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Most valuable security certification

I am in the network/security field. With so many certifications in the market now, which one is the most valuable/recognized to attain?

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A wise man once told me that the answers to all meaningful questions start with the same two words: "That depends..." In the case of your question, the answer depends on what level of expertise you currently hold and what kinds of career objectives you might have. Since I know nothing about you in these regards, let me make some blanket recommendations instead:

  1. If you have little or no background or domain knowledge, start out with the BrainBench networking and Internet security topics
  2. If you have basic skills and a good, but elementary subject background, follow up with the CompTIA Security+.
  3. IF you are already a full-time practitioner or work at security more than 50% of your time on the job, obtain either a CISSP or one of the mid-Level SANS GIAC certs.
  4. Once you have five (CISA) or seven or more (CPP) years of on-the-job security experience, pursue the CISA or CPP credentials.

You can get the details on these certs in my latest security cert survey.

Good luck with your certifications.

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
Ask the Expert: The reputation of the CISSP
Ask the Expert: Number of TICSA-certified individuals
Ask the Expert: Obtaining a security job with networking certs

This was first published in October 2002

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