IT Certifications Bring More Value Than College Degree




The information technology professional has a different occupational landscape view than most, and if he or she isn’t willing to learn or hone their craft quickly, it can mean falling behind, or worse, exiting the industry altogether.

That’s where certifications come in. In an industry such as IT, where developments are being made daily, it’s imperative employees keep up to date on the technologies they’re using on a daily basis. It’s not only worthwhile to keep skills sharpened, but it can help to advance someone’s career more quickly.

What separates IT certifications from other educational processes is how they’re ranked and sought by employers. Some would contest a prospective employee with no formal education but certain certifications under his belt would be more of an asset to the enterprise than a recent graduate from a college or university.

When it comes to mobile security, an ever-evolving vector in the IT world, training and certifying needs to remain constant.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange spoke with Frank Martinez, IT Security Analyst with Miami Dad College, who said, “As certs focus more on specific technical skills and knowledge, they are the more appropriate gauge for the skill sets that one needs to perform the technical operations of a security team."

“I like to think of it as the inverse of how the medical field works,” Martinez continued. “In medicine, everyone starts with pre-med, then becomes an MD, and then specializes. In IT, it often does work in an inverse path. One would begin with the more focused target of a specific technology and then acquire broader knowledge over time with exposure to other aspects of an organization’s operations. As the employee matures, both within the organization and within their own career path, their skills broaden and mature accordingly.”

While the four-year degree has its place in business, clearly – Martinez believes anyone aspiring to enter management and higher-level positions should obtain a skillset offered by a college or university – they’re not conducive to career development when it’s already underway.

“Once you’ve taken the courses and finally graduated, you’re about two to three years behind the curve,” said Melanie Seekins, Chair of Credentialed Mobile Device Security Professional (CMDSP.org), a non-profit agency offering certifications across mobile verticals. “Certifications are an integral part of what IT workers need, a degree is secondary. Employers are looking for certifications before degrees.”

The world of mobile security is drastically changing about every six months, Seekins said, and the evolution of training goes right along with the growth of IT, which means there’s no limit to how many certifications can be obtained, and the number of professionals in need of the proper training is limitless as well.

“In the world of security, you want to go after hacking,” Seekins said. “Breaking into a phone, deprogramming a phone, and doing hands-on training. But you also want to teach the basics of mobility: signals, etc. What are the necessary skills needed to focus, how to code an application strategy, what is a mobile strategy and so on.”

These training courses can bring credentials to the student in a matter of days, not weeks, months, or years, which is another major selling point for the IT worker, Seekins said. Not having any real-world experience but completing certified training will at the very least show future employers the willingness to learn the craft.

While the learning and training process may be shorter in the IT certification realm, there’s still a dearth of empty seats across the nation’s enterprises. As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, cyber security as a whole – across all IT landscapes – has more than 348,000 vacancies and 778,402 professionals currently employed.

Mobile security and how to combat it is as hot a topic now than it’s ever been, and will be the focal point of an executive panel at the upcoming Enterprise Mobility Exchange Security West Coast event. Panelists will be discussing the topic “The Next Generation of Security Soldiers: Who’s Right for the Job?” Analysts and end users will touch on issues like ensuring the enterprise has the right people in place to handle security threats and breaches; what are the proper skills necessary for your particular business; and can hackers help your initiatives?

The Exchange will be held in Phoenix, Arizona on April 24 and 25, and feature speakers Nick Savage, Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Cybersecurity for the FBI, who will share his unique view and insight on the world of mobile devices and the security needed to keep threats away, which will encompass the topic from edge to edge.

Also speaking is Data Privacy and Cyber Law Attorney Jamal Hartenstein, who will wade into the issues of how a breach or data loss can result in a civil lawsuit, costing the enterprise millions and millions of dollars; how legislation is not catching up with the daily changes in technology – both from hacking capabilities to security measures; and how enterprises can, and must, keep their mobile security policies polished at all times.

The Exchange is an invite-only strategy meeting devoted to information sharing and intimate networking and business opportunities for CIOs, CISOs, VPs, Directors and heads of IT across all industries. The two-day event is packed end-to-end with speakers, roundtables, and think tanks, along with devoted networking sessions.

To learn more about the Exchange format and how it works, visit the Security West Coast site here.

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