How Important Are Certifications?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by jimnagrom, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    How Important Are Certifications?

    IT professionals often wonder whether technology certifications will enhance their standing at their companies and in the field at large. Or more specifically, they worry that someone with a certification they lack will have a leg up in the hiring or promotion process.

    Hiring managers interviewed for a Computerworld article acknowledge that certifications provide an advantage, but usually in situations where two or more candidates have equivalent job experience.
  2. siersema

    siersema Member

    Good article and I’m happy to see it was written by someone who works for a big consulting firm and not just a random self appointed IT expert. I would like to give my opinion on a few portions of this article though.

    First off the comment that IT professionals “wonder whether technology certifications will enhance their standing at their companies….” It would be my opinion that if these IT professionals didn’t understand the political structure within their own company enough to even know if certifications would help them get a promotion than they aren’t up enough on the political and/or hiring situation at their company and they should really research that before considering spending any time at all pursuing additional certifications.

    My other minor disagreement with this article is that of the ‘vendor neutral’ certifications being advantageous when you don’t want to “limit” yourself to specific technologies. Usually when anyone says this they’re referring to the CompTIA exams. Okay, so let’s say your company is all HP or 3Com routers. Are you really going to prefer a candidate that has a CompTIA Network+ Certification over someone that has a CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, or any other Cisco cert? If you’re a hiring for an HP-Unix Admin are you going to give preference to someone that has a Linux+ cert vs. an AIX or Solaris cert? A vendor neutral cert can prove you know the general technology while a vendor specific cert normally means you know the general technology and at least that one specific vendors take on that technology. Most “vendor neutral” certifications are viewed as entry level certs and shouldn’t be seen as advantageous against most vendor specific certifications.

    Other than that the article seems pretty dead on.
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with your comments regarding vendor neutral certs (I have several) having less value then vendor specific certs. The neutral ones will get you in the door but you need to bring something else to the table like an MCSE or CCNA.
  4. siersema

    siersema Member

    I also have many vendor neutral certs.. spose I should throw some into my sig one day. I worked for an ISP for years so the i-net+ was the easist for me, and so far the only benefit I've recieved from it is 4 LL credits from Excelsior... very nice benefit indeed. :)

    ..and network+ & e-biz+ 2 UL credits each! My vendor neutral certs have helped me way more at school than at work.
  5. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    In my self-appointed IT expert opinion ( ;) ) the only IT Professionals that "wonder" are:

    1. IT Pro's without any certifications (and some are really pretty good),
    2. College CIS faculty
    3. College CIS students (who aren't entirely buying the faculty's BS).
  6. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I agree that not all certs are equal.

    My vendor certs are Pure Gold, some certs are above others and in high demand.

    There is increasing number of universities that offer IT degrees with Certifications, i wining combination.

    I just opened my email to find an occasional email from recruiter.
    I this case only PMP need to apply for CRM Implementation with
    prestige consulting firm.

    Rate 75 - 95 USD per hour on W2 or Corp to Corp.
    US Citizen or GC only.

    BS degree in IT or similar field or related experience.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2006
  7. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Job Title Company Name Location Date
    Certified Quality Engineer Manpower Professional Morton, IL 06-19-2006
    Nortel MAC Tech -- Option Certified The Judge Group, Inc. Reno, NV 07-06-2006
    MCSE Certified Windows 2003 NetAdmin. -Troy Robert Half Technology Troy, MI 07-06-2006
    IT Specialist - SCNA Certified SAIC Wheeler Army Af, HI 07-06-2006
    Certified Microsoft Engineer Veritude/Fidelity Invst Co. Charlestown, MA 06-07-2006
    Certified Network Engineer IV DIRECT HIRE AT CISCO Manpower Professional Phoenix, AZ 06-19-2006
    IT Specialist - Tivoli Certified SAIC Wheeler Army Af, HI 07-06-2006
    Certified Mercury QA/Test Professional Ajilon Fort Washington, PA 07-06-2006
    Cisco Certified Communication Design Engineer Zolon Tech Inc Weymouth, MA 07-03-2006
    PMP Certified Project Manager Pomeroy Columbia Area, SC 07-06-2006
    Oracle DBA - Certified - JVN #1689 Dept. of Information Technology & Telecomm. for NY Brooklyn, NY 07-05-2006
    Certified Pharmacy Technician Aerotek Scientific Memphis, TN 07-06-2006
    A+ Certified Testing Proctor Manpower Professional Nashville, TN 06-19-2006
    PMP Certified Sr. Project Manager Charter Global, Inc. Detroit, MI 07-03-2006
    PMP Certified Project Manager Pomeroy Charlotte Area, NC 07-06-2006
    Certified SAS Trustek Inc Danbury, CT 06-26-2006
    CISSP Certified Security Analyst Charter Global, Inc. Detroit, MI 07-03-2006
    A+ Certified Technicians InSource, Inc. Atlanta, GA 07-05-2006
    Member of Technical Staff - Certified Platforms Wind River, Inc. Alameda, CA 06-26-2006
    PMP Certified Project Manager Technosoft Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07-06-2006
    CCNP/CCDP Certified Network Engineer Sapphire Technologies Harrisburg, PA 06-27-2006
    Windows administrators(MCSE certified, clustering) Global Consultants, Inc. Irvi


  8. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    You know...there isn't a certification for simple, concise, clear messages - perhaps it's worth looking in to? ;)
  9. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Don't look at the pot but whats in it.

    I can do better job formatting may messages :) no cert required.

    May I suggest a simple experiment.

    Go to and in the search window type Certified.

    Perform the search and see for your self.

    There is HUGE demand for certified specialists.

    One can visit WGU web site check on their IT degree programs, they combine many certifications in to their degree programs.

    There are certifications that are very precious and set the cert holder above degree holder.

    I recommend a combo of degree and certs.
  10. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    I am not dissing vendor and vendor-neutral certifications as part of a portfolio - but the reality is that many books are judged by their cover before a decision is made to read them.

    An example: Powerpoint has replaced Excel as the 2nd most used business application in the US - because the ability to communicate well is extremely important.

    Your previous e-mail post was sufficiently confusing that I did not even try to understand the ppint you were trying to make.

    Jim Morgan
    MCSE, CCNA, CWLANS, CIW Security Analyst.
  11. siersema

    siersema Member

    Okay.. so I have another question. We may know the relative value of PMP, MCSE, A+, ect.. But what, if any, importance do Academic IT Certifications hold? Both pre and post graduate certificates in an IT field. Are they really helpful in any way beyond perhaps proving you have some IT knowledge if your degree is in a totally unrelated area.

    To respond to myself the only thing I can think of is perhaps teaching. That is if the cert actually requires 18 credits within the subject.
  12. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    For starters, you would need to define "value". A couple of thoughts:

    In the IT dept., certifications can help "round out" the technical competance of the staff. I still remember being told that all the PC's at the school had netbeui bound to the nics so that "network neighborhood" would work.

    In terms of teaching, IT certification can:

    a. Help improve instructor competancy.

    b. Improve student perception and engaement. if the students do not respect the teacher - they are not going to learn anything.
  13. siersema

    siersema Member

    Good points, education obviously has a value in itself. However in the topic of this thread I'd define value as new hire or promotion potential. Aside from academia I'm not sure a multi-thousand dollar academic cert in IT is going to be more beneficial than a few hundred bucks in an industry cert. Other than perhaps the school itself you wouldn't have the name or product recognition that you get from the industry cert.

    I can only see myself going the route of getting an academic cert if it is on the way to a degree, or if I want to 'try out' a school before committing to a degree program.

    Now, outside of IT, I do see some value (though in my example still academia). As an Indiana resident I was considering taking a cheap, non-credit, cert in distance learning, at IU, as a way to see if it might be something I'd want to get into down the road. I figure it's got the name recognition and would add some 'value' to my resume :). I'm obviously not yet qualified to be much of an instructor but I've got an 'in' with a few local schools and sometimes that's what matters.

    As for network neghiborhood, I always liked those people who used tcp/ip for it on windows 95. Incase I needed something off their computer when it was connected to the Internet. Ah, to be in High School again and not care about the consequences of being on machines I shouldn't be on ;)
  14. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    I'm not sure where the "academic cert" thing came from - I have not addressed academic certs whatsoever.
  15. Felipe C. Abala

    Felipe C. Abala New Member

    ICCP's statement...
    I took some certifications for personal reasons i.e. to test my knowledge/skills and for personal satisfaction knowing that I also know what others know. Other than that, none so far, except for academic or professional associations use as CPD.

    Mine are (listed according to date attained in reverse chron. order):
    CIW P (Server Administrator)

    If Brainbench cert is considered a test of knowledge, then I have a number of them too.

  16. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    In general professional designations are big plus.
    I do a simple test.

    Go to and type in CCP in job search, the employers looking and advertising for IT professionals are not
    asking for the CCP credential.

    Now if you type in job search certified you will get hundreds of jobs requiring vendor certifications.

    You also can see which certifications are in demand.

    I think that CCP is not required as CPA, PE or PMP and I personally would concentrate on marketable certifications that are in high demand such as CRM Architect or Dot Net Developers MSSD, Cisco is hot and VOIP certs are in demand.

    I don't put down CCP, simply I don't see demand for it.


  17. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    CCP is good as a cross certification route. Meaning if you qualify in say accounting and want to show IT knowledge its good as a base.

    People focus on certification as a means to get current hands-on specialist and thats why vendor certifications do much better.

    The CCIE is actually very good in terms of networking knowledge, although its Cisco, the principles apply anywhere.

    I think the CCP should focus more on non-degreed people and those from non-IT background
  18. lspahn

    lspahn New Member

    Ive made an effort for a while to follow ads on Dice, hotjobs, and monster and only on the RAREST occassion have I seen an ad of a CCP, and in the cases I did they were usually Colleges that implemented the program and required it form teachers.

    The hotest certs really are

    CCIE-Any specialization. Gotta be able to prove your knowledge.
    Security/Audit- CISSP, CISA, CISM, SSCP- More govenrment intervention will increase demand in this field for certified people
    PMP- Project Managment is big in any field.
    Red Hat/Linux- Linux Certs are in demand with few holding them

    What I dont see listings for:

    MCSA, MCDBA, MCDST- See a few MCSE ads here and there, but with the restructing of MSs certs, I dont see alot of the others. Remeber that these are going away.

    Comptia- Server+, Linux+, Project+, Security+- Although A+ and Network+ are big entry level certs, I have rarely seen any of the others. Now, alot of vendor certs like HP or IBM require Server+. They do have the only vendor neutrel RFID cert.

    Cisco Certs- Although CCIE is hugh, I see alot of listing for CCNA/CCNP people. Very rarely do I see a requirement of CCNP/CCSP/CCIP certification so I dont know that you would give youself an advantage considering the difficulty and time assocaited with getting one of these UNLESS you are going for the CCIE

    Novell- Novell is dying...end of program

    ICCP- Spoke to this already, I can for the life of me understand why they are worth the level of college credit granted when some of the extememly hard test like CCIE dont recieve any.

    This is just my opinion, but i got a ton of resume traffic when i got my CCNA and CISSP. Everything else seemed just help in the interview process. IMHO.

    Good luck
  19. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    Normally an employer looks for someone who knows the equipment been used. This is why Cisco certifications are in high demand because Cisco has high percentage of network market.

    For Vendor neutral certification to work, they need to take it to a different level than just mere exam. The CCIE is respected because you have to spend time in a lab and prove yourself.

    I have always liked the CCP, but it does not fit into any real framework to be in demand. What I mean? The UK CEng for example comes after Masters and some structured experience, the CCP does not have such requirements its just exams.

    THe ICCP should follow the BCS approach to have something similar to an academic qualification and then it would be in demand.
  20. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    The MSc in IT Professional is structured around Cisco Certification. Very interesting.

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