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IT Certifications

June 21, 2021

Why Are Information Technology Certifications Important?

By Andrea Mantilla

Within the IT industry, you ideally need experience, a degree, and a certification to become the triple threat companies are looking for. Even then, it can sometimes be hard to know if it is worth getting a certification or not.

In this month’s post, we will be discussing IT certifications including the motivation behind them and the overall benefits of obtaining a certification.

Top Motivation Behind IT Certifications

According to Pearson VUE’s 2021 Value of IT Certification Survey, the most common reasons individuals obtain certifications are:

  1. 73% to obtain skills, knowledge, or competence
  2. 57% to improve professional profile
  3. 56% for advancement or promotion in current job
  4. 32% to obtain a specific IT role

The 73% of those who participated in this survey obtained a certification because of their desire to upskill. Meaning, individuals felt they needed to acquire new specific skills to perform at work or keep abreast of evolving technologies.

In addition, 57% of candidates obtained a certification to call more attention to their professional profiles. Getting a certification would allow potential employers to know the individual possessed the required competency with the skill in question. It would also enable the individual to increase their chances for advancement or promotion in their current role.

Are Certifications Needed to Prove Ability?

There are some professions in which certifications are almost always an underlying requirement. For example, the most common IT occupations with underlying requirements are networking and IT security. Therefore, you will more than likely find at least one certification listed in the job requirement section for these opportunities.

Candidate with up to 8 years of experience: If you are an individual who is early in their career, you may want to obtain a certification to prove you can perform as well as the next person, even without as much job experience. It can also help if your college degree is in an unrelated field or if you did not obtain a college degree.

More than half of the individuals who completed the Pearson VUE survey realized they needed an IT certification within the first eight years of their career. 32% of these individuals obtained their first certification shortly after starting their first job.

Candidate with more than 8 years of experience:  If you have more experience in your career, you may not need a certification to prove you can deliver on the job; your experience in the field may speak for itself. On average, a person with more than 8 years of experience holds seven certifications. However, according to the Pearson VUE report: 

“The number of certifications held increased both with education and career
tenure – confirming that the pursuit of new skills through certification is a lifelong one.”

Why Does an Employer Need a Certified Individual?

Many employers may not only actively seek certified individuals but also require specific certifications for employment or promotions.

New Employees: The employer has identified certifications as a good measure to ensure the individual has the necessary technical skills necessary for the role and wants future employees to have that proven trait. Of course, this alone cannot guarantee an individual is a right fit for the job.

Existing Employees: The employer may need employees to quickly learn new technologies. Certifications can allow employers to ensure their employees consistently train, skills do not become dated or go stale, and can meet the challenges of emerging technologies.

In addition, an employer might be a vendor partner and may have a vendor partnership requirement to employ certified individuals to participate in these vendor programs.

Most Common Reasons Employers Seek Individuals With Certifications:

  • Need employees who have the necessary technical skills for the job
  • Need employees to consistently train
  • Need employees who can meet the challenging needs of emerging technologies

Bottom Line? Marketability

Individuals who possess both certification and experience are more likely to find themselves highly marketable to new and existing employers.

Besides a pay increase, according to the Pearson VUE report, individuals received other benefits from obtaining a certification:  

  • 23% for new jobs in the same industry
  • 21% for promotion and job advancement
  • 13% for new jobs in different industry

To download the full report, visit the website.

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