IT Career JumpStart

May 22 2009   4:11PM GMT

Does IT Certification or Training Make a Difference?

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

One question that comes up all the time in reader e-mail and interaction, and in my “Ask the Expert” dialogs, is the one that entitles today’s blog. Actually, this has been on a lot of people’s minds lately–as a quick perusal of my earlier postings here and elsewhere will ascertain, and as many other pundits and experts have also opined–and it’s on SearchNetworking’s mind as well. In fact, the editors have asked me to poll my readers for profiles of individuals who have benefited, career-wise, from obtaining an IT certification, or completing some course of IT training (which may or may not have resulted in a degree, a certificate of completion, or some other credential).

To prime the pump, I’ll share a story with you, based on close personal experience. In 1994, I met a young man at a local computer store who seemed knowledgeable and on the ball. I asked him to do some work for me, which he did with enthusiasm and energy, and one thing soon led to another. By 1997, I’d not only hired him full-time but had gotten him started on his MCSE, which he finished in 1998. By the time we quit working together in 2001–I had sold my company, and we’d all gotten trounced in the dot bomb of 2000/2001, and he decided he could do better off on his own–he’d also earned a CISSP, a CEH, and was starting to dig into the SANS certification program with verve and gusto.

He went on to become a full-time classroom instructor, primarily on information security topics. He now makes his living mostly teaching overseas for a company that contacts with the Department of Defense to teach military personnel about information security topics, prepping those folks in uniform to earn their CISSPs. Needless to say, he’s doing extremely well, and has carved out a very comfortable career for himself, wear and tear from a 50-plus-percent travel schedule notwithstanding. I no longer know how much money he makes (nor is it really my business to know any more) but I’m sure that his annual earnings are in the six figure range (and not the very bottom of that range, either). Not bad for somebody in his mid-thirties, eh?

I’m sure there are lots of other stories like this one to share, and I hope you’ll share them with me and We’d like to review your input to this request and profile a few of the most outstanding responses, both here in my blog and in articles on the site as well. So please drop us an email at, or post a reply to this blog in the comments, so I can follow up with you. May the best story win, and earn adulation and envy from all your peers!

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