I’m Certified…Now What?1 | 2 |
Pursue Low-Cost CPEs
Most of the highly sought-after certifications require a certain number of continuing professional education (CPE) hours to keep the professional up-to-date on the latest trends and guidance, and to maintain the designation. Luckily, more and more certification bodies are offering low- or no-cost opportunities to earn the required hours.
The nonprofit Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), for example, offers a free e-symposium every month, providing attendees with three CPE credit hours for each symposium they attend. Readers of the association’s bimonthly ISACA Journal also can take a brief quiz and earn additional CPE credits.
Certification holders are in a fraternity of sorts: They know how hard the process is and what struggles new certification candidates are experiencing. Serving as a mentor or facilitating a course to help those studying for certification not only is a way of giving back, but also keeps professionals current and involved in the next generation of staff members.
“Since obtaining my latest certification, I have truly enjoyed sharing my experience with various nonprofit association committees and boards,” Brisebois said. “Volunteering on these committees has helped me pass my knowledge to others, stay current and meet with other professional colleagues from around the world.”
Don’t assume that attaining a certification means that you’ll know everything about the particular area or that you even need to know everything. When confronted with new or difficult situations, consult with colleagues. Other points of view are extremely valuable.
Also, stay up-to-date. Few industries move faster than information technology, so a certification holder needs to keep pace.
“When people are freshly certified, they are still close to the books and theory,” Ataya said. “I advise professionals to refer back to the review manuals and other material they used for their studies. It helps greatly to ensure that they continue to master the knowledge in their professional activity. After time goes by and [they] gain more hands-on expertise, they do not need to refer back to those documents as frequently.”
Finally, keep in mind that even the most seasoned professionals — after many years in the business, extensive travel and a wide array of business experiences — still begin most days asking themselves: “Now what?”
Lynn Lawton, CISA, FBCS CITP, FCA, FIIA, is international president of ISACA and the IT Governance Institute. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certification a Must in Today’s Economy
Certification is not just a nice-to-have in organizations today — it has become a near requirement for professional advancement. And there is a growing global appreciation for certifications, most notably in the Asia Pacific region.
At RSM Bird Cameron, for example, all IT systems audits must be approved by a certified person. Systems auditors who have passed the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) examination but are still working toward gaining enough experience to attain the credential must work with a CISA and have their work reviewed and signed off on by the certified individual before it can be released to the client.
The same is true of security reviews: Only Certified Information Security Managers (CISMs) may review and sign off on such work before it is released — and governance assignments may only be undertaken by Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) professionals.
I’m often asked by people in the security sector about the benefits of certification. The question usually is: “I’ve been doing this work for years. Why do I need a credential?” The answer is quite straightforward: It gives prospective employers or clients an understanding of your areas of expertise and a view of your professionalism and ethical nature. In some sectors, credentialed individuals are paid higher salaries than those who are not.
All IT professionals should make the effort and pursue the credentials that will benefit their individual careers.
Jo Stewart-Rattray, CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CSEPS, is director of information security at RSM Bird Cameron in Adelaide, Australia. She can be reached at email@example.com | 2 |