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  1. Senior Member kMastaFlash's Avatar
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    #1

    Default How many certs is to many

    Hey all!

    So this got me thinking for a bit. Can having to many certs be overkill on a resume? My main reason for this is because if someone has say 50 certs, my main thought would be that they cheated on them. Is there a healthy balance with the number of certs for a professional to have to still be marketable and at the same time not be broke and not spend their whole life studying? I have been studying so much for certs, I have kinda lost touch with reality a bit! I feel like I lost touch with playing video games, playing guitar stuff like that. For a typical professional, how many certs would you consider to be enough without overkilling it?
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  3. They are watching you NetworkNewb's Avatar
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    #2
    Once you have more advance ones I would assume the lower level ones you would stop caring about, stop paying to keep them valid, and take them off your resume. If you have 50 certs I would assume the fees would be crazy, not mention the studying to keep them up to date.

    Like your A+, Net+, MTAs.... I doubt anyone is going care about those if your going for more advance positions as your experience would trump those certifications.
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    #3
    If I had 50 certifications from various vendors, I would customize my resume for the position I was applying for.

    Also take out any entry level certs and list the higher level certs, no point listing both CCNA and CCNP in R&S.

    You can probably obtain as many certs as you want, but there's no need to list all of them.
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  5. Senior Member kMastaFlash's Avatar
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    #4
    I agree with NetworkNewb. If someone had 50 certs, the maintenance fees would be crazy and the studying to keep them up to date would leave you to not enjoy your life. My main concern with having say 50 certs is that your whole life is studying and not doing anything else. Nobody can do all and be all. There has to be a healthy ratio of certs for an IT pro to have before it gets to be overbearing.

    Ex: would you say something like 15-20 certifications would be enough or maybe 25 for an IT career lifespan of say 25 years?
    Last edited by kMastaFlash; 07-02-2017 at 07:39 PM.
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    #5
    You can have as many certs as you want. If i had a lot I'd list only the individual higher certs. If you have certifications that require other certifications as a pre-requisite then only list the higher one. No need to list lower ones.
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  7. Senior Member kMastaFlash's Avatar
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    #6
    Well anyone can go and spend as much money as they have available and get certifications. As long as you have money, they don't care. My question is mostly around when the number of certs gets to be overbearing while still living your life and not spend every moment studying.

    My main reason for asking is because i'm in an entry level position now even though I have certifications and knowledge that surpass an entry level role.
    Last edited by kMastaFlash; 07-02-2017 at 08:01 PM.
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    #7
    I'm in an entry position too but in my opinion having too many certifications, especially higher ones at this stage is not necessary.

    Apparently it can do more damage than good because your certifications won't reflect your actual work experience.
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  9. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #8
    23 .
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    #9
    Too many is when you have more than you can maintain. Most certifications require a renewal fee and proof you are continuing your education, or at least keeping current with developments. I would say 5 current certification's is enough. I guess if I had to choose what certifications I would want to keep current would be the CISSP, CCNP, GCIH, GREM, and GPEN. I do not yet possess all these certs, but this is what I would concentrate my resources on keep current if I ever get them.
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  11. Senior Member kMastaFlash's Avatar
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    #10
    23 it is!

    Is there any sort of magic number for this? I would say 42 since that is the answer to everything in life!
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    #11
    I think once you get enough to check the boxes then you are done. Now that will depend on which job you are applying for. I just did the CSA+ 6 months after getting the CISSP. Normally I would think that was a backwards move but in my case I got my first few back in 2010 then just forgot about certs for several years. I had quite a bit of experience but no certs to match so did the Sec+ and CISSP. Well after looking at my resume I realized I had a huge gap in between there in regards to the level of my certs. Had a bunch of entry level and an advanced one but nothing in between. Looked a little 'odd' on my resume so did the CSA+ to fill that hole. At this point the only mid-level certs I would consider would be specializations that might help my job search or a more expensive one that an employer might pay for.
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  13. Senior Member kMastaFlash's Avatar
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    #12
    So if I understand you right dhay13, you are saying once you have enough to check the boxes as in a typical job posting common trends for certs based on the industry you want to get into? Ex: 5 penetration tester job postings asking with common certs such as GPEN,CEH,GWAPT,CISSP stuff like that along with a few entry level certs and some intermediate certs to have a good balance? Also, i'm trying to get into a penetration testing role.
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  14. Passion For IT
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    #13
    I feel there is no magic number. Some people start out with the CompTIA Trifecta. A+/Net+/Sec+. Foundations. If you do it right, you never have to renew them. You move onto more advanced ones. Then, you get the CCNA, CCNA:Security, CCNA:Wireless, CCNP, CCNP specializations, CEH, CHFI, CISSP, eJPT, OSCP. Some of the more advanced ones make the foundational ones irrelevant. So, while the number may be high, it shows a continuing education pattern. It shows that you're increasing your knowledge and moving forward.

    The one thing that might be 'too many' is if you have a few from security, a few from Microsoft, a few Linux ones, a couple web development ones, some wireless ones, project management ones, some oddball ones, Solarwinds, certified outlined image on paper colorizer using wax based colored instruments, etc.. Just certifications from all over the place with no specialization. If you have all those, without any clear direction (and all foundational), where are you headed. If you have all those and then moving to the more advanced stuff in a certain area, then it's great. You found a specialization to focus on. Just have a plan. I have some from all over (WGU had me do the Project+, CWI stuff which is worthless, etc.). I have a focus on security now, and my certs show it. Those old foundation ones were good for that time in my career, and great for the foundational knowledge, but they are worth a lot less now that I've gotten more experience and have moved beyond that level.

    Would I put my Windows Vista certs on my resume? No.
    A few certs here and there and everywhere...
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    #14
    For resume purposes, I would keep the typical HR filter certs on there (CISSP, CEH, CCNA, Sec+, etc), and then throw up to four certs related closely to the position I'd be applying for.

    In terms of life balance.... If you have to ask, you have too many
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  16. I drink and I know things Ertaz's Avatar
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    #15
    Elevendy.
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    #16
    If you're in an entry-level position and have certs and knowledge that exceeds that entry-level job, then maybe it's time to find a new job to get the experience that matches that higher cert.

    I think you might have too many certs if you are trying to match every single cert that is listed on every single job posting. I would say the certs to focus on are the certs that will help you get the next job you want.
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    #17
    I'm in management but I've received comments of why I have so many. Kind of odd as I don't feel like I do and they are entry-level. As a hiring manager myself, I wouldn't have a limit though if someone has more than normal they better be able to back up their perceived knowledge during the interview process.
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by kMastaFlash View Post
    So if I understand you right dhay13, you are saying once you have enough to check the boxes as in a typical job posting common trends for certs based on the industry you want to get into? Ex: 5 penetration tester job postings asking with common certs such as GPEN,CEH,GWAPT,CISSP stuff like that along with a few entry level certs and some intermediate certs to have a good balance? Also, i'm trying to get into a penetration testing role.
    Yep. If you want to work in pentesting then grab a few certs related to that, or any other specialization. That's my opinion but who am I...lol
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  20. Are we having fun yet? UnixGuy's Avatar
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    #19
    It's not how many, but how many relevant certs a person have. No point in collecting 20+ entry level certs, ..shoot for certs relevant to your current work or for the job you want.
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  21. Senior Member mbarrett's Avatar
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    #20
    If you list a lot of certs on your resume, be prepared to stay current in each one.
    Expect to start getting called by every recruiter looking to fill a job with xxx cert. This might sound good at first, but when you get to the technical interview you might get asked questions in each subject area that they think might be relevant, so you have to stay current in each of those things.
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    #21
    Impossible question to answer.

    Several variables at play here. Each position, hiring manager, recruiter etc has their own preconceived thoughts. Not just certifications, degrees, previous positions held etc.

    The answers is there are no straight forward answers.

    Personally from my vantage point, anything > 3 starts too look weird. Like MBarrett for an example: CISSP, CEH and CCNP looks solid on a resume.

    You start dropping 15 certs on your resume, I think it looks quite ridiculous especially if the certification is old or doesn't pertain to the job. At this point it just becomes noise.
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    #22
    I find that the further you advance in your career, certs become less important and your experience alone is really what is sought after. Certs are a great way to jump start and help you advance, but your experience is what will be vital down the road so don't lose track of that by devoting all your time to studying.
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    #23
    Experience trumps certs, always. Don't waste valuable space on irrelevant certs.

    I've been on the interviewing side of the table for two rounds, as well as participating in all the resume filtering (no HR filter where lack of magic keywords burns your application before anyone actually deciding to hire sees it).

    If you are targeting keyword matching, go bonkers. If you expect your resume to be read in whole by a human, start at zero certs and for each cert, ask yourself some questions:
    • Is the body of knowledge in this cert relevant to the job description?
    • Does the job description ask for this cert, or another cert covering the same subject on the same level? (e.g. job asks for CCNP, you don't have that but have a Juniper cert on a similar level, I'd say list that)
    • Will most people reading this recognize the cert, and have a general idea of the body of knowledge? (people who work in the same-ish department - an accountant won't recognize the CCNP, but most people working in IT will)
    • Can I talk confidently about most topics in the body of knowledge at a high level if I had an interview starting in 15 minutes?
    • Is the cert up to date (not as in valid/renewed, but actually covers todays technology, unless the job calls specifically for legacy experience)?

    For each no you get, write down one damn good reason why it should be on your resume anyway. You don't get to repeat the same reason for multiple certs. We're in 2017, don't list that Visual Basic 3.0 course you took two decades ago (I'm not joking). Bring it up as a joke in the interview if it's called for.

    Certs don't get you a job. They get your resume some extra attention. If you spray a pagefull of certs, the chance that the right ones will be spotted are lower. If they draw attention away from your actual experience, you're hurting your chances just the same.

    Even though some jobs call for specific certs (hi DoD), the certs are just a formal requirement that need to be filled. You still need to be genuinely hirable, as in not an idiot and not a jerk.
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  25. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by boot View Post
    Certs don't get you a job. They get your resume some extra attention.
    Certs only help get your foot in the door for a first-round interview. After your butt is in the interviewee chair, it's only your personality and presentation that will carry you to the next round--or not. Therefore, the only people that can determine which certs are useful/valuable to job-seeking candidates are the hiring managers themselves.
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