FALL 2017 | CompTIAWorld 47 Certs in Service “The opportunities in the military are endless,” Holliday said. “We embark on cyber-forces to focus on defense and offense. This allows us to provide traditional IT support so we can continue our mission in contested or non-contested environments.” Holliday’s team provides basic IT, including help desk, customer support, troubleshooting, server maintenance and cloud technology. In other words, they are giving day- to-day communications support to military units. And while the DoD requires Holliday’s team to hold certain IT certifications, he also sees value in getting and keeping certifications when doing IT for the military. “When you are looking to get or keep your certification, you have to study and know what you’re doing,” he said. “Most people are going to get certs in their day- to-day job, so it keeps them proficient. And meeting continuing education requirements keeps you relevant. Certifications keep you relevant with today’s IT.” CompTIA’s continuing education program helps people keep track of their certification’s expiration date and how many continuing education units (CEUs) they’ve earned through activities like attending webinars, teaching courses or earning additional IT certifications. The military takes it a step further by paying the continuing education fees and putting on webinars specifically for military personnel. Holliday said the classes he took to get his master’s degree earned him CEUs, and he attends webinars “religiously.” “I get a notification, I log in and I love it,” he said. Translating Military IT to a Civilian Career In the Air National Guard, Smith continued to get hands-on IT experience while working toward his bachelor’s degree and doing internships at John Deere and Ernst & Young, in addition to Principal. The IT work he did in the Air Force and Air National Guard gave him a broad range of experience, as well as a CompTIA certification and security clearance. “I use the analogy that we’re big fish in a small pond. We do systems administration, deal with operating systems, push out software and work with servers and active directories,” he said. “We also remote in to switches, make sure routes are correct, configure IP addresses. There’s a lot of networking work and client-side work. We do really basic work and advanced work.” In the Air National Guard, he has helped units prepare for government communications security inspections. This experience directly correlates to what he does now in his full-time job, performing IT audits and risk assessments for Ernst & Young. When he interviewed for the job, he had to review a case study and do a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis for a brick- and-mortar financial institution that wanted to go online. “I was able to relay terms and theories from Security+ to provide in- depth analysis,” he said. The Value of Certifications for Employers After Bays earned his certification, his employer not only reimbursed the related costs, but also rewarded him with more responsibility. He works closely with InfoReliance’s cybersecurity, database and application teams to help mitigate vulnerabilities, apply security fixes, modify application firewalls and more—all skills he mastered from CompTIA Security+. Bays added that he has noticed a shift in the value private-sector companies place on IT certifications now that he is in the workforce. “Employers want people who know what they’re doing, who are prepared to get right to work helping clients,” he said. What Are U.S. DoD 8140 and 8570? DoD 8570 established training, certification and workforce management baselines to keep the government’s systems and data secure. In August 2015, DoD 8140 replaced and updated DoD 8570 as a more flexible and inclusive mandate. In addition to keeping the government’s IT running smoothly, the mandate helps to build a skilled workforce and help veterans transition from military to civilian careers. CompTIA certifications included in DoD 8140: • CompTIA A+ • CompTIA Network+ • CompTIA Security+ •CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner n