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Re: CISSP-ISSMP
From: Bob Radvanovsky <rsradvan () unixworks net>
Date: Tue, 09 May 2006 08:30:11 -0500

This doesn't surprise me.  Nor does it surprise me that now, many people are finding out that their certifications are 
either meaningless, or have significantly less value than what they were lead to believe.  It is almost like 'snake oil 
salesmen', promising a cure to an ailment that sassafrass oil doesn't have any medical correlation with.  Certification 
companies stipulate that certified people have a better chance at getting jobs -- not true anymore.  A recent survey 
concluded that people *are not* getting those jobs based upon their certifications.  Some companies stipulate that 
certifications may get you more money in places you are already employed.  Again, not true.  I have known folks who 
have passed their CISSP -- or whathaveyou -- certification, only to have IT management say "that's nice", and move on.  
They're still doing the same job, with no pay increase, and no job structure realignment.

Can't say that I've told many of you that "I told you so" -- but -- "I told you so".  ;P

What companies want are well-rounded people (not literally; if we did, we'd have a seriously huge problem here) with a 
balance between education, certification, experience, know-how, abilities, and willingness to 'do the right thing'.

Many 'security jobs' are nothing shy than that of an overly glorified 'security guard' job: you sit in front of a desk, 
and *wait* for a telephone call or alter to pop up on your monitor screen.  It is purely RE-active, not PRO-active.  
People feel that if they get a certification, that they will get a chance at the glitz and glamour, see the sights, and 
most importantly, get paid...well.  It's all a lie.  You are just another 'security monkey' to The System, and your 
role is one of thousands to fulfill a role for something else.  Sure, they want you to get your CISSP (and if you 
read/listened to what you said, you might understand what I'm saying here, friend) so they can charge more for your 
efforts.  The key words here are "charge more for *your* efforts".  Does that mean that *you* will get paid more?  
Doubtful.  If at all, all you've done is justified your existence in that organization for an <X> period of time, 
before they either don't need you any longer, don't want you any longer, or plan on selling your company.  The fact is, 
you, like so many out there, believe that all of this will save your sorry butts, prevent you from getting laid off, 
and get you some more money.  I'm sorry, but in the world today, that's just sooooo wrong.

Today's scale of economy doesn't work based on the hard work ethic principle any more.  It's much, much different now: 
"How can I make as much money as possible, doing the least amount of work possible, while retaining the least amount of 
people possible?"  Those kinds of questions are what's going through your manager's or their manager's minds.  There 
are a few "pockets" out there that reward people for their hard work and efforts.  But let's face it, Corporate America 
doesn't care, except for 'bottom line'.  That's it.  Nothing more.

If you get a certification, or an education somewhere, that's nice.  Good for you!  You got it because you *wanted* to 
get it, because you feel that it's something that will help you, both externally and (more importantly) internally.  
Not because you *think* you will get more money.  If your *sole* purpose is to get money, you're doing it all for the 
wrong reasons.  The certification companies *want* you to believe the money idealism at all costs, and, of course, 
*charge* both you and organization for getting there.  Of course, if you don't get what you want, you can come back, 
and take another class, and another, and another...

Let me share a few insights with you...

I have several degrees, including a Masters of Science degree, with close to 28 certifications (not all are 
IT-related).  I've been in this business for OVER 28 years, and have seen all sorts of flim-flam artists come and go, 
and people promising the sun, moon and stars.  The certification folks provide *some* utility, but not for what you 
think it's for.  It's a 'weeding mechanism'; that is, when you get tired at your currently lillypad, and decide to move 
to another lillypad, and there is a tie between you and another candidate, the recruiter or HR person will look at 
*both* of your qualficiations and see if there is something that stands out between the two of you.  If you have a 
certification, and they don't, and the job stipulates that a certification is "recommended", it's simple: you -- more 
than likely -- you might get the job.  But then, I've seen other factors play into things, too.  Some companies are 
cost-conscientious, where 'bottom line' rules.  If the other candidate is a senior-level technician, has 15 years 
exerpience, and wants $80,000, versus someone else who has 5-7 years experience, and wants only $55,000, then it's 
really a moot point.  No matter what the person has done, or is capable of doing, companies will make a decision based 
*solely* upon the salary and NOT upon the job qualfications (which I have seen soooo many times in the past).  Also, 
most recruiters are considered 'technical idiots'; that is, they know some of the lingo and terms, but cannot figure 
out if someone is performing a 'snow job' on them or not.  In most cases, it comes down to the hiring manager to help 
filter through all the junk, to determine if someone is (truly) trying to pull a fast one on them.  Sooner or later, 
the truth comes out if that individual is trying to pull a fast one, but lately, it doesn't seem to work any more.  
Also, recruiters and HR people have 'quotas' -- of course, they'll deny that they have quotas, but this is bunk.  How 
many times have you applied for a job, only to find out that there are 6 other ones like the one you are applying for, 
different titles, all pointing to the EXACT SAME JOB?  This phenomenon is becoming more and more prevalent these days, 
thanks for online job-boards such as Monster of Hotjobs.  And, of course, recruiters want you to work with them because 
of the 'exclusivity' that they have to offer.  Rrrrrrrrright.  The *best* jobs -- believe it not -- never make it to 
the recruiter's organization.  What the recruiters get are the 'scum jobs' -- the hard-to-fill jobs that no one can, or 
will want, to fill.  They are simply trying to find a person, who matches <X>% of the qualifications, to fill that 
role.  Period.  End of discussion.  It's all a matter of economics.

I currently work with a 'technical idiot', but this person is shrewd and cunning.  They leave just minutes before an 
event happens, often times, leaving me to do all of the work.  We are a 'team' -- so long as I do ALL of the technical 
grunt work, while he gets to attend meetings and drink coffee all day (yes, it's striaght out of Dilbert, or the movie 
"Office Space", if you've ever watched it -- excellent movie).  Doesn't sound fair, does it?  Life isn't fair, and 
neither is working in a corporate environment.  Get used to it, kiddo.  You're going to see more and more people who 
have a 'technical IQ' of an ant, but the prowisness and cunning to that of a puma.  Not all IT or IT security people 
actually *know* what they're doing.  That's why they've got...you.

Many of them, are nothing more than 'paperpushers'; most of them rely on people like *you* to do the job that they 
*should* be doing, but fill other roles like 'customer relations'.  Sometimes, it works for the better.  Many (often 
times, most) times, it does not.  Most people and organizations are lazy, and want to lay claim that it is someone 
else's fault for not getting the job done.  This is why we have job segmentation/compartmentalization today.  Or 
haven't you noticed?  You do ONE thing in your job -- THAT'S IT.  The Days of Generalized Specialization are almost 
dead.  Companies don't want "generalists".  They want "specialists".  And why do you ask?  So, when they have no 
further need of your services, they simply get rid of you, your job, or your position entirely.  It's all "ala carte" 
nowadays.  And the certifications are an almost *direct* correlation to that mindset.

Finally, it's not *what* you know, it's *who* you know that counts these days, what connections you have, how 
well-to-do you are, and if you have any *influence* that you can exert over your 'target' (that being a manager).  And 
the security industry is no exception.  In fact, it's far more political than standard IT-related work, because of the 
'human factor' involved.  You interact with humans more often than computers, and thus, the amount of politics 
increases accordingly.  It is very proportional.

Know that you're not the only person who's going through this.  Many other technicians and security folk alike, will 
probably agree with me that this is more commonplace today than ever before.  Those of us who are "old farts" (been in 
'da biz for more than 10 years), know that times are changing -- rapidly.  I don't what other advise I can give you, 
except be flexible, and always keep looking.  I've been doing the same durn thing now for over 15 years.  Does it get 
tiring?  You bet it does, esp. when you aren't appreciated nearly as much as the next person.  But, be thankful that 
you even have a job in a time when our jobs are continually being threatened by outsourcing, or worse, offshoring.  
Unless you like curry chicken, you have to keep your options open...and your mouth shut.  If you don't like what you 
have at your place, move on; otherwise, find ways to work with the psychodynamics of your workplace, of which there are 
plenty of books out there on the subject.  ;))

Hope this helped...

-r

----- Original Message -----
From: Nathaniel Hirsch [mailto:nh2 () njit edu]
To: Mohamed Abdel Kader [mailto:makster12 () hotmail com]
Cc: pen-test () securityfocus com
Subject: Re: CISSP-ISSMP


I recently got my CISSP.  The company that I work for paid for me to
go to a class, and take the test assuming I passed. If I failed then
the $500 would be on my nickle.  Thankfully I did not fail.  The main
reason they wanted me to get my CISSP is now they can charge more for
the work they contract me out to, this and you need it or some other
equivalent to do level 3 and 4 DITSCAP testing.  As for an ROI after I
passed a got a 15% raise which was nice, but I was also up for a
raise, so I can not tell you how much that was due to the CISSP, and
how much was due to my overall performance at the company.  Personally
I feel that the exam and certification process is a waste of time, and
so does everyone else at the company, but they are needed, or so they
say.  However we have a guy who works here who is a CISSP and a
CEH(certified ethical hacker), and to be truthful, he is quite
possible the most worthless tester I have ever had to work with, and
everyone else in the office knows this.  So having the cert doesn't
make you good, and doesn't prove to anyone that you have experience or
skill.  It just proves that you can pick the correct answer out of a
four possible answer on a 250 question multiple choice exam. As for
giving an out of 10 scale for everything you mentioned I guess they
would all be 5s because it all really depends on a lot of other
things.  As for what job its good for, I would have to say more
managerial then anything else.  The topics covered are really only
puddle deep, not enough to know whats going on, just enough to know
that it is going on though.


Nathaniel Hirsch, CISSP
Xacta Corporation
656 Shrewsbury Ave.
Shrewsbury, NJ 07702

On 5/8/06, Mohamed Abdel Kader <makster12 () hotmail com> wrote:
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone out there did the CISSP-ISSMP concentration.
I want to know the value added in the areas listed below, in an out of 10
scale for example:

    Total ROI
    Career Advancement
    Industry Demand
    Raise Potential

    Suitable for what job/position (not an out of 10 answer of course :))

I also want to know the material to study from.

Thanks a million.
MAK


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This List Sponsored by: Cenzic

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Choice Award from eWeek. As attacks through web applications continue to rise,
you need to proactively protect your applications from hackers. Cenzic has the
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