Many people question whether cybersecurity certifications are actually worth the investment of money and time. You can make several arguments against these certifications, especially because the number of certifications out there now is so huge and many of them have come and gone in terms of popularity over the past years.With that said, they are still an interesting option for entry-level cybersecurity professionals or career changers looking to dwell themselves in the cybersecurity field.
So, now the question comes that are cybersecurity certifications worth the effort? Cybersecurity certifications are definitely worth the effort if you use them as an addition to other qualifications given on your resume. Having only certifications on your resume clearly indicates to employers that your knowledge is not experience-based.
Stated simply, certifications are obviously worth the effort, but they are not the sole thing that should be used for engrossing your time and effort while you are busy building your cybersecurity career. Most corporate world legends are big proponents of certifications because they’ve seen them help people’s careers, and they provide various benefits other than only the obvious potential financial impact. Let us have a look at several of those benefits now.
Benefit #1: Certifications can act as a differentiator.
Certifications can act as a differentiator between you and other people competing for the same job position. There are witnesses of a few occasions where an applicant with a certification or multiple certifications beat out a similarly-qualified but non-certified applicant, solely because of the certification.
In these cases, the employer uses the certification as the deciding factor. For those who are attending a college, it is highly recommended that they also pursue some kind of certification because that serves as a point of difference between them and the rest of the college graduates.
Benefit #2: Certifications showcase a perseverance and accomplishment level.
Everyone has an idea that earning a certification requires hard work, so having them does convey a level of commitment to your knowledge base, in specific, and career, in general. This is especially important as you are at the starting of your careerand have less to rely on or talk to potential employers about.Thus, possessing a technical certification shows that you’re serious about your career field.
Benefit #3: Many employers place a high value on them.
Not all employers get swayed by certifications, but there are still a large number of employers that get impressed by them.Even the Defense Department has established baseline certifications for their desired personnel for many of the security and intelligence positions. Some employers give preference to certifications over a completed college degree, so having the right certification can bring you to the notice by them as well.
Benefit #4: A certification can help you keep your employer on their toes.
You may, several times in your career, have followed the playbook of earning certification on your own time and with your own money, all without letting your employer in on your intentions. After earning or completing the certification, you would have forwarded them the email confirmation or let them know verbally (or just hang it on your office wall without saying or addressing anything.)In these scenarios, you must have seen the wheels turn as they start wondering when did you complete the certification, why you are focused on improving yourself and what your intentions are. For those of you who haven’t done this before might notice these changes once you do the same.
By obtaining a certification in the course of your, either in the cybersecurity field or any other, it can get your employer to take notice of that.In most of the cases, this will give you leverage.
Benefit #5: Certifications can be used as a tool in negotiating a raise or promotion.
At some point, money suddenly becomes a factor in every career decision, and here it is.Certifications can be very helpful in providing leverage to negotiate a raise or promotion for cybersecurity professionals. This is the reason why so many certification providers try tying their certifications with pay rates.
Of course, there are hundreds of other factors involved in whether certification can lead to a raise for you or not, but it can be worth the effort to try to use certification as a bargaining chip for getting higher pay.
Benefit #6: Everyone who does not have one wishes that they did.
This may look like the best benefit of all.Ask yourself wouldn’t you rather have one or more certifications than not?Give it a thought.Is there anyone out there without a degree that wouldn’t want to wave a magic wand to get a degree if it was in their power?Is there any IT person who would not like to have an alphabet of certifications after their name?Say yes that all of you love these qualifiers, but many of you simply don’t have the motivation to pursue them, which makes them that much more valuable to those of you who do.
Benefit #7: Employers often place higher credibility in certifications rather than training programs.
There are hundreds and thousands of in-person and online training programs available, and the number of people who have dumped thousands of dollars into these is astounding. Most of these training programs are either paper mills or brain dumps, where the student doesn’t really get the time of learning anything and often is not offered the opportunity of trying to learn things hands-on. The challenge that comes here is that a lot of these programs are tied to certifications, although many of the pursuing students do not fall in the position to pass the exam at the end of the actual training. Now, having a certification is often looked at by employers as a higher validation of knowledge than just having completed some small or unrecognised training scheme.