The IT certification process has been much discussed by those in the field, employers, and students who want to enter the field. As with most topics, misinformation and myths can sometimes take the place of the truth about IT certification.
Here are some of the most common myths surrounding IT certification and the truth behind them.
1. IT certifications are too theoretical.
While no one certification can completely prepare an IT professional for most positions in the field, certifications do provide a thorough background in systems like Microsoft, UNIX, Linux, and others. Furthermore, IT certification exams increasingly incorporate performance-based testing, which simulates working through an actual problem or situation. Some exams even have takers interact with offsite servers in real time.
2. IT certifications have a short life cycle.
The fact that IT certifications are frequently overhauled and require recertification every few years is actually a positive rather than a negative, because it means certifications are more relevant and incorporate new technologies and advances. The IT field moves extremely fast, and technology that is used today may not be used next month or next year. IT certifications need to keep up in order to remain relevant, and they do this through overhauls and recertifications.
3. IT certifications aren’t worth the money.
IT certifications are not cheap—there are costs for preparation courses, study materials, and the exam itself. These certifications are an effective way to keep skills updated and can take the place of a degree (or supplement it) so professionals have the skills they will need to work productively in the IT field. Can you really put a price on the ability to do your job?
4. IT certifications have become too common.
If many IT professionals are obtaining certifications, are they even worthwhile anymore? Yes, they can be worthwhile when employers want them and are willing to pay more to hire those that have them. One way to look at the fact that many people have certifications is that all those people valued them enough to spend the time and money to get them. Additionally, employers require them for many jobs and expect them, so why shouldn’t more and more people be earning them?
5. It’s impossible to tell which certifications are most desired by employers.
As you get further into a specialty or specific position, it will become clear to you which certifications will be beneficial. If you have to get a few to work towards the one you end up needing most, you will benefit from the breadth and depth of knowledge and information you gain from them. Looking at job descriptions for positions you want will give you a good idea about which certifications will be needed for those positions.
6. Companies won’t pay more for IT certifications.
Salaries for those with certifications continue to increase. Data shows that various certifications can give you an 8 to 16 percent boost in pay, including many common certifications from vendors like Oracle and Cisco as well as vendor neutral certifications.
7. IT certification prep courses are too expensive.
When certifications are responsible for premiums of thousands of dollars in salary, spending a little money for prep courses is well worth the hands-on assistance you will get. Those who take prep courses are much more likely to pass the exams the first time, which saves money because they won’t have to retake the exam when they don’t pass the first time. And some jobs can even be had with just certification and no degree, which will save you thousands of dollars and years of preparation if you have the right skills.
PC AGE provides preparation courses for many of the most in-demand certifications to help you get your IT career off the ground. Contact us to learn more about all the courses we offer and how you can benefit.
Rameez Khizer, IT Marketing