Value of IT certifications

What is the real value of the various IT related certifications? Is it worth my time and money to get one?

The short answer to your question is yes, an IT oriented certification can be of great value to you if it’s in an area that you are trying to pursue professionally.

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IT based certifications have long been a mainstay of IT education and professional credentials. It’s been my experience that these certifications have two main advantages. First, and most important, they provide framework by which technical people can learn and gain a level of proficiently in a specific IT-related topic. Second, it provides the recipient with a credential showing they have a defined body of knowledge in a specific area.

When I was an IT Manager trying to hire new people, I looked at IT related certifications from the perspective that if the person cares enough about his/her career to spend his/her time and money:

  • Pursuing knowledge and credentials in a specialized area of technical study
  • Finding and signing up for classes
  • Studying for an exam
  • and passing an exam
    . . . then this person is
  • A self-starter
  • Follows through on planned activities
  • Is professionally minded
  • and has knowledge in a defined area of study.

All other things being equal, the person with the certification will most likely be the person that I would hire. That said, if things are not equal, which is mostly the case, I would view the certifications as a positive contributing factor in the decision of who to hire.

I have also seen certain IT organizations that require, or highly prefer, a specified certification such as ITIL or Six Sigma if the company is in the process of rolling out these methodologies throughout their organizations. In this case, if you have one of these certifications, you are in an excellent position to get hired.

There are a number of great IT oriented certifications that may be of value to you, based on your current professional knowledge and/or your future career aspirations. They are:

  • PMP - If you are or would like to be a project manager
  • ITIL - Information Technology Infrastructure Library
  • ITMLP and ITMLE if you would like to become an IT manager
  • Lean Six Sigma - Methodology that uses data and statistical analysis
  • Cisco CCNA - Cisco Certified Network Associate
  • Microsoft MCITP, MCTS, and MCSE - Certifications on various Microsoft products

This is by no means a complete list great industry certificates. It’s just a small list of some of the great IT certifications that are out there. My suggestion to you is that if there is a specific area of study that you are trying to professionally pursue, see if there is a certification in that area. If there is, it will not only give you a framework from which to study, but it will also give a professional credential in your area of interest and connect you into the mainstream of thought leadership in your chosen area.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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