Hacking qualifications top IT professionals' wishlist

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Candidates spend nearly 50 hours swatting for exams

IT professionals hoping to boost their earnings and careers over the next five years are betting their shirts on ethical hacking and security qualifications, according to research from trade association CompTIA.

CompTIA surveyed more than 1,500 IT staffers and found 37% planned on taking security qualification, while another one in five respondents said they would be seeking qualifications in ethical hacking.

“Given the growing reach of security, with threats becoming more pervasive and dangerous and with no business or industry immune to those threats, it makes sense that many IT professionals view this as a must-have for career advancement,” says Terry Erdle, senior vice president for skills certifications at CompTIA.

Post-security breach qualifications were also in demand, the study showed, with 13% of respondents saying they would study for forensics certification over the next five years.

However, the earnings-boosting qualifications don't come without sacrifice, CompTIA found in its survey of US, Canadian and UK IT workers.

On average, candidates for an IT certification spend 44.5 hours studying and preparing to sit an exam, with one in three individuals spending 60 or more hours preparing.

Half of all IT certification holders pay for exams themselves, while 38% rely on an employer to cover fees.

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