Is the ROI ever not there?

OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
I was thinking about how much certifications cost - books, courses, exams etc - and then what the ROI would have to be in most cases.

Now apart from the time and effort spent studying - which is hard to quantify, especially when a lot of things you would end up reading/studying anyway when you come across that particular issue in your work - most of these certifications only cost a few hundred. So, they wouldn't need to increase your salary all that much to justify themselves.

If you take an extreme example of doing Cisco bootcamps for every exam up to CCNP R+S (5 exams total), at about $5000 a pop including books, then even that 25,000 would probably pay for itself in a few years.

Even some minor certification that has not much visibility would probably help you earn the few hundred extra it costs to do.

So are there certifications where the ROI isn't there? Or is it more a case of the ROI on this cert is better than that cert, so with my limited time, I'm going for this one?
2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM

Comments

  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I don't think if I became a certified golf instructor I would get much of an ROI in my career in info sec...
  • Christian.Christian. Member Posts: 88 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well, the ROI is positive as long as the certification you took helps you get a new position with a pay increase, that way it would be quantifiable. If it didn't, then it would be negative, like taking the Security+ if you already had the CISSP.. and you work in Networking. The same if you take +10 certifications and you never change companies and let them expire. At that point it was worthless.

    But personally, I don't think the ROI in certifications is related to the price, I think is time. As you mentioned, they are not really expensive, so the question I ask myself is, Is it worth it for me to take X certification that involves 3, 6, 12 months of study, or should I do something else with that time? That's how I define if I should do something or not. I try to find the point of equilibrium where doing extra certifications wont make any positive impact in my career, but it will on my personal life because at the end, I want to enjoy my life a little, not study all the time.
    CISSP | CCSM | CCSE | CCSA | CCNA Sec | CCNA | CCENT | Security+ | Linux+ | Project+ | A+ | LPIC1
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Member Posts: 976 ■■■■■□□□□□
    If you learn the material you're studying and then use it in real life, the ROI is spot on. If you're not learning the material then why'd you study the topic?

    If the answer is to look good on a resume with a few letters after your name, that's a bad excuse since you're going to end up getting burned in some way shape or form if you get a job based on the supposed knowledge with those letters after your name.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    So if you don't take advantage of the skills/knowledge/certification by asking for more money or looking elsewhere for work, then yeah, it might be wasted money. Or if they are totally irrelevant to your career path, or if they are overwhelmed by higher level certs (eg "I don't care that you have CCNA DC, if you have CCIE R+S. At that level I assume you can do the basic DC stuff or at least pick it up quickly"). Most of those seem obvious, but I'm sure people have fallen into these traps.

    The point about time, which I alluded to, and Christian talked about seems more pertinent. That it's about juggling several options, and although they might all be "good" options, some options are better.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,081 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If it is required for your job, there is ROI.
    If the certification gets you a better-paying job, there is ROI.
    If you learn something new and apply it to real life, there is ROI.
    If the new learning increases your productivity and helps you do your job faster and easier, there is ROI.

    The last point is important to me; I lost count of the number of times how some new knowledge improves my productivity at work and frees up time for other activities.
    OctalDump wrote: »
    So are there certifications where the ROI isn't there? Or is it more a case of the ROI on this cert is better than that cert, so with my limited time, I'm going for this one?
    So I guess you need to see what can improve your productivity. It may not be another certification. It may be some scripting knowledge or programming skills.
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Member Posts: 553 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Many of my colleagues look at Certifications for short term ROI. The cert requirement for the job at hand and that's all that matters. There is great ROI there. 100% of your salary depends on the cert or certs.

    If you look toward the medium term and plan out certs to help you look better when a promotion comes up there is some delayed ROI to that. If the next job requires a CCNP but everyone on your tier has a CCNA and aren't working on the next level it may give you a leg up to already have your CCNP.

    Long term, if you're not planning to retire from your current job having more certs can get you past that automated HR screen. I want to be an Architect at VMware, staying with my VCP alone won't help me as much as the VCAP DCA and DCD.

    Lastly, there can be ROI beyond money. If it makes you happy, if you like the challenge, and if you desire more advanced letters behind your name then that contributes to the ROI too.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    tbgree00 wrote: »
    There is great ROI there. 100% of your salary depends on the cert or certs.

    Sounds like a place you could increase your salary pretty quickly if you work hard!

    (guessing it could promote using **** as well though...)
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Member Posts: 553 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sounds like a place you could increase your salary pretty quickly if you work hard!

    (guessing it could promote using **** as well though...)


    More like a place that really means it when they say you are required to get your certs within a year.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    I don't think if I became a certified golf instructor I would get much of an ROI in my career in info sec...

    What is the ROI like for being a certified gemologist? icon_cool.gif
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
  • kiki162kiki162 Member Posts: 635
    Question is...what is YOUR end goal. What do you hope to accomplish? More money? Different job? If you feel that you have maxed out your current job, then yes it's time to explore your options. Since you seem to have more of a system admin background (according to your certs), why not go for the security certs instead, like CISSP, GSEC, etc?

    I think that you may do yourself a disservice here in a few years when some of the certs you have expire, and you never use them. Work on completely some of your certs (MCSE and RHCE) out first. I think going for the RHCE, CISSP, MCSE, and possibly CCNP would be your best ROI.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    bpenn wrote: »
    What is the ROI like for being a certified gemologist? icon_cool.gif

    It is amazingly unprofitable in helping my career... I know, it surprised me too!
  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think you can reach a point where the ROI is limited, especially if you already have several higher level certifications. Unless you just like to study all of the time there probably is not a huge benefit. Time can diminish value, at which point you have to decide if you are going to put the effort into the latest greatest got to have cert. Personally I am going to work on getting the MCSE this year, after which maybe a CEH or CISSP, and then I'm going to stop. When 10-15 years pass I plan to go into management. The end.
    ________________________________________
    M.I.S.M:
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,229 Mod
    certifications are a means to an end, you do them because you have an end goal in mind.
  • UncleBUncleB Member Posts: 417
    daviddws wrote: »
    Personally I am going to work on getting the MCSE this year, after which maybe a CEH or CISSP, and then I'm going to stop. When 10-15 years pass I plan to go into management. The end.

    All 3 certs are in need of renewing every 3 years or so otherwise they lapse and you can no longer claim to be certified, so unless you want to be just another uncertified techie you should seriously consider that studying should be a part of your lifestyle.

    I have found that I need to set aside about a month of my free time each year to keep my certs current and develop new skills that my work may not offer (in order to get to the next step up or move elsewhere) and that includes management skills - these don't just grow organically and even a natural leader needs to learn the way to handle aspects such as time management, staff appraisals, coaching, mentoring, speed reading, health & safety, performance management, disciplinary processes, mediation, contract management, recruiting etc etc.

    It never stops if you want to be good at your job.

    thanks
    Iain
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    UncleB wrote: »
    All 3 certs are in need of renewing every 3 years or so otherwise they lapse and you can no longer claim to be certified, so unless you want to be just another uncertified techie you should seriously consider that studying should be a part of your lifestyle.

    FWIW, for the CISSP at least, you don't really "renew", you have to pay fees, and keep up continuing ed credits, but you don't have to retake the test every 3 years.
  • dustervoicedustervoice Member Posts: 877 ■■■■□□□□□□
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    certifications are a means to an end, you do them because you have an end goal in mind.

    Endorsed!
  • LexluetharLexluethar Member Posts: 516
    I agree with what Mike said - if getting the certification adds value whether it be at your job, knowledge or future earnings there is ROI there.

    For me and my experiences, most of the ROI i've experienced is from the knowledge i've gained while studying for the certification. Sure having a certification may have assisted in landing a job but I'd like to think hard work and dedication got me the jobs, not a piece of paper.

    With that said though where i don't see the ROI is when people pay tens of thousands of dollars for certifications. Boot camps, certification mills (like colleges but they just get you certifications) do nothing but put you in debt and you generally don't learn the material. What good is going to a CCNP boot camp for 5 days, spending tens of thousands of dollars when you won't remember a darn thing the following Monday.

    Sure, if you are trying to get your foot into IT or a new role certifications can definitely help you stand out, for long term career advancement and success you need to look beyond the certification. You need to understand the technology and how to troubleshoot issues. I know tons of people with lots of certifications that couldn't troubleshoot their way out of a cardboard box, yet i see others with no certifications or one or two and they can solve literally any IT problem because they know how to approach it.

    I continue getting certifications for both reasons, one because it will make me more marketable for career advancement, two because i learn the material. I don't spend thousands of dollars on training, i buy the book, build a lab and study my arse off to understand the material.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    From my experience, certifications were great to give me a reputation to get some interviews and get into IT. Once in though, they haven't seemed very important and most of my colleagues don't have them. Unfortunately I've gotten comfortable (and lazy) and haven't been interested in pursuing them much anymore. I've got some ITIL ones that work sent me to, but I stopped the bulk of my self study.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    Lexluethar wrote: »
    I agree with what Mike said - if getting the certification adds value whether it be at your job, knowledge or future earnings there is ROI there.

    To flip that around, you could get certified and then not pursue the new job (or ask for more responsibility/money or whatever), and it's not the certification that's the problem, just yourself for not taking advantage.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    From my experience, certifications were great to give me a reputation to get some interviews and get into IT. Once in though, they haven't seemed very important and most of my colleagues don't have them. Unfortunately I've gotten comfortable (and lazy) and haven't been interested in pursuing them much anymore. I've got some ITIL ones that work sent me to, but I stopped the bulk of my self study.


    I would have to agree. In my case I am required to get another MSCA this year, but other than that I have been working mostly on PowerShell scripting and other admin tasks.
    ________________________________________
    M.I.S.M:
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
  • LexluetharLexluethar Member Posts: 516
    Agreed David and Devil - the biggest ROI for certifications is getting into IT or getting a new job. once there unless the company requires certifications to be renewed (or tie income directly to certifications). Also making vertical moves or moves to other companies certifications help, but there is definitely a diminishing return. People care more that i've been a system admin for 4 years more than having my MCSA.
  • TechGromitTechGromit GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 2,000 ■■■■■■■■□□
    OctalDump wrote: »
    So are there certifications where the ROI isn't there? Or is it more a case of the ROI on this cert is better than that cert, so with my limited time, I'm going for this one?

    Depends, it's a difficult question to answer, dependent on a lot of conditions. One such example I can think of, there was a secretary at a company I used to work for, she went to school and obtained a MCSA certification, she was a complete moron when it had anything to do with computers, she must have passed by memorizing a brain **** or something. In her case, since she wasn't using her certification, it was a complete waste of money, she probably got it with some unemployment retraining program. On the other hand, while I was at the same company, new management came in and said they were basing compensation on the number of certifications you possessed. At the time I had none, but I had over 10 years experience in IT at the time. I picked up ExamCram books for A+ and Network+ and passed three tests in under a month. For something like a $60 investment and a couple of weeks of intensive studying, I got myself a nice 3 grand raise.

    So my answer is if you obtain a certification and do not use it to get a better job, raise or to fortify your position in your current position, then the ROI is not worth it.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • jonenojoneno Member Posts: 257 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Whaddup Unix Kant :) You brought back memories of my philosophy classes lol.
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