Ask the Expert

Experience vs. certification in today's job market

Which is more valuable in today's infosec job market -- experience or certification?


    Requires Free Membership to View

This is probably the most perennial and oft-repeated question that's directed to me, and it doesn't seem to matter if economic times are good (as they were two years ago) or bad (as they appear to be right now). The real answer to this question is "both:" employers want individuals with relevant, hands-on experience who can relate to on-the-job requirements, but they also want individuals who've been trained on current versions of systems, software, practices and procedures, who know the vendor's official take on such things. The same answer applies to another perennial question of this type, BTW -- namely: "Should I get certified, or get a degree?"

That said, I've asked recruiters and employers point-blank: "If you were forced to choose between otherwise equal candidates, would you choose certification over experience, or experience over certification?" The unanimous-- and I mean everybody's -- answer is "experience." Thus, if you find yourself forced to choose between getting experience and getting certified, choose to gain experience. The way I look at it is that it will be easier to get certified later if you have experience, than it will be to get experience later, if you have a certification.


For more information on this topic, check out these resources:
Executive Security Briefing: Revisiting the security certification landscape
Best Web Links: Career Information


This was first published in December 2001

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: