“IT certs are good to build a solid foundation of knowledge, but experience seems to be what most companies value.”

Join us on our 135th episode of the Security Clearance Careers Podcast: ClearedCast for some special hot tips on IT certifications and how experience may actually be the key to your success in addition to those certs. Darius Burt is a U.S. Army vet with over 20 years of military service in threat response, management, operational planning, and interagency coordination at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. After transitioning and completing his graduate degree in Cybersecurity Studies, he works in the defense contracting space to analyze user requirements, design, develop, and deploy effective Information Systems Security solutions. Tune in as we hash out IT and cyber certs that can help put you at the top of a recruiter’s resume pile.


Burt and I discuss some of the threats and cybersecurity pressures of today’s world. He also notes that there is a lack of talent to combat those threats, sometimes due to DoD or customer requirements. And while IT certs are good to build a solid foundation of knowledge, experience seems to be what most companies value.

That being said, some certs are ranked better than others. However, if you are an entry level professional, there are a few you can obtain to help get your foot in the door like a Security+.

Top IT Certs AND PAY

There are a few IT / cyber certs that can seriously get you paid in the defense space. If you are unsure about which certification is best for you and your career path, do research on certs like the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or GIAC Certifications Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).

Additionally, government customers will release the IAT level requirements for programs that you can read over in any RFP. There are also tons of resources on DoD approved Information Assurance (IA) baseline certs aligned to each category and level of the IA Workforce.

In our most recent security cleared compensation survey, we found that the average difference between certified (49%) and uncertified cleared professionals was $14,680. Sponsored by BAE Systems, Top 10 Certifications For Cleared Professionals highlights the most popular certifications in the industry and breaks down exactly why they’re so important to both cleared candidates, recruiters, and companies.




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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸