OK, perhaps it’s not quite as simple as that. But for anyone concerned that certs are just a scam, a recent Network World and SolarWinds survey of 700 network professionals makes it clear: earning certifications can boost your career.
Here are three questions to ask if you are thinking about investing your time and money pursuing a cert:
What does it get me? Half of those surveyed said getting a cert gave them a salary boost – with 40% of that group confirming a pay increase greater than 10%. 60% of the respondents landed new jobs because of a certification, and 29% affirm that a cert led to a promotion. Those numbers mean that while getting a cert to score a promotion may be situation-specific, the odds are definitely in your favor if you’re getting certified to help find a new job. Finally, don’t overlook learning for its own sake – 27% of the survey’s respondents decided to get a certification just to learn about the technology. This approach can be especially helpful with new technologies, when getting hands-on experience isn’t yet possible.
Which do I choose? 67% of those surveyed held network technology certs, with those from Cisco being the most popular. Ironically, Cisco certs were named both most and least valuable – confusing until you consider Cisco offers a wide range of certs spanning differing degrees of difficulty. “The reason Cisco certs are seen as most valuable and least valuable is that it depends on the certification. The CCNA is entry-level and easy to get, but the CCIE is still hard and a lot of employers want it,” clarifies Lee Eddy II, a senior security analyst with over ten years of IT experience. Security is another strong area for certs, with CompTIA Security+ being the most commonly held. Linux and sysadmin/virtualization certs were considered middle of the road in both popularity and value, while the least popular certs were in network management technology, as well as Citrix and Red Hat virtualization.
What’s the catch? In addition to choosing the right certs for your field, timing is everything. According to Craig Norborg, a network engineer with more than fifteen years of experience and a portfolio of certs, “If you get them too early, people think they’re book certs. If you get them too late, you’re just proving what you already know, which may not be required.” Norborg adds, “Employers are pretty suspicious of many high-end certs from a young person, or someone just entering the field.” The best approach? Research which certs are appropriate at which points in your career, and make sure you have some real-world expertise to back them up.
Only 26% of survey respondents were not convinced of the value of certs and didn’t hold one – so 74% of the professionals that you’re competing against for jobs, promotions and raises DO. If you choose wisely, certs are certifiably worth the investment!
What else can we tell you? If you’d like to take advantage of our 20+ years of experience in the IT staffing industry, contact Triumph today!