If your career goals involve you working in IT for the government, it is wise to know what is required for government employment. DOD8140 is an important part of knowing what certifications you need.
For many professionals in the IT or cybersecurity industry, the pinnacle of their career goals would be to work for the Department of Defense, honing their skills and working on projects at the very top of their skill level.
But how do you set about making your working dreams a reality? What does it mean to be DOD 8140 compliant? Do you need to gain a specific selection of certifications in order to comply? In this article we’ll be de-mystifying the journey to employment, telling you the qualifications you’ll need, and how best to attain them.
DOD 8140 Compliance
DOD 8140 is a directive issued by the Department of Defense (hence, DOD), which is a revision and improvement of the previous 8570 directive. It is also known as the ‘Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program’. This directive details the IT and security standards and certifications that all Information Assurance personnel must adhere to universally within a specified time.
If you’re intending to work for the Department of Defense, or potentially other IT positions within the governmental sector, being literate and compliant with DOD 8140 is essential. The level of job you are hoping to attain will reflect upon which level of compliance you will be expected to adhere to.
In this article we will be focusing on the core elements, but depending on your skill-level and aspirations, you may be required to complete further measures to ensure you work is at the standard that the DOD expects.
The Qualifications Required
Within the DOD 8140 directive, a series of certifications are required in order to become compliant. These are also the same core certificates expected by the DOD when considering potential job applicants.
The five certifications you are required to attain to be both compliant and eligible to work for the DOD are as follows; A+, Network+, Security+, CEH and CISSP.
The CompTia certifications refer to the first three qualifications on the DOD’s list. Split into three separate courses, the A+, Network+, and Security+, these are the initial framework to which the CEH and CISSP are added.
Often simply referred to as A+, this course is the start of your compliance journey. Requiring the successful completion of two exams to pass, this certification covers understanding the many devices of the modern digital world, as well as an understanding of installing and configuring operating systems.
This CompTia certification, as its name might suggest, concerns itself with everything to do with Networks. This includes network configuration, management, troubleshooting, and visualization and is designed to ensure you know the nature of networks inside out.
In terms of the realities of modern IT usage, this certification, which requires the completion of one exam to achieve, this comprehensive understanding of how to secure networks and data is a must.
Gaining a CompTia Security+ certification will inform employers that you have an in depth and thorough understanding of all things security oriented, and that you know how to handle and secure data in a safe and strong way.
Standing for Certified Information Systems Security Professional, the CISSP certification requires at least five years full-time and practical knowledge concerning at least two of the eight key domains connected with cybersecurity. This is a key certification requirement for many data handling careers, such as security advisors and consultants and auditors. It is widely considered to be the top industry certification to demonstrate knowledge and practical skills regarding network security.
The final certification expected is known as the ‘EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker’ certificate is qualification designed in response to the difficulties faced in catching computer hackers. This certification works under the notion that the best way to catch these elusive hackers is to think like them.
On this course you’ll be learning ‘white-hat hacking techniques’, which will allow you to tackle the growing hacking problem head on.
Selecting your Courses
There are many websites which offer certification courses, to help you get qualified with confidence.
Ranging from 5-6 days these courses can be taken online or on-campus, with customizable courses that can include your flights and lodging, or simply the course on its own -you can select the option best suited to you and your circumstances.
Starting at $4,000+, these courses might seem expensive at first, but when you consider that becoming CISSP certified alone can lead to a pay increase of $21,000+ per year, this fee becomes much more of an affordable investment.
Attaining your Goals
Once you have become DOD 8140 compliant, and gained the relevant certifications required, you will be ready to start making your applications within the DOD.
However, if during your qualification journey you decide working for the Department of Defense is not for you, you most certainly haven’t wasted your time, as further certifications expand your job opportunities ten-fold, as well as the yearly salary you can expect to achieve.