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Certification Watch (Vol. 20, No. 37)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, Cisco Learning Network asks whether certification still matters (hint: Cisco has a lot of certs), (ISC)² says skilled security pros are underutilized, and more.

Do Certifications Still Matter? Survey Says ...


CW 0913 Wondering SIZEDGenerally speaking, people love to pick fights, or provoke arguments, or start discussions. Call it whatever you want, but the result is usually the same: We end up largely having conversations for the sake of conversation. On the other hand, asking provocative questions does sometimes yield engaging data. Which is what you'll find in a recent post to Cisco Learning Network's Talking Tech with Cisco blog. Parsing data from a recent survey of "senior technology managers" in the United States, blogger Gary Pfitzer describes the response to six different questions intended to assess the current marketplace value — both to employers and IT workers — of IT certifications. For instance, Cisco's survey asked about the role of certifications in the IT hiring process. Only 2 percent of those surveyed said that certifications have no role. Most (43 percent of respondents) said they are mandatory for some positions, while comparable numbers of respondents said either that certs are used to screen candidates (28 percent), or that certs are mandatory, period (26 percent). Lots of good info here.


The Path to a Career in Cybersecurity


There's a persistent drumbeat in the world of IT employment to the effect that more skilled cybersecurity workers are needed. They are needed fast. They are needed in large quantities. They are needed with actionable, finely honed skills. What's often overlooked in all of the hue and cry to get more people NOW, however, is the problem of creating a well-marked path to solid cybersecurity employment for those who are interested in getting there. James Stanger tackles this topic in a new post to the IT Career News blog of tech industry association CompTIA. Stanger, CompTIA's senior director of products, believes that for many the question of where to begin and how to proceed is largely akin to a hike in the mountains where the destination is known, but the route that goes there is ill-defined at best. Much of CompTIA's recent development of its security certification portfolio, Stanger says, is aimed at making it easier for aspiring cybersecurity professionals to wind up where employers are so desperately hoping to find them. In particular, Stanger points to the Cybersecurity Career Pathway guide that CompTIA released last year. If you're angling toward greater involvement in cybersecurity, then this could be a great place to start.


EC-Council Breaks Ground in Penetration Testing Testing


Speaking of careers in cybersecurity, the recent Equifax hack underscores the need for more skilled penetration testers. A penetration tester essentially tests an organization's information security perimeter to find vulnerabilities and other points of entry — before hackers get to them. EC-Council is a leader in the security certification realm and now has announced a breakthrough in testing for penetration testers. Certification testing them, that is. According to a Tuesday press release, EC-Council is preparing to launch "the first globally accepted, hands-on penetration testing certification exam administered in a fully proctored environment." The new exam is for EC-Council's License Penetration Tester (LPT) Master credential. Candidates will be required to confront and overcome an 18-hour exam taken in three six-hour intervals. Sounds like interested parties had better include some endurance workouts in their training regimen.


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