Secure in your knowledge

Benefits and bonuses

So let's assume you are excited by all these certifications on offer and decide you want to acquire some, what is it likely to bring you?

Well, a pay rise is often one of the more welcome results, particularly in these more trying economic times. But that's not the only benefit. It can also mean a new job or, if you are a consultant, new opportunities with companies that require all their consultants to be certified.

I spoke to R Ward Ralston, a leading security consultant, and owner of Sunaptein Computer Consulting to ask his opinion on certification. Ralston holds the CIW Security Analyst, CompTIA Security+, MCSA: Security, MCSE: Security and (ISC)2 CISSP qualifications.

Of these, Ralston believes that the Microsoft certifications are beneficial, but that the CISSP is currently the most useful for an independent consultant. One major benefit that he now communicates with a network of other professionals. I get access to the newsgroups, and to a very responsive community, which is extremely helpful in my work, he says.

Even more significantly, he believes that work has come his way as a direct result of certification. The CISSP has sometimes played a fairly large role in my getting my foot in the door, he says.

Of course, he continues, like any certification, all it does is prove I have expertise up to a certain level, showing to my clients that I have some idea of what I'm talking about when I walk in. But sometimes that can make all the difference.

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Paul Slater is security editor for ESM Magazine. He's also a director and systems architect at Entrace Technologies, an IT solutions company offering consulting, training and technical writing services.

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