November 29

Why an IT Certification Is Important for Moving to the Next Career Level

IT career certificationOver the years, you have probably encountered a number of colleagues and employees who are looking to move up to the next rung on the career ladder in IT. Perhaps they have been in the same position with their employer for a number of years and are looking for new challenges. Or perhaps they have been putting themselves out there for a promotion, but keep getting passed over and aren’t sure why. Regardless of the reasons, though, one thing that most mid-career professionals have in common is a desire to move forward.

One problem that is especially common, especially within the realm of IT, is that even those who have several years’ worth of experience, demonstrable knowledge and skills, and an impressive list of projects and successes aren’t always getting the promotions or landing jobs at a higher level. It’s frustrating to someone who has, ostensibly, the same education and experience as a co-worker or another applicant, and still doesn’t get the job. However, what they may not realize is that the competition does have something that they don’t: Certifications.

IT certifications have become exceedingly important for anyone looking to have a career in the field. More than just a “slip of paper,” a certification is objective proof to an employer that an applicant has the required knowledge and skills for the job. While there is still a percentage of IT employers who do not require job applicants to hold certifications, the growing majority of organizations won’t even consider someone for a midlevel or higher job unless they have the appropriate credentials, beyond a degree and experience.

So why are certifications so important, beyond telling employers that candidates know their stuff?

Certifications Save Employers Time

Earning a credential like the SSCP certification for cloud security requires an investment of time on the part of the applicant, including gaining the requisite years of experience, completing a training course, and preparing for — and eventually passing — the exam. That investment of time pays off when a prospective employer can see that you have the certification and have the minimum requisite knowledge for the position. They do not need to spend time and effort on testing or asking basic questions, and can instead focus on what makes you unique.

Certifications Reveal the Training You Still Need

Most employers today expect to invest in their employees to at least some extent. When you come through the door with specific certifications, your employer already knows where your strengths and weakness lie, and have a good idea of how much training you will need going forward. This can make a difference when comparing two otherwise equal candidates, since the one who already has a certification is likely to need less training, or will be ready to begin training for more advanced roles.

IT career certificationCertifications Help Ensure Compliance

Businesses that work with the U.S. Department of Defense are required to meet certain cyber-security obligations, including having a certain percentage of workers with qualifying cyber-security certifications on staff. A business that is concerned about compliance is going to be looking for employees who come through the door with the appropriate certifications, ensuring compliance from day one.

Certifications Indicate Commitment to the Field

Employers want to hire those who have a demonstrated passion for the field and are willing to continuously grow and develop in their knowledge and skills. A stagnant employee is not generally a high-performing employee, and a certification indicates that you want to be as good at your job as possible and are committed to staying on top of the latest developments in the field.

Certifications Open New Opportunities for the Business

Not only can certain certifications open opportunities for lucrative contracts, but hiring individuals with vendor-specific credentials can actually help the business become more agile, find new efficiencies, and reduce costs through more effective use of IT resources.

It’s true that certifications are not always required in order to move up the career ladder, and experience and education are always important requirements for any job, but helping your clients move forward in their certification efforts can help them find more success in their job search. Advanced certifications tend to be the most in-demand, and the higher the level of certification, the more valuable it is, but truly, any certification can be helpful when moving to the next career level.



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