The Differences Between Security Certifications

Friday, February 17, 2012

Joshua Lochner


I was involved recently in a conversation regarding, “What are worthwhile security-related certifications?”  

It seems like certifications have always been a source of contention for IT professionals. What are “The Right” certifications to get?  Are they needed?  Which ones would someone reap the most benefit from?  Who cares?

The right certifications to pursue are going to vary from person to person, as to what would suit your interests and meet your goals best.

Ask yourself some basic questions:

What interests me?  For example… Are you a network administrator who wants to build up their credibility when proposing solutions to clients?... Or are you a database administrator or UNIX or Windows system administrator who wants to expand their knowledge in their existing job role?

Do I want to remain in the same field or pursue a new path?  What are your strong suits, and do you intend to build on those, or branch out in a new direction?  Did you just change departments and want to establish a better understanding of the field you have moved into; if so, what certifications do your colleagues or would those above you respect?

What would lead to career growth?  Would there be a certification that would provide benefit to your organization?  Have you asked around to determine if any certifications are needed to fill roles in the organization; and if you get the certifications, would that role be something you might be interested in?

Sometimes a simple certification can help to meet a business objective, or grow an internal process; and by helping the organization meet its objectives, the position filled may be higher up on the ladder than where you currently are.

Let’s run through a couple of questions on the Certs Diagram, and you’ll be on your way to figuring out whether a CCIE Security, a CIAC GCIH, or a GIAC GPEN would be the best cert for you to pursue next.

(click image to enlarge)

Lochner SecureState

Bear in mind, the Certs Diagram is non-exhaustive; it is more to illustrate the point that there are lots of avenues to go down when approaching security certifications. 

That is why my company employs experts in five different practices to make a cohesive team.  The benefits of pursuing information security certifications that align with one’s personal goals are reflected here.

Cross-posted from SecureState

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