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Why Cybersecurity Certifications Matter -- Or Not
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Cyber_Prof
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Cyber_Prof,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2016 | 12:18:24 AM
Re: Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
Then you have the person who can speak to Board Members and not be geeky or techie as well as being able to perform all aspects and requirements of security, data security, building an IT system, maintaining the system, operating it, as well planning for expansion and running the project (Project Management), including the implementation of fiber, wifi, telephone system, migration of systems not meant to work together, along with keeping users and stakeholders happy.

Lead stakeholder is so happy he demands you are the one they want to keep on their site to maintain and grow their system, calls your boss and not only tells him you will remain in place or he will fire the company from the contract, he also demands a raise for you.

All of this and it comes without certifications but with college, self-training, additional training on other platforms.

Personally, I cannot afford all the certifications, they cost a lot of money.  However, I continue to my education, mostly with on-line courses.

In the area I live in I have a hard time finding a job in IT.  I would move in a heartbeat for a great position.
khurt
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khurt,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2016 | 11:04:09 AM
Re: Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
When you need a lawyer or accoutant, do you make sure to check if they have any relevant degress or passed a certificaiton exam of some sort?
khurt
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khurt,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2016 | 10:59:13 AM
Re: Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
Why do you assume informatoon security is all about technology?  When you are designing an information security architeture, and designing sytems to meet government and contractual complaince obligations, will pen testing skills be the ONE and ONLY skill required?

But then again, I see the tittle of this article is cyber-security, not information security.  You want a pen tester? Look for a SANS GIAC or OSCP cert.  You need someone who can walk into a board room and not GEEK out on the busines people -- you know, the ones who are more concerned with profit centers instead of cost centers -- then you need someone like a CISSP or CISM etc. who can bridge the gap.

The CISSP or CISM doens't need to show you her pen testing tookit becuase it's irrelevant to what they are good at doing.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2016 | 11:00:32 AM
Re: Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
Preach, Brother Christian!  So too with college degrees.  I'd like to see the higher education bubble burst -- especially with the options for free and effective education online these days (edX comes to mind).
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2016 | 10:57:31 AM
Bah.
Certifications are very hot -- especially the CISSP -- so if they help you get a new job and/or a higher paycheck, salud.

But I would caution professionals to stick to the certifications they really need -- the ones that will actually help their careers in terms of money and/or knowledge.  Considering the ongoing costs of certifications (whether that takes the form of continuing education, fees, dues, etc.), and further considering how easy it is to just invent your own certification and start your own certification company, many aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
ArisD224
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ArisD224,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2016 | 7:00:37 PM
Re: Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
Christian

You are so Right.

The paper-trail is littered with lots of time spent, money spent.  If one has good study skills, good memory, one can pass any written-exam. I've met Cisco experienced Net Engineers who don't hold a cert at all, who can BGP, VPN, MPLS with coveted CCIE's. Seen it at a huge government agency I'm not devaluing Cert's, but I think too much is put on the paper alone.
ryasin
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ryasin,
User Rank: Author
1/27/2016 | 9:41:26 AM
Re: Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
A very insightful post, Christian.  When you get a chance can you contact me at [email protected]? I'd be interested in hearing more of your insights on cybersecurity careers, training, testing, etc.
RetiredUser
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RetiredUser,
User Rank: Ninja
1/26/2016 | 3:49:06 PM
Show Me the Flag, Not the Paper
I have a stake in this because for the entirety of my career I have had to fight an uphill battle.  When I got my first technical job I had already dropped out of college, but I could demonstrate what I knew quickly and (if I might say so myself) impressively.  For a young software geek, that was my lightbulb moment.  Moving forward, I had a strategy for every role I pursued.  If I knew the material, I blew away the oral interview and made sure I got in front of a terminal at some point to show I could walk the walk I just talked.  If I didn't know the material, I researched, got hands-on experience, and then repeated the process of solid interview, solid demo.  I've stopped trying to return to school and never felt compelled to do the certificate thing because I want to do what I know how to do, whether I know it because it's my core toolset or I just learned it because it interested me.

Now, when it comes to cyber security, I am all the more adamant about one thing:  Show me.  Period.  I can read, too, and I have all the books, papers and software that matters - but it doesn't matter if you can't capture the flag.  If I were hiring pen testers or intrusion analysis engineers, even core infrastructure architects, I'd have a gauntlet ready for candidates to run and show results from.  Pen testing candidate?  Bring your toolset, whatever it is, and show me how you capture the flag on at least three OS (Windows, Linux, OpenVMS, for example).  Intrusion analyst?  Again, bring your toolset of choice and look at two networked environments I've set up and show me all activity relevant to an active hack being performed by a skilled cyber security professional.

Like education, certification is an industry.  Whether that is good or bad, I don't have the credentials to determine, but I do know that intelligence comes in all colors and sizes and in the end, it comes down to what you can do, whether you can do it repeatedly and do it with skill over time without losing momentum, and in fact improving in your skillset over time.  Show me.  Not a piece of paper (or PDF), but the flag I sent you to capture.


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