Certification Order

AtlasSolutionsPlusAtlasSolutionsPlus Member Posts: 9 ■■□□□□□□□□
In what order did you receive your certifications? Have every one of them helped you in your career or did some seem unnecessary? Which one has been the MOST beneficial?


  • PseudonymousPseudonymous Ninja Member Posts: 78 ■■■□□□□□□□
    MOS Master 2010 - The job paid for it. It also gave me a $1 raise. I had to pass exams for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook to get MOS Master.

    MOS Master 2013 - I took it just cause the company paid for it. No extra pay raises. I got certified in all the available 2013 exams that the company would pay for (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, & SharePoint).

    Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
    Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7 Configuring - 3 certs for 1 test. Self study. Paid for it myself. Honestly... didn't help much in my career and I don't feel like I learned a lot from it either... but it was 3 certifications for 1 test so it helped fill out my resume some.
    Comptia A+ - I thought this would jump start my career... it didn't, but I still think it was worth getting.
    Apple Certified Associate (ACA) - I wanted to learn more about Macs. This cert is more focused on integration with Active Directory so honestly it really didn't help much in terms of learning something new, but it was extremely easy and I get random job offers based on this certification alone (just cause it says Apple).

    ITIL Foundation - I took it this because I started seeing it pop up as a requirement on a lot of job applications. It was hard to understand at first, but I'm glad I took it.
    Network+ - this test sucked... period. I failed it twice. I paid out of pocket to take it 3 times and I although I feel like I eventually learned a lot, for the money I spent taking it (since I failed) I don't really think it was worth it.
    Security+ - Since I wanted a career in IT Security anyway, I found this one to be a lot more enjoyable. This certification helped me to get the job I have now.

    AWS Cloud Practitioner - I started working for a company that uses AWS so I decided to get this certification to help me to learn the basics of AWS.
    CCNA CyberOPS - HUGE thanks to whoever made the post about the scholarship here. If they didn't, I would've never known about it. I applied, got accepted, and eventually passed the exams. Honestly the test was... meh... but the labs I had access to was fun and I did learn a lot.
    LPI Linux Essentials - I took this just because I wanted a quick refresher and understanding of the Linux OS before I moved onto studying for penetration based certifications (like eJPT and OSCP).

    For sure the Security+ was the most beneficial for me. I'd probably still be stuck as a helpdesk analyst without it.
    Certifications: A+, N+, S+, CCNA: CyberOps, eJPT, ITIL, etc.
  • logisticalstyleslogisticalstyles Member Posts: 146 ■■■□□□□□□□
    2009 - Comptia A+ - This helped me get promoted into the IT department. I was working in the mail/copy room for an accounting firm while taking courses at my local community college. Once I finished my networking program and passed the A+ I was offered the help desk position and a nice raise.

    2010 - Comptia Net+ - This helped me get another modest raise and was paid for by my employer

    2013 - Random HP and Lexmark certs offered by the MSP that I worked for at the time. These certs just helped me in my day to day job duties. They made me more efficient and as a result I was hired on full time and got a small raise. Overall I would say these hold no value today.

    2015 - Apple Certified Associate - I was working for a software company at the time and half of our users were on Macs. I use a Mac for my personal machine so my boss thought it would great for me to get some Mac training. They sent me to NYC for a week of training. I didn't take the bigger Apple exam but I took the ACA exam which was easy and cheap. I got a raise as a result of that. It also helped fill out my resume.

    2018 - MCP - My current employer paid for me to take the 70-698 exam and that is going to play a part in me getting a bigger raise this year. I'm currently studying for the 70-697 exam to achieve MCSA and hopefully solidify my big raise. More importantly than a raise I want this title just to complete this milestone in my career. Once I get this cert completed I will be specializing in some specific areas like Virtualization.

    I may consider getting the CCENT, just because my Net+ has expired and I don't want to take that exam again. That will also help with my networking skills which I admit are lacking.
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Interesting question:

    CompTIA A+ - Helped me land a job at Geek Squad, which I needed since my full-time job covered all of my expenses except for gas to and from work.

    CompTIA Network+ - Helped me land a job at my first full-time gig after the USAF.

    CompTIA Security+ - Helped me land my second full-time gig as an instructor (along with the other CompTIA certs mentioned above).

    MCSA: Windows 7 - Paid for out-of-pocket for the exams. Failed one of the exams once, but luckily I purchased the exams for 33% less than retail. That allowed me to take the failed exam a second time without exceeding the retail price for the certification (total was $300, paid $100 per exam instead of the normal $150 per). This has been useful because the company I work for has had occasional Windows 7 courses offered.

    ITIL Foundation v3 - Company paid for the class, I paid for the exam. I have taught this course many, many times now. *I paid out-of-pocket for the exam since I didn't want to limit future opportunities, not because my company wouldn't pay for it.

    CompTIA Server+ - Just because it was a $50 exam (ProctorU online exam beta test). No real value other than that.

    CompTIA Linux+ - Part of a degree program I was in. No real value so far.

    CompTIA CySA+ - It was a $50 beta exam...so why not? No value to the career so far.

    CompTIA Cloud+ - It was a $50 beta exam...so why not? No value to the career so far.

    CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ - It was $30 beta exam, again...so why not? No value to the career so far but might starting next year.

    CompTIA CASP - No value so far to the career but will likely have more value going forward.

    Cisco CCNA: Cyber Ops - No value so far beyond the studying for it (great information overall). It was free (thank you, Cisco!).

    CertNexus Certified IoT Practitioner - I think I got this one for free. Kind of an interesting exam, to be honest. It was a beta.

    Aside from teaching, most of the certs I've pursued have had nothing to do with job requirements and more to do with personal growth, fulfillment, and curiosity.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, AWS SA-A, AWS Security, Sec+, Linux+, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCSK Member Posts: 518 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Cameron M wrote: »
    MOS Master 2010 - The job paid for it. It also gave me a $1 raise. I had to pass exams for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook to get MOS Master.


    For sure the Security+ was the most beneficial for me. I'd probably still be stuck as a helpdesk analyst without it.

    I just want to say I envy you and your path. This is doing it right.

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
    OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, AWS SA-A, AWS Security, Sec+, Linux+, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCSK
    2021 goals: maybe AWAE or SLAE, bunch o' courses and red team labs?
  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, AWS SA-A, AWS Security, Sec+, Linux+, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCSK Member Posts: 518 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'll give this a shot. I want to mention that I don't think any cert I received directly led to me getting a new job, a raise, or fulfilling some requirement that led to the next job directly. I hadn't really thought about it like that before this thread. All of my cert pursuits were done for my own learning, either to improve the resume or to learn something new for my own benefit. Strange, that. :)

    2001 - 4-year MIS degree - Probably had the most direct benefit to getting the career started with my first job.

    2006 - Security+ -
    Picked this up to better demonstrate security on the resume and learn more. Paid for on my own. It's lifetime, at least. I stayed with that company another 10 years, so didn't benefit me there. Still, it helped the confidence and my own learning.

    2009 - CISSP -
    Learned a bunch studying for this on my own time and dime. Didn't lead to anything, but definitely a marked increase in interest from recruiters and hiring managers, even today, due to this. Also built my self-confidence in security quite a lot. Didn't lead to a raise either, as I just stayed at that company another 7 years. I would consider this probably my most beneficial cert.

    2017 - OSCP -
    A long-time personal goal of mine (I tried to start this back in 2008, but didn't have the time), not just to finish it, but also to grow from it and learn. Loved it. Personally, my most-cherished accomplishment in this list. Also gives the most street cred in the industry. Doesn't get as much attention outside of pentesting hiring managers or recruiters, though, but the 24-hour exam is still talk-worthy in all interviews. If I veer into a pentesting job, I'd probably end up considering this my most beneficial cert. For now, it's close.

    2017 - OSWP -
    Much lighter cert. I wanted to a) keep my learning enthusiasm going, and b) dive back into a personal nostalgic interest of mine: wireless hacking. Ahh, the old days... No one notices this cert, though. Easily my least beneficial cert, but up there with being fun and interesting.

    2018 - Cisco CCNA Cyber Ops -
    Qualified for the free course and exam takes. Probably not noticed by anyone, but it was a good learning experience. I probably knew 75% of the material, but a few new concepts I missed over the years got me caught up (Kill Chains, for example). I think for anyone with 0-2 years of SOC/security experience, this should at least be on the radar. My second least-beneficial cert, and I don't plan to renew it.

    2018 - GCFA - First training and cert paid for by a company I worked for. Not required, but it helps fill a gap in my knowledge I wanted filled, plus helped me step slightly out of my comfort zone. While I've long done sysadmin work, doing actual forensics analysis was somewhat foreign to me.

    It's funny looking back at just my certs without job duties or context. It makes me look slow, maybe even a little dumb as I have huge gaps in my growth from this perspective. But honestly, certs just weren't as much of a thing (maybe just for me) until recently. And even then, it's really just about finding my passion and enthusiasm again by learning new things. New things just from on-the-job experience started to not cut it.

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
    OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, AWS SA-A, AWS Security, Sec+, Linux+, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCSK
    2021 goals: maybe AWAE or SLAE, bunch o' courses and red team labs?
  • krucial85krucial85 Member Austin, TexasMember Posts: 84 ■■■□□□□□□□
    2014 - Security+ - This was the first certification that I sought to get because it seemed the most relevant for transitioning back into IT.

    2015 SSCP - I got this because it was the precursor to the CISSP exam and appeared to be a little more challenging than SEC+.

    CISSP -This was the crown jewel because it was one of the most coveted certs in the industry. This certification allowed me to transition into the position that I currently have.

    CEH- I wanted this certification because I wanted to improve my technical knowledge and prove to myself that I had the capacity to do technical work.

    ITIL - I got this certification because I was advised that I needed it in my current environment and that I was also good for management to have. This is probably the one that I value the least.

    2016 CISA- I was assigned a new role as an IT Auditor and I had no clue about auditing. I passed the exam and recently applied to be awarded the certification. I believe this certification will be of great value when I leave my current position because Cybersecurity Auditing is what I may end up doing.

    2017 CCNA CyberOPS - This was one of the toughest certifications for me and I'm not sure of it's value besides being associated with CISCO.

    2018 GSEC - This cert seemed to be a mash of SEC+ and SSCP

    GCIA - This was a challenging cert. Great material.

    GCIH - I believe this cert will be of great value going forward considering all of the incidents that take place in cybersecurity.

    GSNA - Another great certification that really got into the technical part of IT auditing.

    GCWN - This was the most vendor specific certification that I took from SANS. Very difficult for me but a lot of great information.

    IT Auditor/ISSM
    "The way to succeed is never quit. That's it. But be really humble about it."
  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo SSCP, A+, N+, Sec+, CySA+, Cloud+, CWTS Member Posts: 389 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Below is my timeline. Most of the date ranges follow the years I was employed at each employer. I've been fortunate that most of my IT job jumps have all been to get a better paying gig. Individually, I don't know that any of the certs or degrees have been a huge factor in landing a job. I think the paperwork on a resume helps to show I try to learn, but most of my managers seemed to see value in certs and education, but also looked at experience, personality, etc. as well.

    If I were to say which cert I got the most out of, it would probably be the A+. Not because the exam or knowledge gained was somehow more valuable, but because after studying for that cert I saw how much I could learn from the studies and apply in my career. So, the A+ was the kickstart for me to always try to keep learning so I could be stronger on the job. I also found that, for me, setting that goal to take a test helped me stay focused on learning. I found I loved reading about some topic while I studied, then soon after I'd be able to apply that new knowledge at work.

    1992 Bachelor of Arts in English - Not helpful for IT, necessarily. Did get first job out of college supporting home health equipment/customer service. HOWEVER, I do write a lot of documentation on the job, so the knowledge gained in this degree has been very helpful from a communications perspective.

    1998 A couple AAS degrees in Computer Science disciplines helped me get my foot in the door to my first IT role doing Desktop Support.

    1998 -1999

    A+ - Had to get it within first 90 days of first IT job doing Desktop Support.

    Network+ and MCSE NT 4.0 - My first IT employer had a program where you could get raises if you earned certain certifications. So, in about a year I took everything I could, and raised my pay a few thousand a year.
    Since I was rather green, it helped me learn a lot of things I would not have otherwise. This batch of certs also helped me land my second IT job, doing Desktop Support still, but the pay was much better.


    CDIA+, iNet+, and CCNA - Got these just to learn more. I had changed jobs to another organization, still Desktop Support but better pay. Due to the Dot-com bust in 2000 I was at risk of being laid off, so I quickly found another job as an IT Analyst, my first role in a mixed Desktop/Network/Server support environment. I don't remember for sure, but I think I had to pay for these exams myself.

    2001 - 2004

    Novell CNA, CNE, and MCNE, Server+, Project+, HTI+, MCDST - My third IT job where we used Novell. My boss didn't really care about certs, so I paid for everything myself. However, the Novell training came in handy more than once. I took the CompTIA and Microsoft exams just for additional foundation knowledge.

    2005 - 2006

    Security+, Some HIPAA certs - Worked for an insurance company in my first full Server Administration role (fourth IT job), again for more money that the previous job.

    2006 - 2013

    PDI+, RFID+, Cloud+, Cloud Essentials, Healthcare IT Technician, ITIL Foundation and a third AAS degree - Started at a fifth IT job as a Server Engineer - again for better pay. I went for a while not working on certs then took most of the CompTIA ones trying to pad my resume as I looked for yet a sixth IT job after a manager change. This company provides some tuition reimbursement and at least paid for exams.

    2013 to Present

    CWS, CWT, Storage+, Mobility+, CySA+, SSCP, and almost done with a BS in IT - Started at my sixth, and hopefully last employer, as an Engineer, again for more money. Again took the CompTIA exams for foundational exposure and some review. Took SSCP to begin prep for CISSP in the future. Took the wireless exams just for some basic knowledge (and considering CWNA). Considering a Master's as well. This company will pay for exams, and also has a generous tuition reimbursement plan.
  • ecuisonecuison CISSP, CCSP, TOGAF v9 Certified, Security+, Network+ Member Posts: 131 ■■■■□□□□□□
    MCP (2004) - Emerging Technologies at my company where we were starting to move towards Windows. (Expired)

    MCSA (2004) - Was attempting to become an MSCE at the time. I think it was Windows 2000 (Expired)

    Security+ (2005) - I was getting ready to jump ship and looked at this certification to move me into InfoSec

    Network+ (2005) - Just because at the time. Ran through this exam in 30 minutes.

    (ISC)2 CISSP (2015) - Been studying to years prior to this. Got the opporunity when my boss wanted to burn through the budget. Honored to hold this certification. This was the most beneficial for me so far in my career in InfoSec

    (ISC)2 CCSP (2018\)- Emerging technologies as well as proliferation of cloud offerings. My company didn't want to fork over the dough, so I studied and passed this beast!

    TOGAF v9 Certified (2018\) - This one caught my eye when I was studing for the CISSP. I am honored to hold this certification in the same regard as the CISSP. This has put me in a new light. Still seeing where this may go, most likely, it will get me somewhere at another company.

    2019 and Beyond

    (ISC)2 HCISPP - Doing this one because I got my older brother to study for this cert. We both work in the medical industry so it would benefit both of us

    AWS Solutions Architect (Associate/Pro) - Was thinking these would compliment my TOGAF nicely, still up in the air.

    ISACA CRISC - I was originally going to get this during the time I was studying for the TOGAF. But because my boss gave me no answer in endorseing me when I pass, I decided to put it on hold till I got the TOGAF. So this is high on my list. I know this will add additional value to my current set of certs.

    Masters in CyberSecurity - This is only tickled my funny bone recently, but have to factor in my kids who are growing at an alarming rate. If I do this degree, my wife will have a lot of carry which I would want to make sure she was ok with it first. I only got all my certs (CISSP to current) because of her support.
    Accomplishments: B.S. - Business (Information Management) | CISSP | CCSP | TOGAF v9.2 Certified | Security + | Network +
  • Info_Sec_WannabeInfo_Sec_Wannabe Senior Member Member Posts: 413 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Here's mine:

    CISA ( 2011 ) - Took this because most of the guys at work who pursued a similar path took this certification. It did help me realize just how small of an area we are covering in our IT Audits in the context of supporting financial / statutory audits. It did help me in opening doors as most of the job descriptions that I looked at required it. I failed on my first try by 6 points (passing is 450).

    CRISC ( 2012 ) - Peer pressure led me to take this. I wanted to take either CISM or CIA during this time, but my colleagues pushed me to get this one instead. To be honest, I'm not sure how it helped my career or furthered my learning as it was just recently launched back then when we sat for it. I remember that most of the scope was lifted or adapted from the CISA with a touch of project management and more SDLC. I haven't checked the most recent job / practice areas for this cert since then.

    ISO 27001 LA ( 2016 ) - Took this mainly because work required that we get certified to support our initiative to get ISO 27001 certified. While the standard aims to provide a framework with which organizations are to develop their ISMS, it is subject to way too many interpretations. Right now, I don't think this has helped my career much.

    CASP ( 2017 ) - Sat for it as preparation for CISSP. CompTIA is not really known in my side of the world. icon_lol.gif

    CISM ( 2018 ) - Took and passed the exam December '17, but applied for certification only recently. I originally intended to apply for certification in 2019 so I can use this to renew my CASP, but current circumstances led me to obtain the official certification just in case I decide to hop to another opportunity. I also used this as preparation for tackling CISSP.

    CISSP ( 2018 ) - Sat for it to demonstrate to my boss that I have the necessary GRC subject matter knowledge and understanding. It did help my career by making me realize that there is so much more for me to learn in the InfoSec field. It made me question why the test is geared towards managerial stuff when the material seemed to cover stuff that most, if not all, security professionals should know, at least IMHO.

    Right now, I'm at a crossroad as to what to pursue next. I originally intended to pursue the penetration testing path (which is a personal interest of mine for a long time now), but having doubts since my employer is diving into the cloud (and asking us to pursue cloud related certs).
    X year plan: (20XX) OSCP [ ], CCSP [ ]
  • mahd559mahd559 Member Posts: 14 ■■■□□□□□□□
    MCP, MCSA, MCSE 2006 to 2008 
    CISM 2016
    CRISC 2017
    AWS Solution Architect 2018
    CGEIT 2018 
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,033 ■■■■■■■■■■
    2010: CCNA
    2013: CCNA Security
    2014: CCNP Security
    2015: CISSP, GCIH
    2016: CEH
    2017: GCIA, CISM
    2018: CISA, GPEN

    I do not feel any were unnecessary because all of them have added to my knowledge/skills which I still apply. CCNA had the most noticeable impact because it was required for two roles that I started after acquiring the cert. I believe my CISSP, GCIH, and CCNP Security looked nice on my resume when I applied for the role in my current team, but they were listed as required on the job posting and it didn't come up in the interview.  
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, CompTIA and more.

    2022 goal(s): CRISC, maybe CGEIT

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • gabeaaagabeaaa Registered Users Posts: 4 ■■■□□□□□□□
    2015: GSLC- This was a job requirement, paid for by job and very beneficial to establishing myself in the security industry. 
    2017: CCNA R&S- Gave me a great understanding of networking in general
    2018: CEH, CCNA Cyber Ops and GICSP- I just kind of went overtime this year because late next year I will be starting a graduate degree. 

    I currently work as a Security Architect in the ICS security. 
    Current Certifications and Degrees: CCENT, CCNA R&S, CCNA Cyber Ops, GSLC, C|EH v9, GICSP, GNFA, GCIH, BSc Electrical Engineering, MSc Cybersecurity Technology

    My Aims:

    2021: GRID (9/2021)
    2022: GCP something, Python stuff, Industrial Automation development Git and projects 

  • IIIMasterIIIMaster Senior Member Member Posts: 238 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Net +
    VCP 5.5
    VCP 6

    I went real deep for networking. It didn't pan out. Settle for an entry level gig. But move on to Microsoft & virtulazation. I got the A+ for laughs to be honest. Working on my MCSA now. Now at my current position I can make a move into into pure networking. But have to get back in the books. 
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