The Information Technology world is always changing. While this is generally a good thing, it can also be a bad thing. For example, this pace of change is exciting, but difficult to keep up with. This is due to the fact that technology is evolving and expanding on a daily basis. A great example of this is the world of wireless.
Daily we see new gadgets and gizmos hit the market. It seems like we hardly purchase one thing one day, before the next day it is declared obsolete because a better model is available. This rapid obsolescence makes it difficult for even the most seasoned and experienced IT professionals to keep up with the latest trends. This is even more of an issue in the Indian IT landscape — one of the world’s hotbeds for technological innovation and research and development.
Accompanying this speedy pace of change in technology products and services are the changes in related IT certifications. It seems like you earn a certification for one platform and, while still basking in the glow of accomplishment, you learn that a “new and updated” version has been released. You may not “need” to get the new cert, but to be “attractive” in the Indian IT marketplace, you will feel the pressure to do so.
In previous articles, I’ve reviewed a number of different IT certifications ranging from the big name ones offered by IBM and Microsoft to Open Source Apps such as Linux. I’ve also written about what it takes to achieve certification in IT Security — a domain becoming increasingly popular and in demand and changing even faster than the IT world in general.
The Top IT Security Certifications in India
There are many IT security certifications available in the Indian marketplace. Offerings range from general certifications to more specialized ones, like the CISSP. The most popular security credentials, in terms of both demand and compensation, are as follows:
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Ethical Hacker
- ANS GIAC Security Essentials (GSE)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
It should be noted, however, that within this subspace of IT, it is the GSE certification that is quickly catching momentum in India. Many expect it to eventually overtake the renowned CISSP certification.
Introducing the GIAC IT Security Certifications
GIAC stands for the Global Information Assurance Certification. Founded in 1999 by the SANS Institute, GIAC has a proud and respected history. SANS (officially known as the Escal Institute of Advanced Technologies) is a for-profit company, which administers and provides specific levels of training for both Information Security in general, as well as cybersecurity.
The SANS Institute itself was founded in 1989, and has trained more than 120,000 security professionals in the areas of network/cyber defenses, penetration testing, incident response, digital forensics, and auditing. In turn, the GIAC program has certified well over 60,000 security professionals as well.
Unlike other IT Security certification vendors, the GIAC porgram offers training and certifications across a plethora of IT Security specializations including the following:
- Network Security Auditing
- Intrusion Detection
- Incident Handling
- Firewalls and Perimeter Protection
- Computer Forensics
- Hacker and Hacking Techniques
- Windows/UNIX Operating System (OS) Security
- Secure Software/Safe Application Coding Procedures and Protocols
The GIAC Exam Taking Process
A differentiating factor which makes the GIAC-based Security certifications stand out from the rest of the crowd is that these tests measure specific skills and knowledge areas rather than just general IT Security knowledge.
GIAC exams are also designed to be taken only by IT Security professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in the Indian IT environment; these are not meant for freshers with a newly minted IT degree.
Once you take and clear a GIAC exam, it’s important to remember that your particular certification will remain valid for only four years. In order to remain certified, you must review any new course-related information and retake the associated exam. You will also be required to earn 36 continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Your CPEs can be used for up to three certification renewals.
Although this will require more time, the good news is that you are not just maintaining your certification by paying a fee. You are maintaining your certification by demonstrating the IT security knowledge you possess, which will of course be attractive to any Indian employer.
If you take a GIAC exam and you do not pass it on your first attempt, you will have a four-month window in which to appear for your re-examination. This should give you ample time to restudy the material which you did not master the first time. Click here to get more specific information into the exam taking process.
Benefits of GIAC Security Certification
The GIAC security exams are openly advocated and supported by many Indian companies. The main benefits to be gained by possessing this certification include:
- Added confidence that you have the knowledge and skillsets required to carry out complex IT Security tasks. 89 percent of IT decision makers perceive GIAC certification as evidence that certified individuals possess knowledge that can be applied directly to the job.
- The recertification process requires that you keep up to date on the latest, most current information and data.
- Many Indian employers are now requiring that job candidates have a GIAC security certification. Having one will put you at the very top of the job candidate list.
- 81 percent of hiring managers consider the GIAC certifications a factor in their hiring as well as salary making decisions
- 41 percent of hiring managers say that their organizations use the GIAC certifications as a factor when determining salary increases
In terms of actual, hard core numbers, the average salary for an IT Security Professional in India with a GIAC based certification is right at about $100,000 (U.S.). Of course, this is largely dependent upon the IT Security field in which you work. Working in Cyber and Internet Security can get well over the $100,000 (U.S.) average. However, the typical salary range for an Indian GIAC certified professional ranges from $73,000-$124,000 (U.S.).