How do employeres look at certifications

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    • #5917
      kwkanter
      Participant

      I want to know how people see certifications. I currently have SANS GCIA, MCSE, Security+ and A+, and I dont feel as if they have helped me get any interviews let alone jobs. ???

    • #37043
      MaXe
      Participant

      Maybe you need to work on your CV (Resumé) and / or make your recommendations more visible. (If you have any worth mentioning of course.)

      They also look on education and especially previous business experience, at least in most countries as far as I know.

      Certifications alone isn’t enough to get a job mostly, but they’re a good start and help, and even get you past the usual HR screenings, but you still need to sell yourself. (Something I am not good at xD)

    • #37044
      caissyd
      Participant

      It is the same for me kwkanter…

      It happens that just yesterday, I receive an email from a head hunter asking if I was interested in a job for the Government of Canada. While I was reading their “mandatory” and “nice-to-have” requirements, I saw things like: “at least 8 years experience in abc, at least 8 years experience in xyz, etc”. My 2 year experience in the filed isn’t enough for jobs in the gorvernment here (they usually ask a minimum of 5 years in everything).

      My certs can’t buy experience…  :'(

      Also, certs were the requirements #17 for this 3 year contract, asking for CISSP and/or CISA for a pentester job… They have no clue what they are talking about. That is why I am currently studying for CISSP even if I want to be a pentester… Sad but true…  :-

      But hey, I can’t blame them, I will be much more knowledgeable in 6 years! It goes down to the offer/demand. The more the offer, the higher the bar. The only problem is that many contracter with 8 to 10 years experience are completely disconnected from technology. Sure they know what a symmetric encryption algorithm is, but they have never seen a “C:>” in a linux system… Again, sad but true…  :-

      But as MaXe pointed out, a nicely formatted resume helps a lot, along with contacts, be member of associations (ISSA, OWASP, etc) and always be searching!

    • #37045
      rattis
      Participant

      It depends really. Some people hate them, some people love them. It depends on the hiring manger’s personal beliefs, and whoever else on the team you have to get past.

      if you have a cert, with no work experience, then probably not going to make it past the desk. If you have work experience and no certs, ok. If you have work experience and certs you might have a chance.

    • #37046
      Clay Briggs
      Participant

      I’d have to agree with the above sentiments.  I’ve kind of skimped on getting my certs though… and for the jobs I am currently after… HR won’t let me past the door without a CISSP.  Experience, references… hard-arse hr won’t let you past the door without certs.  So… I am going through the study material and planning to get the CISSP this year.  Merry Christmas to me. 😛

    • #37047
      kennut
      Participant

      simple, certs get you passed HR filtering, whether you like it or not, that’s the reality in this business / corporate world.

      they see that having certs is your own initiatives and serious about the role you’re currently doing.

      other than that, experiences and how you sell yourself counts, otherwise, if you have a lot of certs, but can’t talk / sell yourself during the interview, it’s also no good and you won’t pass the interview!

      also, most interviewer will ask you to talk about your past experiences, what do you do etc, so that’s the best time to sell whatever you did in the past.

      besides, having certs make you stand out from those “without”, really, your pay will be more than them.

    • #37048
      the_Grinch
      Participant

      I feel your pain on this subject, haven’t gotten any bytes on my resume either.  I love those letters from head hunters (3 years of experience in support) saying I look like a good fit for a programming job that requires at least 5 years of experience.

    • #37049
      XRay
      Participant

      FWIW … a CISSP and/or C|EH is a job requirement for my position.  I was very fortunate in that my company paid for a CISSP bootcamp for several of it’s employees.

    • #37050
      rabray
      Participant

      Certs are always a way of cutting the number of applications into a short list. Also from a PR point of view from the company perspective they offer value to potential clients.

      I would also suggest that perhaps you have a look in your area’s for any business meetups. Try to contact the organiser and offer to do a free presentation on security, I have done this recently on two occasions and it went quite well. I have a few more contacts and I am hopefull that I will get a project or two to work on which I can add to my CV (resume)

      See this for an example:

      http://www.glasgowtechnet.com/calendar/15676811/?from=list&offset=0

      Ok its not paid work so far, but I did learn from the challenge and I also enjoyed my time.

    • #37051
      knwminus
      Participant

      @kwkanter wrote:

      I want to know how people see certifications. I currently have SANS GCIA, MCSE, Security+ and A+, and I dont feel as if they have helped me get any interviews let alone jobs. ???

      How much experience do you have?

      If you have been a password reset ninja for 5 years than it it might not help you have those certs. It might actually look shady. If you have a couple of years in IT on a helpdesk, an admin and  you have done some infosec duties then it should help. Certs should compliment your experience or build upon it. For an example, a CCNA doing CCNA level work SHOULD have more calls from recruiters than a CCNA not doing networking at all.

      It could be the market where you are as well. Have you considered moving? I know all of those certs are wanted by the government  and government contractors. Have you looked at there?

    • #37052
      OGDeBO
      Participant

      New to the forum though not to the processes of certifications.
      In my many years in the information sec. world, I have noticed that H.R. hardly ever knows what the heck they are looking for in regards to employee experience and manager needs, so they rely way too heavily on certifications. Which I think is why many of these once sought after certs are loosing their value so quickly. The military is the worst about this I have notices as they require every member who lays a hand on a keyboard to have some type of certification, be it A+, N+ but mainly Security+.

      Pretty soon (if not already), many of these once sought after, valuable certs are going to become nothing more than a piece of paper, much like a bachelors degree.

      Too many H.R. folks and others put entirely too much emphasis on certifications because they simply do not understand their job and specifics in the IT industry. Maybe they should enforce H.R to obtain a certification for IT so they can know exact specifics of what type of people they are looking for and start using our certs we shed blood, sweat and tears for for what they are really worth.

    • #37053
      dynamik
      Participant

      For all of you that are struggling with getting hits on your resume, I suggest you create a new “resume feedback” thread and post your resume (with company names, contact information, personal details redacted). A few pointers could help you take your resume a long way. Remember that whoever is looking at yours will likely be looking at dozens or hundreds that day. Poor formatting, spelling/grammar errors, etc. will get yours introduced to the garbage can (or recycle bin).

      In regards to the original question, certs are simply one piece of the puzzle. Like formal education, experience, other credentials, they don’t guarantee anything. Some people won’t value them, others will misunderstand them, but that’s no reason to avoid pursuing them. In nearly every circumstance, they will give you a little boost.

      You need to remember that you’re marketing yourself for a job. In this light, certifications are what makes you stand out. Research the job boards and certification-related surveys to identify what’s hot. If you’re getting certs to get jobs (I personally pursue them as a personal challenge), find the one(s) that will provide the greatest ROI . For example, the CISSP and CISM are next to useless for penetration testing, but you may have to pick those up because those are what HR personnel, who are unlikely to be intimately familiar with security certs, are going to identify as indicators of competence. Now, don’t assume that the more technical ones are therefore worthless; that just gets your foot in the door. You’ll likely have several interviews that involve more technical people who are more in-the-know. They would be much more likely to appreciate that OSCP that the sweet HR lady thought was Orthopaedic Surgeons of Central PA (thanks Google).

      Also, and probably most importantly, be sure you can back up the area you’re certified in with actual knowledge. If you crammed and passed some exam years ago, how are you going to fair in an interview when questioned about that subject matter? That puts you at a disadvantage right off the bat and cheapens the quality of the cert in the eyes of the interviewer.

      Two other quick thoughts: First, network. Every job I’ve gotten (and several other offers) were a result of a personal recommendation or connection. Just get to know people. Go to local events (i.e. aforementioned professional organizations), email and PM people you want to get to know better (he ultimately declined, but my recommendation resulted in a job offer to someone in this very thread), and so on. However, don’t network with a person specifically for a job; people can tell when they’re being used. Just go out and start meeting people. You’ll likely find an opportunity or two fall in your lap before you know it (assuming you deserve it; you still need to earn it).

      Second, remember that job postings are wish lists. Who cares if they want eight years of experience? Competent people are difficult to find. When all the other applicants with eight years of experience are arrogant, poorly dressed, and/or tardy, someone with less experience who shows promise will often stand above the others.

      Finally, MaXe, you need to join Toastmasters and build up your confidence or something. Someone with your skills exudes l33tness. If a noob like me can come off as competent, there’s absolutely no reason you should have any problem 😉

    • #37054
      ziggy_567
      Participant

      They would be much more likely to appreciate that OSCP that the sweet HR lady thought was Orthopaedic Surgeons of Central PA (thanks Google).

      That’s not what the OSCP stands for?!?! You mean I’ve been studying the wrong material all this time!?!?  ;D ;D ;D

      I guess I can cancel my U-haul for Altoona, huh?

    • #37055
      jbt52
      Participant

      People have been saying for years “Oh, certs are that important, they are almost already worthless, don’t even bother” but when it comes down to it, there is nothing else that compares to the value a cert will give you as far as proving you are invested in continuing education, on staying fresh in this ever changing field, and validating the skills you already have. Better safe than sorry…  :-

    • #37056
      rattis
      Participant

      @jbt52 wrote:

      People have been saying for years “Oh, certs are that important, they are almost already worthless, don’t even bother” but when it comes down to it, there is nothing else that compares to the value a cert will give you as far as proving you are invested in continuing education, on staying fresh in this ever changing field, and validating the skills you already have. Better safe than sorry…  :-

      I completely disagree. As I’ve stated above, I’ve met a lot of people who went out and got Certs because they believed the line “Get Certifed, get a better paying job” or “Are you making at least 50k a year, if not GET YOUR MCSE”. First one I heard a lot in college, more the community college than the University, but people said it in both. The Second one, is an ad that run on the radio for about a month every couple of months. It’s for a school that teaches you how to pass the Certs.

      If you want to show me you keep up on things. 1) keep a blog. 2) find a way to work your blog into to resume, even if it’s just listed at the very end as a “book review”. But make sure it really is what it claims to be. Or include it in your cover letter. Make sure it’s a professional (ie Work related blog). Talk the stuff up if you get the phone interview. 3) Network like crazy. It actually works.

    • #37057
      BillV
      Participant

      I agree with what chrisj said above. And I know this thread is old and I’ve probably read it already – and definitely already seen this debate here and elsewere. I’m sure someone has already said this but the bottom line is that there are some employers that value certifications and some that don’t. Most show that you can take a test and have some sort of knowledge about the subject at hand. You might as well collect a few for the employers that will value them.

      On another note….

      The Second one, is an ad that run on the radio for about a month every couple of months. It’s for a school that teaches you how to pass the Certs.

      Have you ever been to one of the computertraining.com seminars? I went to the informational deal before I earned my MCSE just to see what they were all about – and I definitely never had any intention of giving them $25K for training. You meet one-on-one with a ‘recruiter,’ then sit in a group while someone gives a lecture about how great the program is, and then go back one-on-one so they can rope you in and get your money or give you a loan. I told them I had no problem spending $300 on books instead and learning on my own :-p The sad part is that when I asked her who their main market was she said “career changers.” So they get these people in there that really have no clue about anything, other than they heard the radio ad, and think they can make a change just like that to IT. I guess it’s rare that the students even get to the MCSE, most only pass one or two exams during the 6-month training.

    • #37058
      jbt52
      Participant

      Very interesting thoughts, I would not have considered keeping a blog but I can’t imagine that it would be useful in gaining an advantage over other competitors. If there is a stack of 500 resumes on someones desk, having a couple solid certs could at least get your resume set aside for consideration. A blog would not. Just one mans opinion of course.

    • #37059
      rattis
      Participant

      @dynamik wrote:

      Remember that whoever is looking at yours will likely be looking at dozens or hundreds that day. Poor formatting, spelling/grammar errors, etc. will get yours introduced to the garbage can (or recycle bin).

      That part is very true. I updated my resume in 2009, and pretty much stopped getting calls or emails even from the head hunters doing searches on the “Job Boards”. I’d send my resume out left and right but never got called back.

      I tend to update my resume every 6 months at the very least. Anyway after the first 2010 update I started to get calls again.

      Word auto-corrected Virtualization with Vitalization. I only found out last September or so, because a recruiter  recognized my name and had an old copy of my resume saved.

    • #37060
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I agree I want to be a Pen tester and see myself studying for CISSP as it seem the only way I will get into a company.

      @H1t M0nk3y wrote:

      It is the same for me kwkanter…

      It happens that just yesterday, I receive an email from a head hunter asking if I was interested in a job for the Government of Canada. While I was reading their “mandatory” and “nice-to-have” requirements, I saw things like: “at least 8 years experience in abc, at least 8 years experience in xyz, etc”. My 2 year experience in the filed isn’t enough for jobs in the gorvernment here (they usually ask a minimum of 5 years in everything).

      My certs can’t buy experience…   :'(

      Also, certs were the requirements #17 for this 3 year contract, asking for CISSP and/or CISA for a pentester job… They have no clue what they are talking about. That is why I am currently studying for CISSP even if I want to be a pentester… Sad but true…  :-

      But hey, I can’t blame them, I will be much more knowledgeable in 6 years! It goes down to the offer/demand. The more the offer, the higher the bar. The only problem is that many contracter with 8 to 10 years experience are completely disconnected from technology. Sure they know what a symmetric encryption algorithm is, but they have never seen a “C:>” in a linux system… Again, sad but true…  :-

      But as MaXe pointed out, a nicely formatted resume helps a lot, along with contacts, be member of associations (ISSA, OWASP, etc) and always be searching!

    • #37061
      caissyd
      Participant

      Yeah,

      I am writting the CISSP exam on April 2nd just because everyone is asking for it…

    • #37062
      tturner
      Participant

      @jbt52 wrote:

      Very interesting thoughts, I would not have considered keeping a blog but I can’t imagine that it would be useful in gaining an advantage over other competitors. If there is a stack of 500 resumes on someones desk, having a couple solid certs could at least get your resume set aside for consideration. A blog would not. Just one mans opinion of course.

      You don’t keep a blog to put on your resume to rise to the top of the stack. You keep a blog to get exposure within the community so you don’t have to send a resume in the first place.

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