GIAC: Going for the Gold

“Step back, I’m certified.” I just passed the test for the GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA). So I’m certified at the Silver level. I was happy to pass and happy to get the score I was shooting for.
The GIAC certifications now have a Silver and Gold level. Back when I first received my GCWN there was only the Gold level. The Silver level certification is what you receive when you pass the test. The Gold level is attained by additionally writing a practical (technical paper).
When this requirement was changed, Richard Bejtlich of TaoSecurity blogged “Of course students will perform this assignment. Who would want to drop $3000-$4000+ and end up with a “Silver Certification?”.
I think time has proven that wrong. If I’d blogged about that I back then I would have disagreed with him concluding most people would stop at Silver. Silver gets GCFA on the resume. My experience shows that Human Resources and HIring Managers do not understand certifications. They often dont bother to verify that they were really earned. In addition to not verifying them, they dont know what they mean. I’ve seen resume after resume claim MCSE. MCSE in what? Windows NT 4.0? This says to me that HR and Hiring Managers wont know the difference between a GIAC Silver and a GIAC Gold unless I take the time to explain it to them. GIAC Gold wont help get me through the HR resume filter. Once I make it to the Hiring Manager and future co-workers, the emphasis should be on skills not credentials; can I actually do forensics.
It looks to me like the market agrees with me. Unless the SANS listing of certified professionals is horribly out of date, no one has obtained a Gold GCFA in about 9 months. People haven’t gone Gold regularly since the requirement was dropped.
I’m a sucker for resume bling, so most likely I’ll be dropping my $300 for the Gold attempt . Or maybe I should just spend that on a professional resume writer.