Are Your IT Certifications Really Worth It?

By: pmegan
Are you confused by the alphabet soup of IT certifications? More importantly, do they really matter? How valuable are these IT certifications in advancing your IT professional career?

Well, a panel of recruiters and hiring managers tackled this issue recently. And here's their answer: it depends.

They're crucial in some fields. In general they're nice to have. But they rarely take the place of solid experience. For instance, a major recruiting firm in Dallas reports that only about 10% of their job orders require IT certifications. He went on to point out that if you're looking at a job that involves protecting "mission critical" data, often you need to have certifications just to get in the front door.

Here's a list of IT jobs that typically require certifications.

1. Data security specialist with SSCP, CISSP and CCSP credentials.

2. Access control systems.

3. Business continuity planning.

4. Cryptography and systems architecture.

5. Professionals working with UNIX systems.

6. Microsoft applications support and storage.

On the other hand, some employers have become cynical about IT certifications. For example, the CEO of Intelemedia Communications says his company now uses an essay test to screen candidates. He says, "All a certification says is that a person was able to pass a written test."

Nonetheless, many large companies do require IT certifications just to filter out unqualified candidates. But someone with many certifications and little experience can get written off as a professional student. What's more, a certification that's been allowed to lapse can be worse than no certification at all.

An IT association recently polled its members regarding the value of IT certifications. When asked whether they enabled a promotion or furthered their career path, they were almost equally divided: 36% said "yes" and 35% said "no."

In the final analysis, everything depends on the disposition of the hiring manager. This is not peculiar to the IT field. In any job opportunity, everything depends on the rapport and chemistry you're able to generate with the person who could be you next boss.

So, if you are job hunting in the IT market, the best advice is to employ some of the remarkable alternative job search strategies which refocus your attention on your relationship with a prospective employer instead of on your credentials. In fact, they won't make any difference if you're unable to come to the table with answers to IT issues the organization is facing.

This innovative non-traditional career advancement approach requires that you spend your job search time familiarizing yourself with the needs and expectations of both the company and the hiring decision-maker.

When you do, you'll join the hundreds of IT professionals who have discovered how to meet face-to-face with hiring managers in a matter of days . . . without all the IT certifications, resume and interviewing hoopla. Check this out right away!
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