In the November and December newsletters, we asked members to share with us their thoughts on the impact certifications have had on their careers and any advice for candidates. We received several responses and thank those members for their contributions.
The Value of Certification Throughout My Career
Marvin Marin, CISSP-ISSMP, C|CISO, CCSK, eJPT, FQNV, MBCS
When I first started in IT I was troubleshooting repairing computers for a major retailer. One day I was offered the chance to attend a free training class if I paid for the books/materials and worked my shift after the class. I jumped at the opportunity to learn something new. The moment I said yes and stuck to that grueling week changed my life forever. At the time, passing those Microsoft exams allowed me to take the next step in my career and work on networks, which led me to become the admin of my own network and eventually culminated in my being a security manager protecting our national defense infrastructure.
Throughout the years I’ve never wavered in my belief that certifications can open doors and act as a differentiator. The opportunities exist for those who are willing to put in the effort and want to achieve more. After 17 years of IT and IS experience and holding certifications like the CISSP-ISSMP, C|CISO, and CCSK, I still wanted to get the CISM and desired the challenge of studying for and passing it. I understand that these certifications demonstrate to my peers, my company and my clients that I have practical experience and expertise in my field. That’s definitely worth my time and effort.
Certifications are Must Haves
Ben Nakhavanit CPA, CISSP-ISSEP, PMP
Principal, IT Risk Management
Williams, Adley & Company-DC, LLP
Certifications are a “must-have” in our profession. Having a certification shows our clients and colleagues that we care about our profession and take pride in our work. On my team, it is encouraged and expected that you obtain at least one certification. We also point out that having a certification does not make you THE expert in that area; merely, it means you’ve reached a certain level of competence (and we expect you to know the fundamentals of your profession).
When I first started my career, I passed the CPA exam shortly after graduation, and then obtained the CISA and CISSP once I met the experience requirements. My supervisors encouraged me to get these certifications. These certifications helped me to obtain jobs ranging from the Big Four to small information security firms. I’ve seen that people with certifications are ALWAYS in demand and are sought after. I’m always learning and am enjoying the journey in this profession!
Certifications Demonstrate Your Skills and Dedication
Emmanuel Akowuah, CISA
Information Systems Auditor
Office of Inspector General
U.S House of Representatives
Obtaining my CISA certification in 2005 was one of the best things I’ve done to promote my career. I first heard about the certification from my college professor who strongly encouraged all her financial audit students at that time to carefully consider a career in IT auditing as well. I sat for the exam a year after graduating and shortly after, landed my first IT audit job with a major public accounting firm as an IT audit associate. I have no doubt that passing the CISA exam was instrumental in helping me get the job and launching my career in the industry. Since then, I’ve gone ahead to take other relevant industry related exams, however, I will always be grateful for the fact that the CISA exam helped me to get my foot in the door.
For me, obtaining an ISACA certification sends two main messages. First, it is simply a way of telling potential employers that you have the fundamental skill set needed for the related job. Second, it demonstrates that you take the discipline/industry seriously enough to dedicate the time and effort to study for the exam. Learning and promoting one’s career doesn’t stop with earning a certification, it is only the beginning. Ultimately, there is satisfaction in knowing that you are part of a body of professionals who have the credentials to back up the specialized knowledge and skills required to perform in your role.
Established in 1974, ISACA GWDC is one of the oldest ISACA chapters and has a strong history of serving its members. The GWDC is comprised of over 3,300 members in a variety of IT professions across the Washington, D.C. area.