Certification for systems integrators is heading this way

Friday, October 1, 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Security Industry Association is working on a certification program for people who integrate security systems.

The certification program would become the second of its kind from the association. Earlier this year, SIA completed a certification for security project managers that includes both a training element and a certificate for people who meet certain criteria.

According to Bill Nuffer, who chairs the Systems Integration Industry Group subcommittee working on the project certification, the goal is to recognize people with the skills to integrate security systems and also provide people who don’t have the skill-sets with the training to achieve that level of expertise.

It will also provide end users and manufacturers with a way to identify accomplished security systems integrators.

“For the end user and consultants, we’re giving them a tool by which to select integrators,” said Nuffer.

But so far, coming up with the program has been challenging.

“Training is relatively easy,” said Jay Hanger, director of education and training services for SIA. “Credentialing is a different story.”

The two biggest challenges have been clearly identifying the position the subcommittee was looking to define through the program and determining how to tackle the training element.

“The role of that position is changing rapidly,” said Nuffer, with the advent of integrated systems, IT and now logistics and supply chain management on the horizon. “The project management position, and the concept of dealing with the client, has changed little in terms of scope.”

Nuffer said after months of collaborating, the subcommittee decided to refer to the program as Security Systems Engineer Certification.

And, because there are already numerous training programs in the security market today, Nuffer said the subcommittee has had to tread lightly. It did not want to come up with a program that did not recognize people who had already achieved certain certifications, such as Microsoft Certified.

To help with the process, SIA polled people in the industry about their interest in such a program and whether one was needed. SIA is now expected to take the reins of the project, with the subcommittee submitting a 2005 budget proposal request for the association to fund the final steps.

“That’s too big, and gigantic of a job to do purely on a volunteer basis,” said Nuffer, who hopes the certification will be available by the middle of next year.