Thoughts on certifying when others around are superior and have no certifications?

N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
I don't mean superior overall just in a specific technology. For instance if you are working as a SA or DBA and have some experience. However the rest of the team has at least double if not way more experience and do their job well and even jobs outside their scope well. While you are hacking through and learning but still nowhere near the worst SA or DBA (just examples). Do you continue to certify or should you wait until you gain more experience. Putting letters on your resume clearly puts a target on you saying hey look at me I know this material and I know it well, at least that is how I take it when I used to interview people for tech jobs. If you had the MCSE I assumed you could set up DC, etc. I'm just concerned if I get a high level tech certification that it will hurt me more than help due to the expectations it puts on you which is relative to your peers etc. Thoughts? I'm not dogging certifications I am just concerned for the target it potentially puts on you.


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    PlantwizPlantwiz Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    Always aim to better yourself.

    No harm in working on certifications that compliment/highlight the areas you are currently working in. While that happens, you are gaining experience (since it is not likely happening in a matter of weeks). So, plug along gaining experience, bettering your knowledge base on the areas you have worked in, are working in, AND after that go for the areas you WANT to work in.

    There is no logical way to take the place of 20+ years of experience AND with someone who is on their game themselves with a certificate. However, you CAN set yourself up so they can take vacations and spend time away all while you are gaining more opportunities. Once you can compliment the skills and abilities of your 'superiors' they begin giving you more and more responsibility. They may even have the confidence to venture into new areas with the company when they previously didn't have that opportunity.

    So, I would not aim at becoming a paper cert with a list of 20 or more certifications, but if you work with Office Apps, knock those out, knock out apps on the level of networking you support, add wireless or security as it makes sense, move into Cisco if your company uses those products, pick up additional vendor certs (Dell or HP) if it makes sense. Some certs make no sense to obtain and are merely a paper to frame in your cubical/office but if it puts you as the 'go to' person for the company it provides you with a little more value for them...and possibly future employers.

    The cert stays with the man/woman most of the time, so go for the cert when it benefits you.
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
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    jthunderbirdjthunderbird Banned Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would not worry about the other guys and only worry about yourself.

    If they do not want to certify for whatever reason, thats on them. You are right that more is expected when you get higher level certs. I have been put in management and lead positions on projects simply because of my CCNP (hell I am on one now just so they can say a CCNP checked off on it). BUT, I get paid and I know what I am doing.

    Keep bettering yourself, do not braindump anything and actually learn the material you are being certified for... and you will not only be fine, but you will be the lead of people that do not certify and push themselves (I am the youngest in the team I am lead of).
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    jdballingerjdballinger Member Posts: 252
    Certifications are nothing more than a validation of knowledge (in theory, in practice people can braindump and "game" the system, but that aside...)

    They let a potential employer know that you are knowledgable enough about a topic up to a certain level. For instance, an interviewer can look at someone who has a CCNA and know that, based on the test syllabus, that person knows how to subnet, perform basic configuration on IGRPs, work with Spanning Tree, etc.

    The other benefit that I've found to certifications, and this is actually more applicable to your question, is that if helps me fill in any gaps I might have in my knowledge. I work with Cisco network devices all day long, but I primarily work with routers and routing. That means that while I'm studying for my CCNP, I come across all sorts of neat technologies and functions that our switches are capable of using, but for some reason we don't have them implemented. This allows me to first ask why we don't use them, and then if the answer is because the original designers didn't know they were out there (frequent), then I start making plans on how we could best use them in our network. I am actively improving our network because of things I'm learning from cert study.

    This allows me to not only be able to design and implement the tech, but also to support it effectively and teach others to support it once it's in place.

    Bottom line, you'd be amazed at the number of senior level engineers that don't know certain functions or features exist, because they've never come across them in their extensive experience. It doesn't mean they are bad engineers, and it certainly doesn't mean that I am better than them because I DO know about this stuff. It does however make me a better engineer than I would have been by NOT knowing about it. If for no other reason, you should certify because it presents you with a structured blueprint for what to study in the vastness that is IT.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    If you had the MCSE I assumed you could set up DC, etc. I'm just concerned if I get a high level tech certification that it will hurt me more than help due to the expectations it puts on you which is relative to your peers etc. Thoughts?
    You could simply not share the fact that you have an MCSE, etc. or whatever certification that you hold.
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    yzTyzT Member Posts: 365 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't get how could you be scared to show the knowledge you must know because you have a paper certifying it. Unless you're just a braindumper who actually doesn't care about learning, just getting a paper.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Since most of us know that N2IT isn't a dumper let's get off that topic.... There's a pretty big difference between having knowledge and applying knowledge.

    I do understand the concern and while I may have glibly responded that the easy solution is to simply not share that fact that N2IT has gained a particular certification, I do think that this topic has many facets to it.

    @N2IT - is it just maybe a confidence thing? I know for myself, I like the certification experience because the learning process is a good way to learn a new subject area. It is also a good way to round-out and broaden coverage of a subject area.

    But for me, one underlying reason is that I never completed a college degree so after 20 years in IT, getting certifications was simply a way to boost my own sense of accomplishment.
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    JustFredJustFred Member Posts: 678 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Man i would not worry about things too much. If anything it provides you with the opportunity to learn. I have been thrown in front of the lions where i currently work. The first few weeks i felt dumb and miserable and less confident the more i dealt with these guys, then a few days ago, the voice in my head said, wait a minute, these guys have been working here for years, some 9+ years. They were all like you at some point and the only thing you can do is learn learn and learn from here to gain more experience. These days I'm learning Linux as we work with it a lot and being confronted with firewalls. I'm not sure how long I'm going to be here since I'm outsourced but oh boy. I will be leaving this place with a lot of knowledge and a better insight. What I'm trying to say is its okay to feel small or less confident in certain IT environments and all you can do is learn. Ask questions even if it makes you come off not knowledgeable at all.
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
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    eansdadeansdad Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Have certs will never hurt you (unless you don't have the knowledge to back them up) but not having them could. We have several people that have been here since they started in IT. Sure they can run circles around people here but they really don't know a lot outside of their working environment. A few of us that started certing up (pending outsourcing and all) have noticed just how limited their knowledge is and when it does come time to leave, I believe, those of us that have certs and degrees with moderate exp will fair better then them.

    Point is...If you want the certs then go for the certs.
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @ Paul I think you maybe onto something about the confidence thing. Clearly in my environment it's new for me and always a challenge. Thanks for your thoughts they make a lot of sense.

    @JF Thanks for sharing that example it makes a lot of sense.

    @eans Thanks again!
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    daviddwsdaviddws Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I understand where you are coming from as far as a target on your back. This is something that is not discussed when you obtain a higher level certification or degree.

    The truth is ... yes... you will have a target on your back, so I wouldn't do the MCSE unless your godlike with 10-20 years experience on your shoulders.

    Case in point : I have two Master degrees and when I have interviews the hiring managers clearly show that they are concerned I will take their jobs after working the position for a year or two. It makes it very difficult, unless I decide to take the education off my resume to have a chance to be considered. Currently I'm not willing to do this, but if it becomes enough of a problem down the road, then yes I will have to remove it.
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
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    Cert PoorCert Poor Member Posts: 240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    daviddws wrote: »
    Case in point : I have two Master degrees and when I have interviews the hiring managers clearly show that they are concerned I will take their jobs after working the position for a year or two.

    I feel your pain, and it angers me the level of insecurity people display. It's selfish to be insecure about someone "taking their job" instead of simply hiring the best talent for the betterment of the company. Company and customers come first, not self. If anything, they helped eliminate their company from your consideration and you're better off without them, even if it takes longer to find a job.

    I personally wouldn't take off any of your education. You earned them.
    In progress: MTA: Database Fundamentals (98-364)
    Next up: CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ (CLO-002) or LPI Linux Essentials (010-160)
    Earned: CompTIA A+, Net+, Sec+, Server+, Proj+
    ITIL-F v3 2011 | ServiceNow CSA, CAD, CIS | CWNP CWTS
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    GoodBishopGoodBishop Member Posts: 359 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Personally, while I go for a number of certs, I just care about the knowledge that I gain. I don't care about the letters.

    If I ever had to explain to a recruiter or hiring manager why I have so many certs, the simple "I'm a lifelong learner" should suffice.

    And daviddws, I wouldn't take off your education either. You worked hard for it.
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