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Wanted: Highly Skilled and Certified Cybersecurity Expert

Equifax has egg on its face and the competition to hire skilled IT security personnel just got hotter. Certification is your ticket to employment in the booming market for trained cybersecurity professionals.

Angry woman after data breachHere we are again. To borrow a phrase from Shakespeare’s Henry V, “Once more unto the breach.” I’m talking about the massive data breach of the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax which was hacked sometime between mid-May and July.


Like usual, this breach doesn’t merely affect “we few.” Rather, it’s a couple of hundred thousand residents of the United Kingdom and Canada ... plus, oh yeah, 143 million Americans. That’s almost half (roughly 45 percent) of all Americans! And we are not happy about it. The bad guys stole gobs of sensitive information — including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and even driver’s license numbers.


There's not much good news for anyone in all of that (the Equifax hackers excepted, one imagines). On the other hand, if you are a skilled (and certified) cybersecurity professional already, or simply interested in becoming one, well, opportunity is practically kicking your door down.


No business or organization wants to be the next Equifax (or Yahoo!, or Target, and so forth). IT professionals contemplating a switch to cybersecurity likely now enjoy a golden opportunity to have some or all of their training and certification paid for by a current or future employer.


IT newcomers looking for a specialization to pursue that has a stable long-term employment outlook would do well to investigate Security+ certification from CompTIA, SSCP certification from (ISC)², CSX certification from ISACA, or just about any kind of certification from GIAC. And that's just brushing the tip of the cybersecurity certification iceberg.


Where was I? Ah, yes. Our story so far: 143 million Americans at risk of all manner of attacks and scams from suddenly well equipped cyberthieves.


Equifax discovered the breach on July 29. Of course, being a soulless, socially irresponsible faceless corporate entity, they waited to announce it until earlier this week. To add insult to our injury, three of the company’s top executives managed to sell off their shares of stock right before reporting the breach. Thank you, Equifax. Way to watch out for our data.


Equifax chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith did offer some comfort to us in a statement to the press: "This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do." Wow! If Smith thinks it’s a “disappointing event” for Equifax imagine how the rest of us feel.