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2013: The Year Of Security Certification Bashing
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Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 1:18:56 PM
Re: Cost of Certifications
Great list, Bob. as for  your observation that "CIO should be the one "selling" these ideas to upper management," I wonder how often that is actually the case!

 
Bob Covello
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Bob Covello,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/6/2014 | 1:13:34 PM
Re: Cost of Certifications
If I had to convince a CIO of the value of a certification, some points that I would present include:

Recognition of specialized knowledge - If you are in a regulated industry, it simply looks good that you have people on staff who have shown that they have succeeded in a particular level of study relevant to their job. This is particularly true of vendor-neutral certifications.  (This is where many certification bashers lose sight that subject-area knowledge can be as valuable as hands-on skill.)

A certification also adds credibility when working with external vendors and especially clients.  Clients like to know that they are working with a person who has a recognized level of knowledge.  This is true of both vendor-neutral and vendor-specific certifications.

Vendor-specific certifications are valuable because they show that the recipient understands the vendors' preferred methods of working with a piece of hardware and / or software.  (This is where the hands-on folks are an invaluable asset.)

A vendor-specific certification usually also entitles the certified individual access to vendor information that is not available to the general public, including free support on the product as well as advanced copies of new products.

In some cases, a vendor-specific certification is required if you are publicly supporting a particular product.

I am confident that most CIOs already know these facts, and the CIO should be the one "selling" these ideas to upper management.

From a CIO's perspective, supporting an employee's career advancement by helping the employee attain new knowledge and skills will increase employee retention and morale.

I hope that helps!
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 9:58:17 AM
Re: Cost of Certifications
Thanks Bob.

Do you have any tips for individuals who are trying to make the case to the  CIOs that paying for a  certification credential for their IT staff is a worthwhile investment?
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 9:50:17 AM
Re: Is the perpetual cycle of certifications effective?
The question of vendor versus general security certifications is tough one. On the one hand, it's most definitely a full time job just to keep up with the technology landscape as vendors develop new versions of products to meet the demandsof enterprise IT customers. But who can argue with product development trends that offer better tools to protect data and systems from attack. And w

On the other hand, who is more knowledgable about getting the most out of security tools than the vendor itself? Or are the general training courses adequate for the majority of experienced security professionals. Interested in hearing more from readers on this issue.
Bob Covello
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Bob Covello,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 7:05:33 PM
Re: Unfortunate cultural reflection
I sincerely hope that we may rise above the din of negative discourse, and I work every day to promote a spirit of collaboration, rather than criticism.
Bob Covello
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Bob Covello,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 7:03:15 PM
Re: Is the perpetual cycle of certifications effective?
The point about vendor-specific certifications is correct.  Many of the vendors change their products so often as to make the certification impossibly cumbersome to maintain. It is one of the main reasons why I let one of my early certifications lapse. 

However, the vendor-neutral certifications that do not rely on specific product-based knowledge only require the maintenance of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, many of which may be satisfied at no cost.

 
Bob Covello
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Bob Covello,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 7:01:52 PM
Re: Is the perpetual cycle of certifications effective?
The point about vendor-specific certifications is correct.  Many of the vendors change their products so often as to make the certification impossibly cumbersome to maintain. It is one of the main reasons why I let one of my early certifications lapse. 

However, the vendor-neutral certifications that do not rely on specific product-based knowledge only require the maintenance of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, many of which may be satisfied at no cost.

You may want to examinne some of those to further your knowledge. 
Bob Covello
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Bob Covello,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 6:54:29 PM
Re: Splitting hairs....
You are correct. "Certification ...  should indicate intent or goal.  The beginning, not the end."

Achieving the certification is merely the first step in a path of commitment and study.  It lays a solid foundation on which to expand.  Anyone who obtains a certification and stops leraning is failing the ethical obligation of the certification.
Bob Covello
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Bob Covello,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 6:51:05 PM
Re: Cost of Certifications
I have to agree with Marilyn here.

When I sat for one of my certification exams , my greatest fear about half-way through the exam was "if I fail this, do I really want to spend the money to take it again?"  I then forced myself to re-focus and finish the next 125 questions. 

All of the certifications have an associateed cost, but the benefits far outweigh the cost.  I have studied for 2 other certifications for which I never sat for the exams!  However, the knowledge that I gained far exceeded the cost of the study guides (one of which was over $100).

Knowledge is KING!  Collaboration is its QUEEN!  That was the underlying the sentiment of my article. 

If youu truly understand the material, sit for the exam and reward yourself for your achievement.  Personal growth is the key, and adding something (such as a certification) that is recognized as a sign of that growth should be embraced, not avoided, and certainly not mocked.

-Bob
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
1/2/2014 | 10:19:15 AM
Re: Cost of Certifications
@LinRoeder. I can see your point about $300 being a large hit for someone just starting out in Tech Support. But I would argue, if you look at that amount over the course of a year, an investment of under $6 a week is pretty small to give you credential that could give you a leg up in getting a better, higher-paid, more responsible position. 
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