This post was originally published here by  (ISC)² Management.

Other than a college degree, how can you validate your knowledge and skills? Certifications represent a way for professionals to validate their knowledge and expertise, as well as a path for continued education and professional development.

But what about value? Why are cybersecurity certifications essential today? What is the value of a cybersecurity certification?

Proves Your Worth  
According to the 2017 (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), when respondents were asked for the reasons why their organization requires staff to have information security certifications, employee competence was the most common answer. You can spend years working to prove your knowledge, but a third-party validated measure of competence displays your expertise (i.e., your worth) to your employer, colleagues and peers in your network. Not only do certifications require the testing of one’s knowledge and skillsets, but many certifications also require continuing professional education credits to ensure that the learning process doesn’t stop once certification is obtained. Certification also proves a candidate’s commitment to their respective profession – if they are dedicated enough to study for a lengthy exam and go through the entire certification process, that exemplifies commitment.

Instant Street Cred  
Certifications are often difficult to obtain. Many people spend hours, weeks, even months studying for certification exams. When your managers and colleagues know that you’ve been validated by a third-party organization as having certain knowledge and skills by passing a tough exam, you earn credibility. When hiring managers are making decisions for staffing, 70 percent of GISWS respondents said it was at least somewhat important that the candidate has information security certifications. When asked if their organization requires its IT staff to have information security certifications, 40 percent said yes.

Catapults Your Career 
Once you’re hired, you’ll probably start to think about career advancement and how to get to the next level. As part of the GISWS survey, respondents who hold certifications were asked how relevant their current certifications are to their potential career advancement. An incredible 90 percent of respondents said they are at least somewhat relevant. Members of (ISC)² (certification holders) also make a higher average annual salary than those who are not members – $103,000 for members compared to $76,300 for nonmembers. With certain certifications being required to obtain cybersecurity positions, it’s no wonder that they can be the way in the door and up the ladder.

Attaining certifications can be a key component in planning for and building a successful, well-respected career in cybersecurity. Certifications will show your value as a cybersecurity professional by helping to prove your worth as an employee, show street cred as a team member, and catapult your career, setting you up for a lifetime of success. 

Photo:Subject Guides – University of Maine



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