Did you know that there are currently over 300,000 unfilled Information Security jobs in the US, and over a million across the world?
Did you know that the median earnings of persons holding IT Security certifications with 3 or more years’ experience is more than $95,000 annually?
In this supply and demand economy, with a low demand of skilled IT professionals and a high supply of available jobs, this is the time for you take ownership of your professional development. Achieving certification will provide you with career mobility and stability.
How do you get your boss to pay for your Certification training? A lot of companies choose to outsource their security functions to a third party organization, even though that is an expensive solution. To get the financial support of your company, you need to show them the value they will receive in paying for your certifications.
Below are some things to consider when making your case:
- Know what objections you will face. Knowing is half the battle. If the objection will be limited security budget, then focus on the financial benefits of certification. Inform them of the savings of having trained staff in-house and eliminating the need for third-party tech contractors. If the objection will be based on the lack of a professional development culture at your workplace, make the case of pointing out the internal skills gaps, and the trending changes in the information security industry. Put together a list of certifications that will provide the skillset to reduce or eliminate the skills gap.
- Know what skills are in demand. – Outline the skills performed in your current role, and what skills gaps there are internally. Know which certifications will provide the skills you need to bridge the gap. Create a link between in demand skills, your company’s information security related goals, and your chosen certification path to show value.
- Rate your current skills and show how achieving a certification will improve them. – Take a good look at what you currently bring to the table and what you could improve upon for both your role, and the organization as a whole. Always tie back to how improving your skillset will provide value to the organization. Be prepared to use data to back up your analysis. Perhaps taking a practice exam in a competency you are trying to achieve and then pointing out the weak areas, and how training and certification will provide opportunities for improvement.
- Calculate what it will costs- provide a realistic estimate of what your training and certification will costs your employer, and the ROI they will receive on the investment. Research exam fees, tuition, books, time taken off work to attend class. It will show your employer you have prepared carefully and considered the impact. Explain to your employer the return on investment can come from risk avoidance in the future such as:
- Avoiding a breach
- Preventing downtime
- Improved continuous improvement
- Better compliance audit results
- Focus on your Employer and team – Know that you must be able to show value for your employer. Make sure your presentation’s focus is on specific business needs within your organization and how your obtaining skills training and certification can improve your company’s security posture. If your team is understaffed, present solutions on how your duties will be handled in your absence. You could offer to train a junior employee to handle your duties while you are in class.
- Practice your pitch – Have a compelling story supported by data. Practice delivering your pitch with a friend or family member to make sure you have responses for all possible objections. Be ready to address the following items in your pitch:
- How you will apply the certification in the near term
- How long it will take for training and preparation
- KPI’s for measuring success
- Costs of training and certification
- Putting Knowledge to work- If you have convinced your employer to sponsor your certification, now you must deliver results. Use the skills you learned to improve security and demonstrate using measurable indicators the impact on risk, process efficiencies or cost. Share your knowledge with other members of your team.
In summary, the severity of the skills gap in relation to Cyber Security puts professionals at an advantage for making the case for professional development. Demonstrating how training and certification can improve your performance and reduce your company’s security risk will provide you with a compelling pitch for your employer to invest in you, for the greater good of the organization.
Systems Atlanta has offers a full line of Cyber Security certification courses, and is a Pearson VUE testing center. Want more information about our classes? Please be sure to visit our schedule page here for more information and complete an information request to have one of our training specialist help you plan your future.