How common are Gold Level Certifications?

TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,888Member ■■■■■■■□□□
How common are gold level GIAC certifications? I was poking around USAJobs and I came across a job that required Gold-Level GCWN, Gold-Level GCUX and/or a CISSP. I'm thinking there's not many gold level holders of those certs, either this position was written for someone already in mind or HR is insane.
Still searching for the corner in a round room.


  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I don't see Gold often. I myself have only Silver. Writing a Gold paper I think is a very respectable achievement and it shows one has put in an extensive amount of effort in that particular certification domain.

    I'd even go so far as to say Silver is only halfway to achieving the real certification in the first place. From what I understand, a long time ago there was no "Silver" and the only way to completely achieve a given certification was to complete a Gold paper. However, dropping the requirement for the paper upset a lot of existing certification holders so they came up with the Gold vs. Silver levels to distinguish the difference.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    A good chunk of the SANS reading room is gold papers. There does not seem to be a lot of gold GCUX, though.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Posts: 976Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Never seen gold-level anything SANS/GIAC in any job description. 99% of the time if I see SANS I see GSEC which gives me a chuckle since it shows the job description is written by someone who really doesn't know what he's asking for. Asking for gold certifications is also a joke, the likelihood of someone with a gold certification looking for & finding that small .0001% of security jobs they exactly match to that degree is nearly impossible. i've thought about doing gold for some of my GIAC certs, but didn't really see the need other than bragging rights that i've been published before. hardly any employers in my area know what SANS is, let alone understand what the gold certification means that goes along with it
  • sb97sb97 Posts: 109Member
    Anyone have any insight in to how to go about getting a gold cert? I understand that you are supposed to write a paper that contribute to community knowledge. I was wondering what kinds of help they have available. Do they help you pick a topic? How much help do you get in actually writing the paper itself? That sort of thing.
  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
  • sb97sb97 Posts: 109Member
    docrice wrote: »
    Oh I have read that link. My questions are really about this line:
    • An advisor will be assigned to you, and will be available to help you throughout the entire process.
    I was curious what kind of help they would give. Obviously, they don't write the paper for you. So what do they do? Help pick a topic? Narrow focus? Read drafts and give feedback? That sort of thing. I suspect the answer to that question will largely depend on which advisor you get but I was hoping to hear from someone that has been through the process.
  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    If no one else on this forum has an answer, another place to pose the question would be on the SANS Advisory Board list if you're on it. I'm pretty sure it's been discussed there before, but I've long past stopped keeping up with the list.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,751Mod Mod
    This paper has some insight into the process. If you are not on the Advisory Board you can also try reaching out to folks on LinkedIn who list a gold.
  • sb97sb97 Posts: 109Member
    Thanks for the feedback. I have always been curious about the process. I kind of want to do a Gold just to say I did it. The thing is. I think it is like $500 for the attempt. That is a lot of $$$ just to enhance a certification I already hold. I would expect to receive quite a bit of guidance.

    For those of you reading this thread. How often do you look at papers from the Reading room?
  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've skimmed through a few Reading Room papers in the past, but only because I was Googling something and it came up. I'm sure there are plenty of quality papers in there, but in my case being so consumed with work and having it soak up most of my hours and mental cycles makes it near-impossible to really sit down and go through the material there.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • LionelTeoLionelTeo Posts: 526Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    I know this is a bit late, I don't recommend doing a gold paper just for the sake of it. Do it because you had done some in depth research of the topic, write it to claim that research. When you speak to people be it in interview/conference/training, you can raise that white paper you had done to indicate you had done a particular research on a particular topic that most of people in the security community is not aware of. You can show through that white paper on something you had done that is different from the current standard.
  • beadsbeads Posts: 1,439Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Gold papers are good if your going for a SANS Master's program. Otherwise there only one other reason to truly go gold - enriching SANS. I know its sounds negative but to be charitable it does give you something to put on your resume that you published.

    Most of the papers in the reading room aren't exactly pushing the limits of security knowledge or all that thought provoking though this seems to be more the norm of the past decade or so with higher education in general. Most of what I have read really come across more like book reports than any real independent academic thinking.

    - b/eads
  • RobicusRobicus CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT Posts: 140Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I have a couple of published gold papers (GSEC and GCIA)-- primarily as a result of being in the master's program.

    To answer sb97's question: You're right: it largely depends on the advisor. I'm sad to say that I had one advisor that did not seem heavily invested. On the other hand, my first advisor did a good job checking in on my progress, keeping me motivated, and pushing me to dive deeper into certain technical aspects of my research. Overall, I like the fact that the thesis submissions get vetted by the GIAC Gold Advisors List, and advisors specifically pick topics that they are also passionate about. For example, my papers are PowerShell-centric, which appealed to my particular advisors.
    What's Next? Sans Cyber Security Master's Degree (MSISE) [Currently Enrolled]
    ... Progress { | | | | | | | | | . } // 95%

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