Security pros seek hacking, forensics skills

IT professionals looking to boost their high-tech careers in the coming five years are betting on security certifications and skills to help them stand out to potential employees, according to a new survey.

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CompTIA, an IT industry trade association, polled some 1,537 high-tech workers and found 37% intend to pursue a security certification over the next five years. Separately, nearly 20% indicated they would seek ethical hacking certification over the same time period. And another 13% pinpointed forensics as the next certification goal in their career development.

"When you add the results, you will see that about two-thirds of IT workers intend to add some type of security certification to their portfolio," says Terry Erdle, senior vice president of skills certifications. "This trend is driven by two factors: one, security issues are pervasive, and two, more and more people are moving to managed services and software-as-a-service models, which involves more complex networking. That level of non-enterprise data center computing has people look more closely at their security infrastructure."

High-tech workers surveyed cited economic advancement and personal growth as the motivation to seek further certifications. Nearly 90% said they want to spruce up their resumes and another 88% said they hope to grow personally with new certifications. Emerging technologies and vertical industry trends also drive certifications seekers. For instance, SaaS ranked among the technologies in which IT workers intend to seek certifications in the coming years. Green IT, mobile and healthcare IT also placed among high-tech career development plans.

"We are going to see upwards of 70,000 IT jobs in healthcare and the related network and storage skills that come with electronic records, such as e-reporting and e-charting," Erdle adds. "We are working now to determine what kind of IT roles should be supported in certifications from CompTIA."

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