The Importance of IT Certification

Robyn Tellefsen | February 22, 2011

It’s not easy to get a job these days, even when there are jobs to be had. Case in point: A friend of mine is a nurse manager in the psych ward of a major hospital, and she hasn’t been able to find anyone who’s qualified to be her assistant nurse manager. But that’s another story.

So what does it take to become a viable candidate for a solid, well-paying job? In the IT industry, the answer is clear: certification.

That’s the word from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and its recent “Employer Perception of IT Training and Certification” report, which is based on an online survey of business and IT executives who have made a recent IT hiring decision, and an online survey of HR professionals.

Get Certified, Get Hired
According to CompTIA’s research, 86 percent of hiring managers indicate IT certifications are a high or medium priority during the candidate evaluation process. The jobs are out there, but roughly eight in ten HR executives say it’s challenging to find candidates with the right IT skill set. As companies struggle to fill positions, they’re looking for validated skills. Just like my nurse friend, IT managers can’t afford to hire an employee who can’t contribute right away.

That’s where certification comes in. Nearly two-thirds of IT managers (64 percent) indicate that IT certifications have extremely high or high value in validating skills and expertise. Employers regard certified professionals as possessing a proven ability to understand new or complex technologies and engage in more insightful problem solving, both of which lead to higher productivity. And we all know that productivity is the name of the game no matter where you work.

Certification will be sought beyond 2011, of course. Eight in 10 HR professionals (80 percent) believe IT certifications will grow in usefulness and importance over the next two years, reports CompTIA.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money
Not only can IT certification give you a leg up in the job hunt, it can also translate to a higher salary. According to the 2010 IT Skills and Salary Report from Global Knowledge and TechRepublic, professionals who had earned an IT certification during the last five years earned an average of $5,242 more than their counterparts ($85,628 vs. $80,386).

But not all IT certifications are created equal. According to the report, the top five technical certifications by average salary are:

  1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) – $99,928
  2. Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) – $93,953
  3. VMware Certified Professional (VCP) – $91,271
  4. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) – $89,864
  5. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) – $86,454

Don’t underestimate the role of IT certification in the hiring process. If employers are relying on professional certifications to aid them in their hiring decisions, give ‘em what they want (and score a sweet salary in the process!).

–Robyn Tellefsen

One response to “The Importance of IT Certification”

  1. Employed as IT Pro says:

    Umm yeah kids, the colleges want your parents money. The truth is that if you do DiY your IT knowledge, you will be every bit as employable as anyone else. Think about it, someone with an IT degree or certification from 1992, how much of what they learned is relevant in 2015? Is more about defining a niche skillset in IT than about having stamps. In the 20th century colleges could churn out stamped/branded cadets using old educational models, but the Internet decimated that world and they can’t charge you enough for them to try and keep up against diminishing returns.

    Places that you don’t want to work for are places that ask for simply “a bachelor’s degree,” i.e. it’s a tech job and your degree in finger painting makes you more qualified than the person without. This is what 21st century professionals call a mill, one that is looking for a cookie cut cadet to serve as a warm body, until the company goes completely bankrupt from lack of innovation, not unlike the college industrial complex.

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