Certification Purpose: What do You Think?

MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey, gang, I thought it would be interesting to start a conversation about everyone's feelings of the purpose of certification. Do you think it is a way to prove skills you have been using for a long time in your career? Is a certification a way to jump up within your company's title/pay scale? Are they a way to demonstrate your comfort with a new area in which you don't currently work but would like to go?


  • TCainnnTCainnn Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    To me certifications are just a way of saying I have a interest in my career and have invested resources to prove my knowledge.
    "Excuses are for the weak. Overcoming is for the strong"
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Certs show you know you just enough to pass a test. And HR needs to see these tests passed because they have no idea what skills/experience to look for in candidates.

    I'll use certs to get passed HR and to get interviews for jobs I want to get.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    In the perfect world people would only certify in things they really know and have experience with. Just not the way it goes though. So really just shows you have a bit of dedication and knowledge in the area.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    I live in a moderate IT market with high competition. I need a way to stand out above other applicants and certifications definitely help get you past HR and into a possible interview. I need every advantage I can get in this area and certifications are just one method to allow me to shine brighter.
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    It's changed as I've progressed through my career

    Phase 1 - To meet the job requirements. These are the first certs to get keyword hits on my resume or get past the HR filters. The tests were more challenging because they were my first certs and it was the first time I was exposed to much of the material. I remember being thrilled when I passed and actually celebrating after exams.

    Phase 2 - To demonstrate expertise in the technologies I use. Pick up a CCNA because I start supporting Cisco or add +Messaging to my MCSE because I administer Exchange. This led to greater specialization around Exchange for me. The tests were easier because I was working with the technology every day and I even got to go to training once. Passing tests was still exciting, but celebrations changed from a night out to a good microbrew and a cigar. Although I did get a bonus once.

    Phase 3 - Obligation. I need to maintain my certifications or achieve new ones to meet vendor partner requirements. These can be exam tracks for partner competencies or single exams for partner funded engagements. I try to motivate myself by saying "Yay, another Exchange exam" or "That Deploying Vista and Office 2007 cert will look great on the resume." Certs become an annoyance because the exams are a pain to schedule around client obligations and the exams are beta or very new so there is little material to study - but I did get to go to training once. Celebration is I get to go back to work, although my manager did take me out to lunch once.
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Member Posts: 976 ■■■■■□□□□□
    For me:
    #1 - I'm a lifetime student and certify to expand my knowledge base. I really enjoy learning new things and challenging myself at the end of the journey with a test to prove I've mastered the subject. I don't take the test to pass it, I take it to ace it.

    #2 - Certs have a convenient way of looking good on resumes when answering specific job listing requirements.

    #3 - Higher-level certs tend to lend themselves to higher salaries. Hiring a security guy is one thing, hiring a security guy with CISSP, OSCP, CISA, and a few GIACs defaults into a higher pay grade by default with most employers in my region.

    Overall for me it's a win-win-win.

    For interviewees:
    #1 - I value them for people applying for jobs because it shows they've at least done something to prove some knowledge about the subject. Helps when comparing & contrasting two otherwise identical candidates

    #2 - Assuming this is true, I find value in hiring people (esp. in security) who, like me, really like to learn new things and keep up with the pace of (r)evolution in IT.
  • thomas_thomas_ CompTIA N+/S+/L+ CCNA R&S CCNP R&S/Enterprise/Collab Member Posts: 991 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I think certs just show I know "something about something" and I'm a little more credible claiming I know "something about something" when I have a cert vs when I don't have a cert.
  • Shoe BoxShoe Box Banned Posts: 118
    I think certs are the way to show that you have taken a serious interest in improving your IT career, and aren't just getting hired into a better job by luck or because they are friends with the IT director. I'm sure there are many sysadmins and network admins out there who never had a cert and can do their jobs perfectly well, but when dealing with paper pushing HR 'tards, they only understand 4 letters at a time. Like CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, etc.

    I am now in my first decent IT job since getting my CCT R&S. And I notice that there are 2 kinds of IT people. Those who get certs and improve their jobs and salaries, and those who just fall back on "nah, I never got into those things", and will never amount to much.

    Already, after getting only my CCT, I feel a bit of the IT elitism that can only come from having earned certs. To the two people I work with, I look at them now and think "Oh...... you DON'T have any certifications? Hmmm....."
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    TCainnn wrote: »
    To me certifications are just a way of saying I have a interest in my career and have invested resources to prove my knowledge.
    Exactly my sentiment.
  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It changes for me depending on what stage I'm at in my career. Right now certs are helping fill in a lot of missing gaps on the fundamentals.
    My Cisco Blog Adventure: http://shawnmoorecisco.blogspot.com/

    Don't Forget to Add me on LinkedIn!
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