Should you be certified?

Author: Adam Harvey, Key Account Manager, Arrow Education Services

If you’ve worked in an IT role for any length of time, you’ve probably asked yourself on many occasions whether IT certification is really worth the effort. Let’s face it, we were all mightily relieved to leave exams behind when we left the education system and entered the world of paid employment.

However, whilst not all IT certifications are created equal and experience still trumps qualifications to a great extent, there are still plenty of reasons to stay on top of vendor training programmes.

1. Be the best:

As you are working with your organisation’s technology on a daily basis, you’re obviously already familiar with it. The danger lies in it becoming all too familiar and entering the ‘comfort zone’ of what it can do for your business. IT certifications help to provide a new perspective on the technology – ensuring that you optimise its potential. They also build trust and credibility with your colleagues, managers and stakeholders who know that your input is based on best-practice methodologies.

2. Show willing:

If there’s an area in which you don’t have any experience, gaining a certification is a good place to start – showing current and prospective employers that you’re willing to go the extra mile to improve your skill set.

3. It's not just what you know:

IT certifications help to put you in touch with a network of peers and like-minded individuals that can prove useful contacts as you look to progress your career. Most popular IT certifications have online forums for those working towards particular exams, so even online learning programmes can help you to expand your network.

4. Points make prizes:

Vendors attach huge importance to their certifications and as a result, offer substantial incentives and benefits to organisations that employ fully qualified staff. This obviously proves valuable to your employer, which ultimately, should also help to secure a better salary and accelerated career path for you.

5. Play the game:

Instructor-led IT training, especially training that leads to certification, usually includes some type of hands-on experience - either through a virtual or physical environment. The benefit of this is that you get to learn, play and experiment with new technologies in a non-production environment, enabling you to gain new knowledge and confidence more quickly.

6. Look good on paper:

Whilst technology certifications can seem like hard work, they really are the only true measure of competence in a particular area or technology. Who would you choose to employ? Somebody whose skills have been officially tested and verified or the person who’s purely reliant on their past experience?

7. Get the heads-up:

Head hunters invariably use the latest technical certifications to track down the best candidates for a role through keyword searches. So, whilst you may have all the experience in the world, if you can’t list the relevant qualifications on your LinkedIn profile and CV, you’re likely to be overlooked.

8. Become a specialist:

Finding a niche area and gaining the relevant certifications in a specific set of technologies is a great way to differentiate yourself from the IT generalists.

9. Stay relevant:

Staying in tune with the latest ‘hot’ solution and passing the related technical certifications can be a great career strategy in an ever-changing IT industry.

10. Prove your worth:

In a volatile business world, organisations are always looking for ways to cut costs and maximise profits. If jobs are on the line, having an IT certification can be a deciding factor. Likewise, it can help you to progress more quickly up the career ladder and secure a higher salary – proving your commitment to helping the business get the most out of the IT investments they make.

 

Qualifications are essential for any IT professional and with an ever-increasing demand for highly-skilled staff, particularly in key areas such as cyber security and cloud solutions, most employers offer enhanced career opportunities to candidates who have undertaken specialist training. Ultimately, the career benefits of having technology certifications far outweigh the amount of time and effort you put in to earn them.

Arrow Education Services provides a one stop shop for IT skills development, delivering a comprehensive portfolio of authorised vendor training.

Contact the Education Team on 0871 251 1000 or educationteam.ecs.uk@arrow.com to discuss your training requirements.

Look out for the next blog in this series, in which we explore the value of IT certifications from a business perspective