- Author: Dan Young, CCIE, PMP and VP of Operations at StormWind
If you’re like me, a lot of what jump-started your IT career were certifications. I got my first job because I had my A+, MCSE NT 4.0, and N+. To develop my career, I pursued Cisco certs, including CCIE, which established me further. But what do you do when you get that manager title? Should you continue on the exact same cert paths, pursuing core IT certifications? I think the answer is a definite no. It is wise to narrow down your focus to those certifications that are appropriate for a manager, director, VP, CIO, or CTO. Think if you are a Cisco specialist (like I was), after you become a manager, should you get your next (or first) CCIE? Or, if you are a virtualization specialist, should you get VCAP? Ask yourself what you are going to be doing as a manager. Most likely, you are no longer a “doer.” You needed to pivot to delegating tasks, even those tasks you might be able to do as well or better than your team. Thinking like a manager does extend to how you better yourself, too.
I’d propose a few certifications that make sense for those that have a management-focus.
CISSP – For those who need to prove they have the full spectrum of what it takes to think as a cybersecurity professional. This is an absolutely massive course, but it really has the most industry cred for a CISO or cybersecurity practitioner or manager. What is great is that practitioners and managers both can benefit from this cert. To pursue this certification, you need to qualify beforehand, so be aware of the requirements. The biggest prerequisite is that “Candidates must have a minimum of five years cumulative paid work experience in two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP CBK.” But if you meet the requirements, this should be among those at the top of your list. For more info, check out this page:
PMP – Although nontechnical, the PMP certification is on par with the CISSP certification in terms of recognition outside of the IT-space. Even still, many IT managers get this certification because they have to deal with projects so frequently. The mindset of a PMP is fundamentally different. It can make you a far more effective manager (whether or not your primary duty is project management). Like the CISSP, there are hard requirements to get your PMP, the largest of which is to have managed projects for 36 to 60 months (depending on if you have a four-year degree).