Certifications: Why Certify?


There are a multitude of information security certifications, but only GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) builds the true hands-on skills that go beyond theory and tests on the pragmatics of security administration, management, audit, and software security.

GIAC offers more than 30 specialized information security certifications that correspond to specific job duties. The family of GIAC certifications target job-based skill sets rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. The GIAC certification process validates the specific skills of security professionals and developers with standards established on the highest benchmarks in the industry.

GIAC is uniquely committed to validating the hands-on skills of today's security professional. By offering more disciplines than anyone else in the industry, we are able to focus on the skills required for mastery of specific job duties and technologies.

Candidates earning GIAC certifications and employers who hire them can be confident that a holder of a GIAC certification possesses the skills and know-how to get the job done. The higher-level certifications, Gold and Expert Level, offer a way for outstanding performers to distinguish themselves through even more hands-on focused activities.

What do Certified Professionals Say?

The GIAC certification has enabled me to take the next step in my Information Security career. It has allowed me to prove that my value was more than just that of a security-minded Sys Admin.

- J. Klein, Enterprise Information System, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

The intensive GIAC certification process has garnered me the respect of my boss and peers. Now, when I speak, people listen. I have the confidence to get the job done. My boss looks at me with respect that simply wasn't there before. Not only my boss, but managers and peers at other large organizations.

- Matt Carpenter, Enterprise Information System

What do Hiring Managers Say?

"LURHQ requires all analysts to hold GIAC Intrusion Analyst certifications (GCIA) - and we tie this to promotions and additional salary. As a Security Operations Center Manager I have additional confidence in my team's abilities because they hold GIAC Certifications." - Brent Deterding, SOC Manager LURHQ

Salary Data and GIAC Reputation

81% of hiring managers who participated in a recent Salary Survey consider certifications a factor in their hiring decisions.

41% of respondents from the same survey said their organizations use certifications as a factor when determining salary increases.

There is a strong demand for qualified information security professionals and GIAC certification proves you have the skills to do the job.

Foote Partners names four GIAC certifications in their list of the 10 Hottest Certifications, including the #1 certification GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

Four of the finalists in SC Magazine's 2010 and 2011 Best Professional Certification Program category are GIAC certifications (GCFA, GSEC, GCIA, GSE), with GSE winning the award in 2011!

GIAC Success Stories

"The GIAC certification has enabled me to take the next step in my Information Security career. It has allowed me to prove that my value was more than just that of a security-minded Sys Admin." - J. Klein, Enterprise Information System, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

"The intensive GIAC certification process has garnered me the respect of my boss and peers. Now, when I speak, people listen. I have the confidence to get the job done. My boss looks at me with respect that simply wasn't there before. Not only my boss, but managers and peers at other large organizations." - Matt Carpenter, Enterprise Information System

How GIAC Differs from Other Certifications

  • Offers over 20 specialized information security certifications, rather than a one-size fits all approach
  • Tests on pragmatics not theory
  • RealSVCEWin(TM) exam questions validate real world skills
  • Ensures knowledge necessary to complete the task at hand
  • Keeps you up to date with the latest industry information

Top 3 Reasons to Earn Your GIAC Certification

  • Managers use certifications to ensure job candidates possess in-depth technical skills
  • GIAC Certifications help IT Security professionals earn promotions and raises faster
  • The process of preparing for a GIAC certification helps you to learn more detailed technical subject matter

How GIAC Certification Benefited Jared McLaren and His Employer - A Case Study

The company had recently acquired other financial organizations and really needed a solid grasp of the current security stature of the organization. In order to accomplish this task, the company was seeking a penetration test, and the winning bid was from a very well-known security company. The penetration test was to include dozens of systems and networking equipment within the recently acquired companies and was going to cost the company several hundred thousand dollars for two to three months of project time.

The IT security director made a decision to search for a better solution. I was contacted and my GIAC Certified Incident Handler certification gave me the credibility required to come on board and perform the services as an employee. Not only did my GIAC certification help display my capabilities to my future employer to land a new and exciting job, but the skills obtained during my training and testing saved a great deal of their budget dollars. The scope was expanded from dozens of systems to over 550 total systems reaching to multiple data centers across the Midwest. My GCIH skills were invaluable in the detailed reconnaissance, vulnerability assessment, and exploitation techniques used during the entire twelve-month project. This entire expanded project was performed for much less than the original $225,000 bid for a three-month job that was to scan a mere 10% of the systems included in my penetration test.

Tell Us Your Story

On a regular basis we have students share their success stories with us on how their experience with GIAC has served them well. We share them here with you as an encouragement and testimony. Has your GIAC certification served you well? Would you like to share your story here, as well? If so, please send your "Success Stories" to certify@giac.org with your full name and registered email address.

GIAC in the News

Information Security Certification has never been more important. Led by the U.S. Department of Defense's ground breaking 8570 instruction requiring all workers with IT security responsibility to become certified. Certification is one of the hottest topics in information security. However, certification means more than just being able to get or keep a job. We offer the Certification Matters series, a collection of interviews dedicated to exploring the value of becoming certified in information security for your consideration and reading.

If you hold a GIAC or other information security certification and are willing to be interviewed by email, send a note to stephen@giac.org.

- Stephen Northcutt - The SANS Institute

Exams Overview

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Certification Roadmap

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