Posted by AAG-ArchivedMessages on Mar 3, 2011 in General Questions, Miscellaneus | 3 comments
he question on the importance of IT certifications has been all over the internet the past couple of years. It seems with the recession that IT professionals are finding it far more difficult to get (and hold) IT positions and they are looking for anything they can to help better their chances of getting that upcoming job.
Many certificate holders will tell you that certifications are extremely important and if you are serious about getting into IT or aren’t getting any call backs for job interviews you may want to consider preparing for and taking some exams. On the other hand, many professionals who don’t hold certifications will tell you how unimportant they are to the real world and they are only prized possessions to the earner- not the employer.
Depending on who you talk to your answer can be “Yes! IT certifications are important and you need to get on them right away!” or “No! Don’t waste your time or money studying for certifications!” It may help to think about it from a different perspective- does an IT certification ever heard an individual who is trying to get a job? You can search the internet high and low trying to find examples of how certifications had an adverse affect on an IT professional but your search will come back empty. A certification cannot guarantee a job offer or more call backs but it’s not going to hurt you in the long run.
There are some very important IT certifications that professionals should have. If you plan on working inside computers (diagnostics, repair, upgrades) the CompTIA A+ is crucial. Never mind the naysayers who say the test is too easy and only for amateurs- the A+ certification proves the certificate holder knows technology best practices and the fundamentals of the inner workings of a computer. Quick searches on Monster.com and Dice.com will illustrate many job postings are asking for the A+ certification. You’ll find many more asking for Microsoft Windows OS/Server certifications as well as the Cisco Network and Security certifications. Employers (and recruiters worth their weight in helium) realize that IT certifications don’t prove you have any real world experience but it shows you are willing to take the extra step to learn a technology.
Another common question is whether or not a stack full of certifications is better than having a degree. No one can say for sure what an employer is going to do in a situation where there are two equally experienced candidates and one holds just an AAS or BS in Information Technology and the other holds a handful of certifications (A+, Network+, Microsoft Server 2008, CCNA, CCSP) but never stepped foot into college. Together, a degree and IT certifications would make a candidate look real impressive at an interview.
In short, if you want to stand out you should consider earning any number of available IT certifications from whatever vendor most interests you. Start with some of the more basic ones before moving on up (there’s no reason you should just try to get a Cisco certification as your first one). In my personal experience my first certification was CompTIA’s Security+. It took months of studying and preparation before I got the nerve to book the expensive exam and it was far more difficult than I could have imagined. In the end I did quite well on the exam and earned the Security+ certification but I wouldn’t recommend skipping A+ and Network+. Start simple and build up your profile the easy way.
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I’m not sure on this. I know of a lot of certified IT professionals who don’t know what they’re doing. In addition, I don’t like the idea of spending money, months–and potentially years–on getting a certification that’s only there to
make your resume show up on a search engine.
Experience is more important than any degree or IT certification.
Certifications are vital for anyone trying to break into the IT industry or get a new career. They are going to set you apart from everyone else when the hiring manager is going through the stack of resumes on their desk. A lot of people say that ‘experience is more important’, but that really doesn’t answer the question. Experience is very important, but you won’t get any experience if you don’t get hired because you have no qualifications or proof of your abilities, which is what certs really are. You are most likely to regret not getting a certification than you ever will be that you did.
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