Certs: Why & how do you get certs

antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
How many of you go write a certification with the hopes of getting a new job versus writing them to demonstrate you know the material to acquire the cert?

Most of the time I tend to work with a technology & then after having some exposure, I will go write the exam. The only certifications I went after without experience were A+ (to get the first job) and CCNA (to learn CISCO). I ask this because I see a lot of "which certs will get me a job". I thought about it & almost all my certs were never about getting a job excluding my most recent cert (Linux) used to get me into that realm. I guess I've always saw a cert as a way of saying "yep, I worked with this and I know it".


  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I started doing certifications because I thought they may lead to higher level position. For me I was already on a helpdesk position before I landed my first certification. While answering phones I reeived A+ N+ and Security +, I also did ITIL V3 foundation and Microsoft Office (at the time there was a position opening up at my company for MS support and it was a way off of the helpdesk, sadly they went in a different direction). A+ and ITIL helped out quite a bit in the beginning. The rest never did much Security and Network +. Since I had a BS in management from a popular University in the local area I was an easy sell into project management and operational management. I continued down that path for a while until I realized I like analyst work just as much, not necassarily more. I since then have transitioned into a business/data analyst role and it has been nice, a lot less stress (not as much pay). My project management certifications have helped out as well, but not to the exstent of A+ or ITIL believe it or not.

    My opinion is not popular however I have lived it and feel that getting certifications just to get them or to land a better job is a slippery slope and should be managed wisely. Being on the helpdesk for instance and getting the NP, CISSP and MCSE looks weird and is waste IMO. Unless you are truly hands on with the technology you really aren't learning it from my vantage point. I am studying SQL right now while I am face deep into SSMS. There is NO WAY I could learn and retain those concepts unless I was working with SQL almost every single day.

    I list all of my certifications in my signature for more fun than anything. Honestly I list 4 - 5 certifications when I apply for job no way more than 5. It really starts to slime up the resume and take away from ME and MY accomplishments which are more important than a certification.

    My advice to anyone getting into the certification world is to get one certification that aligns with your skills and see where it takes you in relation to your objective. After analyzing that situation if you feel the need for another one then by all means go for it, but it always concerns me when someone new to IT etc gets 5 certifications right off the bat and ends up landing a helpdesk job when they could of saved 1000 dollars or so and got to the same destination with one certification.
  • About7NarwhalAbout7Narwhal Member Posts: 761
    I don't think you are wrong. That said, my HDI:SCA was strictly for a job. I have never had any value come of it that I am aware of and I did not learn anything in the process of acquiring it.

    Compare that to my MCTS that I learned for personal achievement. I learned the material as I studied for the exam. It wasn't something I already worked with and knew but something I learned along the way. I had never deployed an image, never had to work with KMS, and had never heard of shims. Currently, that certification has gained me nothing in my career. People see it and don't really care. My knowledge is all but lost at this point because I never use it.

    Lastly, we look at your proposal: Take an exam because you already know the material. When compared to my situations I am guessing that the certification is more valuable because not only did you have the knowledge to get it, you have the experience to back it up. Sure, no one remembers everything, but I would bet you have retained more information from certifications on applications/HW/Tech that you haven't worked with in years than I have on my MCTS that I achieved less than a year ago.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @ nar good point about the MCTS. I did something similiar with MS Project to help land a PM role early on and while at the time I hand a solid handle on it and could easily relearn it, most of what I learned about it is gone. Most environments I have been apart of use Excel or some other software to track projects not MS Project.
  • Dieg0MDieg0M Member Posts: 861
    I started taking certs to have a paper that can show what I know. Half way through my CCNP, I started learning new things and I decided to continue doing certs to advance my theoretical and practical knowledge as a personal challenge.
    Follow my CCDE journey at www.routingnull0.com
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Member Posts: 1,423
    This answer I believe will be varied depending on the individual and where they are in their career.

    For example, I got CCNA for the promotion. Then 2 years layer I had to get my CCNP because of that position.

    After a few years I got certifications to keep my skills up to par such as upgrading my MCSA to MCITP for Server 2008, along with CCNA:W/S & CWNA/SQL, etc to broaden my skill set just see where my career would go. (As I was still kind of undecided at the time)

    Again a few years later (After making the decision to be strong in networking) I went after the CCDP/CCIP/etc in order to go for higher end positions.

    Nowadays, certifications will not due too much for me. (unless I nail down a CCIE or two icon_smile.gif )

    However I do still study, I've been dealing with Data Center quite a bit lately and would like to set aside time to knock out CCNA/CCNP: Data Center, however I want to work with the technology a bit more and be more familiar with it before I get to that level of certification. However the certification is really just for me at this point just so I have a goal in my mind to keep going.
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
  • Kinet1cKinet1c Member Posts: 604 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Did you ever hear the saying... dress for the job you want? I've decided to certify for the job I want... I dress sharp enough at interviews too ;)

    In my current position, MCSA Windows 7 and ITIL-F are probably the only relevant certifications. Whereas my goal of moving to network/virtualisation meant studying for CCNA/VCP etc.
    2018 Goals - Learn all the Hashicorp products

    Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity
  • jvrlopezjvrlopez Member Posts: 913 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My first 3 certs (Net+, Sec+, CEH) were required for my job. There were some parallels with the work and the material covered in the certs, so after getting familiar with the job, I took the exams. I can kind of see why they would be required for the positions I sat.

    I tested for CCNA because I wanted to further my networking skills/knowledge and accomplish something during a downtime at work (I was coming up on a full year of working nights). I didn't really do it with seeking a new job in mind, but I've been told it helped me move from my previous position to the current one (but the pay is the same!!!! crash.gif)
    And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high. ~Ayrton Senna
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I am currently pursuing an associate in Computer Science and getting my CCNA as part of the program by specializing in Networking. This is part of a long term plan to change careers over the next two years. So my initial goal is to gain certification for employment. I need to be in a position to gain an entry level job but have built up some skills to allow me to advance once I get there.

    My long term goal after that is to continue to pursue certifications that interest me to guide my learning. In my current position there is not a lot of study material for learning. It’s mostly based on experience and reading software manuals. I like the fact that in IT I can learn additional topics and have some way of demonstrating that success. So the larger goal for me is personal development.
  • olaHaloolaHalo Member Posts: 748 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I assuming that the more you know, the more you can be worth.
    Studying for certs forces you to know more usually.
    So I keep studying.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    When I started out, I studied to learn more and to look better for future jobs. I would say that I wasted a bit of time and money on CompTIA certifications but I also picked up a bit of information about servers, virtualization, etc that comes in handy from time-to-time.

    These days, it's all about the knowledge and personal goals. I still read books that I don't get certified on. Currently on my shelf to read for the next year is Cisco ISE for BYOD, NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching, TCP/IP Illustrated Vol I and II, Internetworking with TCP/IP Vol I, and a few others but the more I'm dealing with a new data center rollout that I'll have to be part of this year, the more I think about going through the CCNA and CCNP Data Center in the future because it'll give me more of a structured study approach and I'll have something to show for it at the end.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I knew even before I got my degree that I would need certifications to help start my career.

    I got my first MCP exam passed just over 9 years ago. I was 21, fresh out of university and starting in my first job. I could see even looking at job posts that they were all asking for cert's, so to go get some was just a no-brainer. I became MCSA and MCSE at 22 and landed my first Systems Administrator gig. My suspicions were completely nailed at this interview. The guy interviewing who became my manager was more interested in the MCSE exams I had done than my degree! 3 years well spent. After the interview, I was offered the job within 20 minutes and never looked back - it was obvious that the path of a good career in IT would always include certifications.

    It's not all about my career though, I do actually enjoy learning it and a lot of my motivation really is down to "this guy knows more than me, I need to go learn some more so I am better." It's quite a selfish attitude but it is one that I am sure will guarantee me a very good career.

    I started with Cisco cert's in 2008, becoming CCNP in 2010 and now I'm on the road to CCIE. I have 5 full months of prep left before my lab, and with a few hundred hours reading and admittedly only a few labbing hours, I already feel like I am on my way to getting it. I know what lies ahead of me in 2014, I just need to go and do it all.

    Once I've done the CCIE (because it is a matter of when not if :)) then I'll probably go do another. Or I might renew my MCSE to 2012, or I might go do VMWare. Ultimately, a second CCIE isn't out of the realms of achievable. A new job by the end of 2014 would be nice too.

    Either way, I'm not overly concerned for my future as I've got plenty of marketable skills that I can fall on should my position in Telecoms at this company become a problem. But as we are currently expanding - then I see no reason to be concerned.

    Yes, I'm rather happy with how my career is going, and it can only get better from here.
  • clarknovaclarknova Member Posts: 51 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'll keep doing certs because there's only so much that you can pick up during the day at work through experience alone. Sometime you need to seek out and read up on concepts and doing certs helps me to do that. Having a piece of paper is a nice reward at the end of it but it's the knowledge learned as part of the study that's of real value.
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