Is It What You Know Or Who You Know?

It’s one of the best known sayings in the English language: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

It's Not What You Know It's Who You Know

Who’s to say this is incorrect?

A British study shows seven out of every ten young Brits use family connections to get their foot in the door.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates as many as 70% or even 80% of all jobs are found through networking.  LinkedIn has become an extremely powerful tool in job hunting.

So is it all about who you know?  Let’s change the sentence just a bit.

“It’s about what you know AND who you know”.

Let’s hypothetically say I’m the hiring manager of a tech company, reviewing the information of two candidates for a Systems Administrator position. Both are very qualified and have done an outstanding job of networking to the point that I’m comfortable hiring either of them.  I think they would work well with me, fit the company culture, and make terrific employees.  Which one to choose?

Now let’s say one holds current networking certifications, like CompTIA’s Network+ or Cisco’s CCNA.  The other doesn’t hold certifications.

CompTIA Network+

Certifications help prove that you have the required knowledge and skills for the tasks you’ll be assigned.  It’s why in many cases they’ve become a requirement in the hiring process.

The moral of the story?  Focus on every networking opportunity.  Consider getting involved with local organizations like the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA).  One of our instructors encourages his cybersecurity students to get involved with the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA).  But also consider IT certifications as a skill validation of what you know.  It’s also crucially important.

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