You can't secure what you don't acknowledge.SM

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Are certifications hurting your salary more than helping?

Here's a good read on certifications and whether or not they enhance or hinder your earning ability - especially if you focus on vendor-specific certifications such as what Microsoft offers.

Mr. Mikols article led me to think about this are more in-depth and I came to this conclusion: I do believe that you can spend too much time focusing on getting certified. In fact, I've seen it personally. The mindset I've come across time and time again is "I just got three of the CompTIA certifications and now I'm going to get Cisco certified...and then I'm going for my MCSE...and then I'm definitely going get my CISSP. Will probably get the Certified Ethical Hacker after that...I can't wait to see what's around the corner." And on and on...you get my drift. I've seen people with 10, 12, sometimes 15 certifications behind their names. Wow!

Don't get me wrong folks. Certification can be a good thing as I talked about in this SearchSoftwareQuality.com column as well as what I go in-depth on in my audio program Certifications, Degrees, or Experience - What's best for your security career?

What I am saying is that if you have a dozen IT/security certifications you may come across to some people as desperate - wanting to be seen and/or trying to cover up some other character flaw just to get a job or prove whatever. I'm thinking does anybody really have that kind of time to get all of those certifications!? Well, obviously so. Just don't go overboard. I think a basic set of certifications is all you need to prove your worth and get past most barriers to entry. Beyond that, if you really want to stand out above the noise and move ahead, your time will be MUCH better spent working on things like:
  • writing skills
  • presentation skills
  • goal setting
  • time management
  • networking (with people) to build relationships
...and so on.

Anyone can learn technical material for certifications and day to day job tasks....and a large majority of us in this field often do. But very few chose to better themselves at a core level focusing on the points above - and its these things that are going to make the difference long-term.

If you want to succeed in security, you've got to channel your priorities in the right direction. I'll talk about all of this and much more in my soon-to-be-released Security On Wheels audio program Succeeding in Security. Stay tuned for that.

Until later...all the best.

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