• J. Walter

    Hi Josh,

    Interesting way to quantify it, though I would disagree on the Learning Value part.

    Strictly speaking, dividing % with $-values would give a unit of %/$, not %. The Learning Value is thus a percent of “margin for learning” per dollar spent.

    IMHO, this is a good indicator to choose the channel for a given certification, but it should not be used to compare different certifications (the final table could be misleading in this sense).

    The dollar-value of a certification comes from its expected output rather than its pure cost. Comparing two certifications which have different topics and scope cannot be done on a pure cost/time basis.
    For example, an expert in network security would have a 100% “learning margin” percentage in accounting or marketing, but still it may not make sense in his/her career plan.

    Above all, the first question will always remain “Is this certification right for me?”, and the quantification be subjective based on the value each of us sets in term of self-satisfaction, expected return on promotion…

    Hope to read more!

    July 19, 2012
  • J.,

    You raise some very good points. Of course, there is no perfect way to do this, and the system does result in a “learning margin” rather than learning/dollar. Measuring learning is difficult, especially measuring potential learning. It may not be possible to forecast anything reasonably. In the end, as you state, you have to answer “is this certification right for me?”

    However, for a security practitioner, I would argue that the 100% “learning margin” you get in accounting or marketing may be worth more than a 20% learning margin in yet another security cert. My own studies in the fields of Psychology and Economics, for example, have done more for my career than picking up a GWEB or GWAPT cert would have. There comes a point in security where it seems people add certs to add certs and focus more on the letters than the learning. Personally, I doubt that a fourth, ninth or fifteenth certification really adds much career or income-wise when compared to your third, eighth or fourteenth certification.

    This is, of course, bad news for certification companies that seem to be creating paths and “ladders” to success. I wish they worked, but I have yet to see much evidence than anything beyond three certifications in a field do much to benefit one’s career.

    July 25, 2012

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