Certification Profile: Nikhilesh Sharma, CPP, PCI, PSP
Whether it’s baseball, horse racing, or certifications—the Triple Crown is a rare accomplishment. Fewer than 200 security professionals worldwide have completed the ASIS board certification Triple Crown: Certified Protection Professional (CPP®), Physical Security Professional (PSP®), and Professional Certified Investigator (PCI®) designations. Nikhilesh Sharma, CPP, PCI, PSP, earned them all in just 18 months.
Before working in private security, Sharma served more than 20 years in the Indian military, supporting the army in logistics and planning roles. “With my military background, security was part of my bread and butter,” he says. “As I transitioned out of the army, I sought a job in security management—similar to my previous roles, but in a different setup with new considerations.”
During a security management resettlement course, his instructor mentioned ASIS certification as a means of strengthening his security background. Sharma was working in security and facility management with the Residential Welfare Association (RWA) for the Gurjinder Vihar township in Greater Noida, India, so he spoke with certification holders from nearby ASIS chapters. He saw the value of this professional organization and joined the New Delhi Chapter in February 2016. Then he set out on his certification journey.
“Guided by the exam domains, the Protection of Assets, and ASIS standards and guidelines, I woke up and studied between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. each weekday, with two more hours of study upon returning home in the evening,” he notes. “On Saturday, I would evaluate my progress against my study goals, and then take a break on Sunday to refocus on the week ahead.”
He attained the CPP in July 2016—and set his sights on the PSP and PCI.
He found an online study group and earned the PSP in August 2017. Just five months later, he obtained his PCI designation and took over as chief security officer for luxury hotel ITC Rajputana. He has recently moved to the Toronto, Canada, region.
“Once I earned my certifications, I enjoyed additional responsibilities in all my assignments,” he notes. “The knowledge gained from exam preparations also helped improve my security practice against current threats. After having acquired all three certifications, I was able to show my company the benefits of employee certification. The company created a policy to sponsor more security managers to attain their CPP certifications.”
Sharma’s recommendation for ITC staff to become certified echoes his greater commitment to the security community and professional development. He spearheaded a program to encourage guards at the company to specialize and diversify their skill sets. “I built a training schedule,” he says, “and in a matter of months our security guards learned skills, including metal detector machine operation, concierge duties, and security operations center and visitor management system operations.”
Regarding studying, he recommends the following: “Chart your progression through the study material and stay focused as you prepare. Your certification is an investment in your future. Reach out to local ASIS chapters, and, if possible, keep in touch with a mentor. Do not give up. Stick to your daily work schedule, and it will only be a matter of time before you have the certifications under your belt.”