If you’ve been around the cert world for any length of time you’ve already heard about ISACA. ISACA used to be an acronym for Information Systems Audit and Control Association, but they forwent the underlying expansion and switched their name to the acronym a few years back. ISACA is best known for its Certified Information Systems Audit (CISA) and its Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credentials, but has somewhat recently come out with a couple more credentials: the Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT: 2007) and the Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC: 2010).
I’ll write about the CRISC (pronounced “see-risk”) some other time; today, my subject is the CGEIT (I don’t see a preferred pronunciation for this credential, but I’m in favor of “see-gite” where gite rhymes with kite). This credential is like the CRISC and the PMP in that it stresses skills that more senior IT professionals are likely to find useful in their jobs, particularly in lead technical or managment positions where an understanding of governance, risk management, and project management are ALL likely to come into play at one time or another.
A closer look at the CGEIT shows it to be squarely aimed at IT governance topics, and is a joint effort between ISACA and the IT Governance Institute (ITGI). There’s a pretty comprehensive list of study materials available online, that show a profound preference for ITGI, ValIT, and COBIT framework literature and materials. Thus, to some extent, the CGEIT can be veiwed as an alternative to similar certifications available from the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). In both arenas, the emphasis is to understand and use prevailing best practices and modules for IT operations and governance, with particular emphasis on how to align IT with an organization’s business objectives or explicit charter. This includes a determination to rationalize and manage investments in and use of IT to achieve the best return on investment (ROI), to minimize risk and exposure, and to establishing an environment where continuous improvement on processes and policies guides all planning and activity.
For those who plan to work in IT over the long haul, particularly for those inclined to climb either a technical or a mangement job ladder in IT, the CGEIT (or something like it in the ITIL space) is an excellent “soft skills” credential that can augment and extend a person’s knowledge and skills outside inherently technical, or platform- or technology-specific domains. It’s definitely worth looking into, and perhaps even pursuing for those who find its subject matter interesting enough to justify at least three months’ of study and preparation and a $375-475 exam.