Security Certification–The Big Winner

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Any recent IT salary or certification survey is likely to feature one or more security credentials in its “big interest” or “big winner” categories. Some cases in point include CertMag’s own Top 10 predictions for 2002 (and we’re guessing for 2003 as well), the last six quarterly IT salary surveys from Foote Partners ( and most other news and information sources in the certification game. Suffice it to say, when it comes to IT certifications, security is as hot as such topics get right now!

As this study guide shows, lots of features appear on the security certification landscape. Although there’s certainly no debating whether or not security certifications pay well, offer good career development opportunities and garner a lot of well-deserved attention and interest, the security certification landscape is densely populated and highly fragmented. When it comes to security certifications, Craig Burton’s famous remark about technical standards applies perfectly: “The best thing about standards”—or in this case, security certifications—“is that there are so many to choose from.” (Burton was the vice president of marketing at Novell until the early 1990s and uttered this remark in the late ’80s when Novell was still at the pinnacle of the network OS market.) Of course, Burton’s tongue was planted firmly in his cheek when he said this, and he was speaking from a vendor perspective, where a surplus of choices permits vendors to back those standards that align best with their interests or investments.

IT professionals pondering the plethora of security certifications available may be nonplussed rather than pleased by this great variety. That’s why we identify leading credentials in both vendor-neutral and vendor-specific portions of our marketplace survey. That’s also why we recommend you ponder the safest choices—that is, the most populous and presumably popular programs—when mapping out a personal hot list of security credentials.

Whatever programs you choose to investigate further or decide to pursue, we think you’ll find this study guide a valuable tool. It will help you learn more about this overall landscape and locate useful resources for the security certification program or programs of your choice.

Ed Tittel
Contributing Editor


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