“Certification Top 10 List Revisited,” Revisited

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“Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.”
– Dr. Samuel Johnson

In the course of running a topical magazine, you’re bound to step on a few toes. People won’t always agree with what you have to say or like how you say it.

Certification Magazine experienced this recently with “Certification Top 10 Lists Revisited” in our November 2006 issue (available at http://www.certmag.com/articles/anmviewer.asp?a=2401&z=223).

CertMag’s Technology Editor Ed Tittel wrote the piece, offering lists of what he believed to be the top credentials in areas ranging from the most advanced programs to the best entry-level certifications. After the article was published, we got some feedback from readers and even newsmakers in the world of IT certification who wrote in to ask, “Hey, such-and-such credential wasn’t on this list. What gives?”

One specific example of this came in a letter from Richard Brisebois, chairman of ISACA’s CISA certification board. He wrote, “I read with interest your recent ‘Certification Top 10 Lists Revisited’ article and was pleased to see that the ISACA certifications had merited a place on two of your lists. However, I am curious as to how the criteria are established for the lists. For instance, the CISSP certification is identified as one of the 10 designations with the toughest recertification requirements — yet CISSP and ISACA’s CISA and CISM have identical recertification processes. How was the decision reached to include CISSP but not CISA and CISM?”

Well, every list in the article was a matter of opinion — specifically that of Ed Tittel, who, while one of the foremost experts in the certification field, is just one person. He admitted as much in the piece, as well as in a response sent directly to Brisebois: “Upon a re-review of the two programs side by side, experience requirements, professional ethics, continuing education and other surrounding factors, they are remarkably similar to each other … In my own defense, I can only plead a lack of depth of knowledge and experience with CISM to match what I gained in working on three editions of a book on CISSP.”

Ed’s arguments weren’t unfounded. Indeed, Brisebois didn’t dispute his inclusion of the CISSP but rather the omission of the ISACA certs. In fact, virtually no one disagreed with the selections he did make. Complaints were mainly limited to the fact that they would’ve liked to see other deserving certifications recognized, as well. You can’t please everyone all the time — all you can do is give it your best shot. We’ll always try to provide our readers with the best coverage of the IT certification universe available anywhere. And they always will have the right to question what we cover. We anticipate that a few of them will even try to knock us down now and then, as they have in the past.

But we’re still standing!

Brian Summerfield
Senior Editor

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