In order for you to get a foothold and stay relevant in your field, you need to know about IT certifications. Here is some information to get you started.
As you probably already know, the IT industry is a forever changing field. With new innovations, interfaces, and software year after year, it is important to keep up with the times. This is why, particularly in the IT industry, continuing your education and learning is essential. The most meaningful way that you can show this is by gaining an IT certification.
However, for those fresh out of university looking to start a career in IT, or those who’ve been working in IT for many decades, understanding the certification process and selecting the right certification for yourself can be confusing. I think we can all agree that IT loves its acronyms and oddly specific terminologies, so figuring things out can become stressful!
To help you navigate that, we’ve put together a great little guide that will explain more about IT certifications, why they’re important, how to get them, and some of the best entry-level certifications to expand your career opportunities.
What is IT Certification?
Put simply, an IT certification is a document that is a testament to your proficiency in a specific sector of technology. This might be surrounding a certain program or could be aimed towards a job role such as an administrator or developer. It may also be to do with an IT practice such as ethical hacking.
To obtain a certification you’ll need to pass an exam or assessment, and will likely need educational courses to help you achieve this.
Your exam and certification are accredited by a governing body such as (ISC)² or Microsoft. Some certifications are only used in the US or will be equivalent to a similar certification in the relevant country, while others are recognized worldwide.
Why IT Certifications are Important
There are so many reasons why IT certifications are important. Probably the most interesting one to those looking for career progression is the fact that CompTIA (the biggest vendor-neutral certifying group) found that 91% of employers say that IT certifications play an essential role in the hiring process and that certifications allow them to reliably measure the skills and proficiency of each potential candidate.
Going further into this study, it was found that 98% of HR professionals will use the IT certifications that a candidate possesses to judge and confirm that individual’s knowledge of their subject-matter as well as their skill level.
97% of this group will also use this information to help them decide between candidates that are equal in all other regards.
IT certifications also allow you to stay relevant within your specialty, meaning you can attend conferences and meetings with confidence, as well as lead your team or group forward in the best way for the current IT climate.
Certification also allows you to increase your skill level, which will not only allow you to do your job better and more efficiently but will also allow you to climb higher on the career ladder, and achieve a pay rise.
Getting certified can also allow you to specialize in an IT niche that you’re passionate about. Specializing your skills is a great way of ensuring you’re in demand and able to progress to your dream career.
The first step is to pick the right certification for you as well as the right method of learning. Be sure to pick a certification that is pertinent to your job role or career progression, as well as ensuring you are at the correct skill level to undertake the certification and meet the minimum requirements for it.
Related Guide: Best IT Certifications for Beginners
You should then learn about the process of getting certified, such as how long it will take, the costs, and the number of exams or assessments you need to pass to achieve your qualification.
In this process, you need to think about your training options. Do you want to go it alone or use an e-learning tool, for example? The most popular option is a training course or class, and there are some great options out there that offer both on and off-campus learning.
A certification course will help you not just prepare for your exams, but also actually learn the important information needed to advance your career. You’ll be trained by an expert and will have all your questions answered. You’ll also be able to get certified far quicker, as courses usually take between 4-10 days.
Great Beginner/Early Career Stages Certifications
- CompTIA A+ Essentials
- MTA: Intro To Programming
- MCSE: Productivity – Exchange 2016
Top Certifications for Advancement and Career Progression
- EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- MCSE: Core Infrastructure (Security)
Whatever your IT passion or career dreams, the answer to taking the next steps in achieving them really is to get certified. Certification allows you to clearly demonstrate to others as well as employers your skills and knowledge, as well as allow you to work your job to the best of your ability.