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CIS 608 - Information Security Management

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Post 060 - CIS 608

Week 11 Discussion Question - IT Professional Certifications, Value and Relevance

Assignment 11.2 (post to the Week 11 Forum)

This assignment is worth 50 points; 25 points for your original posting, and 25 points for participation.

List any certifications you currently hold, including type, date of creditation, etc. (If you don't currently hold any certifications, start from here). List any certifications you are planning on acquiring. Post your opinion on certifications in general. Was it worth the time and money to acquire your current certs? Would you recommend them to others? Which do you think has more credibility when looking at resumes, certifications or formal education or experience? If your answer depends upon the type of job, include that information.

Professor Sparks, thanks for posting this question.

These are my responses.

--- > List any certifications you currently hold, including type, date of creditation, etc.

My certifications are listed at this link along with the name, abbreviation, certifying body, and the date I achieved them. . By the way, I am proud to tell all of you that I am the most certified individual in the entire Midwest.

--- > List any certifications you are planning on acquiring.

These are certifications I plan to earn in the next 12 months:

· Data Center University by APC

· Oracle Certified Associate

· Certified Java Developer

· Cloud Computing Expert

o This is the Cloud Computing Pathway program:

§ Cloud Computing Foundation

§ Cloud Computing Specialist - Virtualization

§ Cloud Computing Specialist - SaaS and Web Applications

§ Cloud Computing Specialist - PaaS and Storage Management

§ Cloud Computing Specialist - Services Management

§ Cloud Computing Specialist - Managing Services in the Cloud

§ Cloud Computing Expert - Master (when you pass the 6 above)

I am doing this because:

a) I am a dedicated and seasoned IT professional who sees Cloud Computing as the next disruptive paradigm shift

b) I used to manage a Cloud Data Center so I know what happens and how it works and looks from the inside

c) I am ITIL Foundation v2 and v3 certified and I know what that is about

d) I ran an enormous ITIL Services migration project not long ago

e) I enjoy learning new stuff and getting certified in it, especially when it seems to be the next BIG THING in IT.

--- > Post your opinion on certifications in general.

My opinion is expressed in a blog entry that I wrote on October 14, 2011, for my blog at IIT on this same topic:

In a Tough Economy, What Skills & Certifications Do You Really Need?

I get asked this question a lot. In fact, since this will be read by a lot of students and faculty, I will share some advice I gave someone about three weeks ago. This person, who actually has an M.S. in Information Technology, was proposing that IT certifications alone would suffice to help a person get the IT job of their dreams.

I am with one of the world’s best companies at the moment, and I am very happy with my job and the people I work with, so I am planning on staying here as long as possible.

But I laugh at the people that think they can move ahead in the IT field without a degree or multiple degrees in this field. They do not realize that despite what they sincerely believe about saving money and getting a few certifications, and skipping the formal education, they are doing themselves considerable career harm in the long run, because they cannot get back the years they wasted believing that poppycock. And actually, it’s good because it helps decrease the competition for guys like you and me. Also, they don’t realize that despite what they believe about being successful without formal education, they have peers and people younger than them who will get a clue and realize what it takes to succeed, and set their course and do it.

When I was a young U.S. Air Force officer, we asked a USAF Colonel about the secret of advancing your career in the U.S. Air Force. Here’s what he said:

“Look around and see what your peers are doing. If they are getting master’s degrees and going to Squadron Officers School, you better be doing the same.”

In Houston, I lived through a severe economic downturn. There was a story about a guy who had a B.S. in Geophysics who went into a Burger King to find work because he had been laid off and out of work for three months. When he met with the manager, he explained that since he had B.S. in Geophysics he was probably over qualified. The manager said this: “Not so fast Buddy, all our hamburger flippers and cashiers have master’s degrees and PhDs.”

If you are a normal person like you or me, you will try to understand the laws of Supply and Demand and the Market and the Economy, and then do what it takes to succeed. if that means hard work, certifications, education, etc., we will do it. But if you are like the guy that asked the question, and you have an “inside scoop”, you can just pick up a few easy certifications, the ones that DON’T REQUIRE CPE credits, and you may be good to go, and then you can save all that money that people spend on formal education.

However, my experience, knowledge, and time in the IT profession tell me that person that believes that certifications alone are sufficient may soon find out the hard way that he is totally wrong. The trouble is that there could be a lot of wasted time if and when he wakes up and realizes the truth.

Anyway, here’s something about education that all of you can print and put on your wall:

Finally, if you think that you are planning a career in Information Technology, where you can be the world’s greatest programmer, or world’s greatest database administrator, or the world’s greatest networking person, or the world’s greatest system administrator, or the world’s greatest security person, or the world’s greatest project manager, Good Luck! Here is a big surprise for you: A future employer may expect you to be all those things. Don’t believe me? Look what happened in the IT career field between 1997 and 2007.

Almost forgot, most of those same employers also expect you to be polished and have strong communication skills in writing, speaking, and LISTENING. (Yes - Listening a form of communication also.)

Your response? That’s not fair!!!

My response: Life’s not fair. So, do you want to work or be unemployed and live off your parents? If the answer to that question is, “No,” then you need to study hard and stay busy learning.

So study hard. And stay thirsty for Knowledge and Skills my friends!

Best regards,


William F. Slater, III, M.S., MBA, PMP, CISSP, SSCP, CISA, ISO 27002, ISO 20000, ITIL v3, MCITP, MCSE, MCSD, CDCP

Chicago, IL


--- > Was it worth the time and money to acquire your current certs?

Yes. I never earned a certifications that wasn’t worth it.

--- > Would you recommend them to others?

If people are willing to put in the time, effort and money, yes, I would recommend certifications.

--- > Which do you think has more credibility when looking at resumes, certifications or formal education or experience?

I have 71 certifications and two master’s degrees and am 17% of the way through with my third master’s degree, this time an M.S. in Cybersecurity (which is why I am here).

I believe that the solid IT professional will have certifications, formal education, and experience, and that they will also belong to and maintain membership in organizations that are related to their profession.

These are the organizations that I belong to:


Association for Computing Machinery

Chicago Chapter of the Internet Society

(President and Founder)

Data Center Professionals Network

EC Council

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Federal IT Security Institute

IEEE Computer Society

Institute for Data Center Professionals, Charter Member and Newsletter Editor

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc., (ISC)

International Society for Auditing and Control Association (ISACA) - Member

Internet Society, Supporting Member

Microsoft Alumni Network

Microsoft Partner Program

Microsoft Developer Network

The Planetary Society

Project Management Institute

Triton College Advisory Board Member

Uptime Institute

--- > If your answer depends upon the type of job, include that information.

If a person’s job demands one or more certifications, then that person certainly needs to get busy.

Final comments about certifications:

1) Thanks to a lot of respectable certifications and a good resume and education, I get about 15 to 20 job offers via education and e-mail, every Monday through Friday.

2) If you have a website or a profile, having certifications will definitely help your ranking in the search engines. To see what I mean, Search on these strings using Google :

Pmp cissp Chicago

Also check this page out and see the most popular pages at my website,

3) No one should pursue certifications that have additional requirements for continuing professional education (CPE) unless they are willing to put forth the time, energy, and money to actually pursue the CPEs to keep the certification(s) current. I have four current certifications that require these CPEs:


4) The most shocking thing to me about certifications is how much people have ridiculed me for pursuing certifications and how many jealous people will publicly and privately trash talk me for being driven to each these achievements. I really think that people should mind their own business and keep their negative opinions to themselves. I am not hurting anyone my pursuing endeavors that help my career ( ). Maybe they need to get busy and get a life, some certifications and their own website.

When I graduated from high school in May 1973, I had eight scholarships and I attended Memphis State University and earned a four year Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology degree with a major in Computer Systems Technology in May 1977. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being achievement oriented and I think people who engage in negative behaviors toward me regarding my intelligence, certifications, and technical abilities are usually guilty of repeatedly breaking the 9th and 10th Commandments of the original Ten Commandments and that one day, in some way, they will have to answer to God for all the ways they have tried to hurt me.

But until that day, I’ll just be getting more education and certifications, and they can pursue their own path, whatever that is.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Best regards,

William Favre Slater, III, PMP
MBA, M.S., PMP, CISSP, SSCP, CISA, ISO 27002, ISO 20000, ITIL v3, Cloud Computing Foundation
Project Manager / Program Manager
Group 2
CIS 608 Blog:
Chicago, IL

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