Information Security Certifications: Staying Ahead of the Competition

Why become certified? This is a question that we all ask ourselves at one — or several points — in our careers. Why should you carry a certification for something that you have worked on for five years or more when you believe your experience will talk louder than any piece of paper that expires every 18-24 months.

Being in the training field, we see many certifications that need to be maintained in order to stay relevant and accredited to teach the classes we offer. It becomes tedious to study for something we have taught others over and over. The certification process eventually loses its luster, and we wonder what it proves if we can successfully pass a test rather than actually proving we can work on and with a certain technology.

Yet the benefits of obtaining these certifications are much larger than many people realize and want to admit. Let’s talk about some of those benefits to you as an employee as well as what the benefits are for your employer:

When you gain a technical certification it shows that you understand the minute details of a technology.

Let’s face it, we all know that written certifications at times turn into a “word game” of sorts, trying to make sure you know the exact commands or directories of a product (e.g.., /etc/host vs. /etc/hosts). This can be very annoying when studying for and taking certification exams. We have become so accustomed to many types of auto complete commands or shortcuts to finish our work. However, showing that you DO know those details of a product demonstrates that you have studied, worked with, and understand why a command or directory structure is laid out the way it is. It also provides you with the ability to quickly troubleshoot and resolve an issue when it arises in the “real world.”

Technical certifications show dedication.

Outside of the technical aspect of certifications, it shows that you are dedicated to a product/technology and your continual growth. It is obvious that the IT industry is constantly evolving on a year-to-year basis, if not faster! So proving that you are dedicated enough to study and stay up on the evolution of the certification shows you have dedication to yourself and your company.

Certifications add credibility to you and the company.

When you are looking for a job, or your company is looking for new customers, it adds credibility to say that you are certified on the product you support, train or sell. This helps ease the potential employer’s or customer’s mind, showing that you have that attention to detail on the product, and you are dedicated to the always-changing technology.

Employer benefits from technical certifications.

We just mentioned that you add credibility to yourself as well your employer with certifications. There are many other employer benefits, though, including the following: cheaper training from some vendors, higher support levels provided for certified experts, and recognition using certified logos with company information. There are many more that come from having employees certified, but that is to just name a few.

After talking about some of the benefits for yourself and your company, you may ask what certification(s) should you get now? Well, you can look at a list of the top-10 certifications for 2012 put together by techrepublic at:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/the-10-best-it-certifications-...

In general , some of the major areas of interest today have to do with virtualization, cloud security, mobilization of the workforce, general network security and all of the regulations companies have to abide by when dealing with healthcare, credit card processing, personal information, etc. Any certifications in these general areas are going to benefit you and your company in the future.