instructors with real industry experience, and LeaderQuest covers the cost of one certification attempt per class. After you’re certified, our Career Services team will make it their #1 goal to get you hired!

Are you ready to start training for your future?

CONTACT US

6 Tips for Women Thinking About a Career in Tech

6 Tips for Women Thinking About a Career in Tech

The IT industry has been growing at a phenomenal pace. As more companies need IT support for their devices, networks, and data, more and more roles are being created for professionals with the skills required to get the job done. For those who can commit to learning skills in computer support, networking, and cyber security, this is a huge opportunity.

However, this industry has had a hard time attracting women. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study found that in North America women make up 14% of the cyber security workforce. So how can a woman make a great career for herself in a male-dominated industry?

Check out CompTIA’s blog with 6 Tips for Women Thinking About a Career in Tech.

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When Is Getting Your Certified Network Defender (CND) Worth It?

When Is Getting Your Certified Network Defender (CND) Worth It?

When you’re looking for a way to climb the ranks in the cyber security world, it can be difficult. As a newer industry, there’s no cookie-cutter path to cyber security and qualified experts come from a variety of backgrounds.

However, one surefire way to prove yourself is through certifications which validate your skills in the eyes of an employer and let you get a foot in the door for that dream job. The EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender (CND) is one such certification, great for people who want to work on making sure an organization’s network is secure and maintained.

In this article, we’ll cover the CND certification, what it covers, how it works, and whether or not it’s the perfect move for your career.

Cyber Security Skills Gap and Certification

Before we move on to the CND, it’s important to understand why it’s relevant in this world. The answer? The cyber security skills gap. With more and more high profile hacks from Equifax to Uber, qualified professionals are in short supply.

By 2019, there will be a global shortage of two million cyber professionals, according to the nonprofit ISACA. Meanwhile, CyberSeek estimates that around 240,000 information security analysts and other cyber roles go unfilled every year.

That’s where IT cyber security certifications come in. For professionals who already know their way around a computer and are ready to help fight the bad guys, certifications give them a chance to prove those skills quickly and get to work.

But not all certifications are created equal. So where does the Certified Network Defender come in?

Why Do We Need the Certified Network Defender?

No matter what your interest in cyber security, there’s a certification out there for you. Want to get into the mind of a hacker? The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification lets you do that. More interested in collecting cyber evidence and testifying against hackers? The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) lets you do that. If you’re not sure what you want to do in cyber security, our article on different paths can help you get started.

But what about the CND? In short, it’s all about data breaches. We know them. We fear them. In fact, cyber breaches have increased 1,370% over the past 10 years. People who earn this certification come equipped with the skills to protect, detect, and respond to threats on their network.

To get more specific, the CND is great for anyone who wants to focus on the operations and processes involved in network defense, rather than the tech. Their focus is on maintaining infrastructure in a system. A day in the life of a network defender could include testing a network for weaknesses, installing security programs, evaluating/monitoring networks, and more.

For info on when this certification could be the right choice for you, check out the infographic below from the EC-Council.

CND certified

As for the process of getting certified itself, well, it’s not easy. The Certified Network Defender exam is over four hours and costs hundreds of dollars. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect . . .

  • Number of Questions: 100
  • Test Duration: 4 Hours
  • Test Format: Multiple Choice
  • Test Delivery: ECC EXAM
  • Exam Cost: $350.00

Salary Range for CND Professionals

What’s in it for you once you do get the CND? We’re glad you asked! This certification uniquely prepares you to work with networks or seek network administrator positions.

Some of the most common Certified Network Defender jobs include. . .

  • Network Security Administrators
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Network Defense Technicians
  • CND Analyst
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Operator

As for salary, the average Certified Network Defender salary is around $65,721* but could easily be much higher depending on your specialization. For a Defense Network Technician, salaries range between $70,000 and $76,000.

Meanwhile, a Network Security Engineer could make anywhere between $97,000 and $163,000 according to the Robert Half 2018 Technology & IT Salary Guide. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Certification Training at LeaderQuest

Our Certified Network Defender course is designed to help you quickly learn the skills needed to pass the exam and take on a new job role. This EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND) cyber security training program was developed as a result of extensive market research and surveys to give students a detailed understanding and the hands-on ability to act in real-life situations involving network defense. Hands-on labs, based on major network security tools and techniques, give network administrators real-world experience on current network security technologies and operations.

This cyber security training is skills-based and lab intensive. It based on a job-task analysis and the cyber security education framework presented by the National Initiative of Cybersecurity Education (NICE). The course has been mapped to global job roles and responsibilities for system and network administrators.

Get Certified and Hired!

If you want to start an exciting, in-demand, well-compensated career in network defense, Certified Network Defender training can get you there. That’s why we’re here to help you get a cyber security certification that launches your career!

We offer high-impact IT certification training designed to help you learn the material, get certified, and be prepared to start a new job role with confidence. Getting you a great new job as quickly as possible is our ultimate goal. That’s why we offer 5-10 day classes, during the day or at night, online or on campus, which you can resit as many times as needed to make sure you absorb your new skills fast.

Train with an expert instructor at LeaderQuest and start your new career with the help of our Employment Development Manager (EDM), your personal career coach who comes equipped with a host of employer connections to help you get hired fast.

Don’t wait to get your Certified Network Defender (CND) and start a great future in cyber security. Reach out today!

START A NEW CAREER IN CYBER SECURITY!

10 Pros and Cons of Being an IT Professional

10 Pros and Cons of Being an IT Professional

When you’re standing on the precipice of a new career, taking the plunge can be scary. No one likes being stuck in a job they hate, but getting out takes hard work, grit, and a little luck. You might know that IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, but deciding to make it your new career isn’t easy.

Never fear! If you’re thinking about going into information technology, we’ve prepared a list of pros and cons so you can decide for yourself if the world of tech is right for you. This list builds on research from our 2016 article but includes more stats and more considerations for IT professional jobs.

Stress & Constant Complaints vs. Great Salary & Benefits Package

Let’s not beat around the bush about the hardest part of IT. You’re interacting with people whose patience has been ground down until they’re ready to throw their computers out the window. This is especially true for the Help Desk.

What’s more, for people employed in positions such as Systems Administrators, Network Engineers, or anything cyber security related, even a small screw up can mean big problems for a company and its data. With cyber security horror stories floating around, it’s bound to be high pressure.

Fortunately, with big risk comes big rewards in terms of IT professional salary. Even for entry-level Help Desk positions, the salary midpoint is around $38,000 and can go as high as $54,000, according to the Robert Half 2018 Technology & IT Salary Guide. Again, that’s just entry-level. Systems Administrators are in huge demand with starting salaries at $67,000 that can go as high as $113,000 while Network Engineers make anywhere from $90,000 to $150,000.

The real money is in cyber security which has an unprecedented need for new professionals. More and more, companies are prioritizing people who are willing to learn quickly. Many positions garner over $100,000 with the salary for a seasoned, specialized professional such as Data Security Analyst between $100,000 and $170,000.

As you can see, the pay scale for IT professionals is a huge draw. Employers use a number of other incentives and benefits to snag the top talent like signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities. Perks are also a big draw and can include flexible work schedules, social events, telecommuting, onsite/offsite gym access, a compressed schedule, and even free/subsidized meals.

Long Hours vs. Flexible Hours

Late nights as an IT ProfessionalUnfortunately, tech problems don’t work on a 9 am – 5 pm schedule. They can strike at 6 am or five minutes before you were planning to leave. This is definitely a job that asks much of its employees and that’s no different when it comes to their time.

Fortunately, companies understand that and deeply appreciate and value the time of their IT pros. They want you to be rested, de-stressed, and ready to deal with whatever the servers throw at you.

This sometimes means you can pick your own schedule, work on a compressed schedule, or even telecommute (work from home). This is great for anyone who hates getting stuck in traffic at the end of the 9-5 slog.

No One Understands Your Job vs. Unparalleled Job Security

IT comes with an almost endless number of specializations. Do you want to work on securing networks? Fighting cyber attacks? Or maybe you’re just interested in updating and maintaining systems? No matter what, there’s a field for you.

Unfortunately, that means that people at your company won’t always understand what your duties include. You could be a Systems Administrator, but still get asked to fix someone’s home computer. You’ll be the go-to tech expert, even about stuff that’s definitely not in your job description. What’s next? Fix their iPhone? Debug their Fitbit? Talk about scope creep.

On the flip side, being an IT pro comes with unparalleled job security. Of Business Insider’s list of 26 careers with the best job security, two were IT positions. This is especially true for cyber security. According to the nonprofit group ISACA, there will be a shortage of two million cyber security professionals by 2019.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit group Cyberseek reports that 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled every year while employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber-security related roles. You will be valued. You will be needed. Most importantly, you will be hard to replace and that’s a good feeling.

People Lie and Lie vs. Challenging and Exciting Work

Pros and Cons of an IT CareerHow did your computer get a virus? Why do all these pop-up ads have the name of a website you shouldn’t be browsing at work? Why is there peanut butter and mustard smeared all over the keyboard? (And why are you eating peanut butter and mustard? That’s just weird.)

Personal snafus with the computer are embarrassing. No one wants to own up to that dumb thing they did. However, figuring out what’s wrong can be frustrating when people aren’t honest about how the computer got messed up.

What’s worse than your coworkers lying to you? Vendors lying to you. In this article from Tech Republic, they discuss the difficulty of debugging software from a third party when their support won’t admit that something’s wrong. (Our software? Buggy? Never!)

You can also expect to be lied to by vendors’ technical support departments. I have lost count of the number of support technicians over the years who have told me that a problem is not related to their software, but rather to the computer’s hardware or to the operating system. And of course I won’t even begin to talk about the number of vendors who have lied to me in an effort to make a sale.

-Tech Republic

On the bright side, what makes this job difficult also makes it challenging and even fun. IT is all about solving problems and that’s reflected in job satisfaction. A whopping 61% of IT professionals in one poll said they feel appreciated by their bosses and coworkers. And, if you ever don’t feel appreciated, you know you can find somewhere that does appreciate you.

Overwhelming Amount of Choices vs. Mobility and Options

Whether you’re interested in working on hardware, software, networks, databases, cloud security, or more, there’s a niche for you. Picking your career path can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. You can get bogged down in a specialization before you realize that it’s not where you want to be. No one wants to be extra-qualified in something they hate.

Fortunately, that also means qualified professionals have many options and career mobility. Since there’s such a tremendous need, especially for cyber security, more employers are embracing nontraditional paths for employment. IT certifications, which qualify and verify your skills, are one of the best ways to show employers you’ve got the right stuff.

With the ever-widening cyber gap, employers are more likely to invest in someone who shows they’re willing to keep on top of the updates on their own time, even if they don’t have picture perfect experience on their resume. Quick learning and the passion for improvement are invaluable commodities.

And this specialization pays off. Again, the Robert Half Salary guide found that employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and certifications. If you’re interested in getting started quickly, especially with cyber security, IT is a no-brainer.

Learn More About Cyber Security!

Is an IT Career Right For Me?

Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people can’t handle the long hours, difficult work, and stress of interacting with people at their most frantic. However, if you’re interested in challenging and exciting work where you get to solve problems, you could have a long, well-paying IT career ahead of you with salary and benefits.

If you’re interested in becoming an IT pro, but don’t have the time or money for a four-year degree, IT certifications can be a great way to get into the field. At LeaderQuest, we offer 5-15 day courses that get you ready to pass the exam, get certified, and put those skills to use in the working world in no time. We focus on the It professional certifications that employers want the most, like Security+, CCNA and Certified Ethical Hacker.

We know that you have responsibilities. That’s why we offer classes during the day and at night. Whether you prefer to take classes on campus or online, you’ll be getting access to our expert instructors who will prepare you to kick butt on the exam and teach you to excel in your new IT professional career.

Ready to start your IT career? If you’d like to learn more about careers in IT, check out our 2019 IT Career Finder! Choosing an IT career can be a daunting task. You must balance personal experience and aptitude against the likely future of the role, both in terms of earnings and the number of IT job positions that will be available in coming years. We created this guide to help connect the dots between your skills and IT job descriptions and duties to help you find your path to becoming an IT professional!

GET THE GUIDE

2019 IT Career Finder Free White Paper

2019 IT Career Finder Free White Paper

Interested in a career in information technology or cyber security?

We can help you choose an IT career path! Join our mailing list, and we’ll send you our 2019 IT Careerfinder white paper, totally free!

Choosing an IT career can be a daunting task. You must balance personal experience and aptitude against the likely future of the role, both in terms of earnings and the number of IT job positions that will be available in the coming years. If you’re considering an IT career or specifically, a career in cyber security, we have good news for you! Business is booming and there are more IT job postings for these occupations with every passing year.

If you’re wondering about jobs in information technology that might be perfect for you, download the guide below!

Sign up for our IT Career Training White Paper


What’s in the Careerfinder?

This white paper contains useful information on six IT careers in demand, including:

  • Computer User Support Specialists
  • Computer Network Support Specialists
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • Computer Network Architects
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers

For each of these occupations, we can help answer important questions, like:

  • What do people in this role do every day?
  • Is this occupation expected to grow?
  • What salary do people in this occupation earn?
  • What skills are required for this occupation?
  • What certifications are required for this occupation?

 


Are you interested in IT certification?

LeaderQuest can help you get the IT certifications you need to get that promotion or career change you’ve been looking for! Speak with one of our IT career training consultants today and make the change you’ve been waiting for. We’re experts on careers in the IT industry, and we’d love to help you get hired.