Certifications in IT security took a value dip in pay for the first time since 2006, but it does not mean security skills or security jobs are not in demand. Non-certified skills in Web services, SOA, networking, application development and database are all hot commodities over the last three months.
in security may have jumped the shark a bit. Supply is catching up with demand
as the pay value of security certifications has taken a slight dip over the
last quarter, reported one research analyst group that intimately tracks IT
skills, certifications and pay.
Security careers have been on the rise with
expanding social network threats, major data breach news, dangers in mobile
computing, insecurity of web application and commerce platforms and a spectrum
of IT management concerns from compliance issues to threat detection
competencies. Security is a technology and IT management migraine headache that
isn't getting easier or less costly to fix. In the past few years, many
technology workers concerned about the economy have turned toward security jobs
and have obtained industry certifications, shared David Foote, Chief Research
Officer and founder of technology research analyst company Foote Partners based
in Vero Beach, Fla.
"The volatility we are seeing in security
certifications has not been the trend for the last four years," Foote told
eWEEK in an interview. "In the past, the value of security certifications was
steadily rising and consistently outperforming all other IT certifications.
Whereas companies had been very lean in the people part of security, they
started to increase staffing aggressively in the past 2 years as disparate
threats from many technology sources took hold."
Some companies went internal and converted systems
and network administrators in to security professionals as most companies had
been reluctant to outsource security. But that appears to be changing some.
Many enterprises are experimenting with managed security services in a host of
intrusion, access control and threat monitoring product offerings. Research
estimates from technology analysts like Forrester and Infonetics peg the
managed security services sector to be between a $4 billion to $9 billion a
"[A] new comfort level for managed security
services in large enterprises as a legitimate strategic and tactical option,"
said Foote in an Oct. 29 statement. "It's hard to build a security organization
or increase in-house capabilities without the ability to hire and pay
competitive wages and sufficiently invest in internal training and retention of
skilled security talent. And to do it at an accelerated pace to make up for
years of inadequate commitment to, and funding of, information security
functions has put many organizations in a deep hole..."
Yet, from a careers perspective, Foote told eWEEK
security is a "can't miss" direction for an IT worker. Foote shared that it
takes about 2 years of technical competency to gain traction in this segment,
and he believes that while there has been a dip in certification values in
terms of pay, it's not because the certifications themselves are devalued; it
is that more and more IT workers are heading toward security and increasing the
supply of certified security professionals in a time of slower hiring--except
in the Federal government who is hiring IT security people regularly.
This isn't to say all security certification are
doing poorly in the last quarter. Cyber-security forensic analysts, the SANS
Institute's Incident Intrusion Analyst, and ISC squared certs are performing
If you are looking for security work, there are
many companies in the managed security space to target, and target them you
should, suggests Foote. The market includes big names in IT and
telecommunications to smaller, security-only firms. Here are most of them who
offer managed security services globally according to Forrester Research: IBM, SecureWorks,
Trustwave, AT&T, Symantec, HP, Wipro, CSC, Verizon Business, BT
Global Services, Unisys, CGI, Infosys, Fujitsu, HCL,
Integralis, Savvis, Solutionary, and Tata Communications.