THE CERTIFICATION DILEMMA

Getting certified has not been a top priority for me through out my career. My experience with gaining certification was that I would obtain a certification that employers either didn’t want or to pay for someone with those particular skills.

Early on in my career, I did all the exams, but what I found was that it didn’t really get the benefit out of them that i was lead to believe by the vendors. “If you gain our certification you can earn more $$$ and you will be in demand by all employers”

In reality, this didn’t happen. In fact, I found that my experience counted for a lot more than my certifications did so I simply just stopped. Fast forward 15 years and I have moved in to a security consulting role. What I didn’t know was that employers are not only looking for experience but they also love to promote the certification their employees have to perspective clients.

When I compared my CV to the other people in my team, under the certifications section, my CV looked a little bare. I decided then that I needed to get back on the bandwagon and gain some relevant certifications. The first certification that I tackled was the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification from ISACA. I went in thinking it was going to be a lot of study and a lot of time but what I found was that my experience actually helped me and i was able to go from start to exam in about 4 weeks.

I ended up passing the exam comfortably and I submitted my application form and paid all of the fees and I am now able to call myself a Certified Information Security Manager. I even get a nice little badge I can show off.

I am still not a fan of certifications as I hate having to invest time and effort in to answering multiple choice questions and much prefer hands on problem solving type exams (such as OSCP) but unfortunately a lot of employers are asking for certifications and in today’s competitive world having a certification may be the difference between getting that job or just missing out.

If you have been in the game for a while and have not got some certifications, get out there and give it a crack, you will be surprised on how easy it is when you have the experience to back it up.

Until next time.