When it comes down to it, any professional accreditation is only as good as its relevance in the field. According to veteran security engineer Jeremy Hoel, the new CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification covers the big picture for today's needs.
"It's very useful," said Hoel. "It seemed to be much more focused on the reality of what tools go where and why and how multiple parts fit together."
Hoel, a senior security engineer for global IT services provider PE Systems Inc., said he already could see the benefits within his own workplace.
"It would allow co-workers to demonstrate an understanding of multiple security parts of a network and how they should come together," said the resident of Herndon, Va.
Hoel said he became fascinated with computers at a very young age, an interest that served him well for his first official IT role as a systems administrator during a stint in the U.S. Navy.
He continued to apply his technical expertise to the installation and maintenance of NT, Novell and Exchange systems on the submarines on which he served. Once he exited the service, Hoel spent more than a decade contracting for the U.S. Army in various technical roles that began to shift to more security-focused duties.
Hoel said he gravitated toward a professional path in IT security because it was not only more technical, but "more specialized and something that every business needs. It's also not easily understood or taught as much in schools."
For that reason, he jumped at the chance to serve as an early beta tester for CASP.
Hoel, who counts CompTIA A+, CompTIA Security+ and CISSP among his various industry credentials, said most of the information in the CASP exam had been gained through his own work experience, more so than previous exams.
He described CASP as somewhat akin to a joint CompTIA Security+/CompTIA Network+ exam. "As in it covers more practical application of both of those exams," Hoel said.
No matter how experienced one is in the field of IT security, Hoel said, it will always remain a challenge to keep up with the constant carousel of technology products, languages, web development tools and vulnerabilities.
Any qualified industry professional with the opportunity to have CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Network+ and CASP under his or her belt, Hoel said, "should have a good logical, theoretical basis of how network security should work in practical application."