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Re: Do you think IT certifications are valuable? Why or why not?

Occasional Visitor

Re: Do you think IT certifications are valuable? Why or why not?

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  Too many people complain about certification but then aren't ready to take a few minutes to share what they think is wrong with it.  I totally agree that an IT certification is indiciator, but that it must be taken in context of both the candidate's overall experience and how the certification was earned. With the possible exception of entry-level certifications, it is critical they be backed by experience. 


Part of this is employer education - they need to have realistic expectations like you do, and see certification as part of the picture but not the defining factor. If they expect certifications to be an iron-clad guarantee of a solid employee, they will likely be disappointed.  That sometimes happens with college degrees too. On the other hand, they do show initiative at the very least, and can certainly at least indicate skill levels.  Do you have any suggestions for how that understanding (realistic expectations by employers) could be promoted?



IT Certification Evangelist
Occasional Visitor

Do you think IT certifications are valuable? Why or why not?

GoCertify.com is working on an initiative to increase the value of IT certifications, and we need your input.


The point of the project is to

- identify the the top issues affecting the value of IT certification (positive and negative)

- determine which issues are the most urgent.

- develop ideas and action plans to address what needs to be addressed



What do you think is important when it comes to protecting and increasing the value of IT certifications?


I'll be checking back here for replies & comments. You are also invited to join the discussion and rank the importance of the issues at the Make Certification Better (MCB) section of GoCertify.com


The more input we receive, the greater the opportunity becomes to improve the value of IT certifications.


IT Certification Evangelist
Frequent Advisor

Re: Do you think IT certifications are valuable? Why or why not?

IT Certifications are extremly valuable depending on what role exactly you are in. Its pointless to take certification when its not demanded by the job you are in.

Now coming to WHY; in IT industry apart from how much knowledge you possess unless you don't have an authentic source certifying your knowledge you would not be acknowledged and is almost impossible for an employer to measure your hands on experience and knowledge in just an interview. Certification is the only mean expressing you already demonstrated your skills and expertise to experts who know the specific industry more than the employer does.

More specifically when it comes to service industry, certification becomes more important as the only way for customers to identify if they are served by competent, skilled people.


As long as issues concerning certification value, I think, are of two categories:

Primary Issues (Impacting value and authenticity of certifications)

Secondary Issues (Pertaining to acredibility and career path)


Ist and far most important of all for certifying body is the transperency, accuracy and relavancy of certification. There is no point of acquiring certification which is not been widely acknowledged by the IT industry, makes it more important to value and introduce certification to industry either by building autonomus bodies conducting certification or through JVs with industry leading employers to create opportunities for certifed people.


Certification should be designed to create career path rather than just collection of more certificates. It should lead to a clear destiny for the certified professional,as where to head, right from the begining. I believe should be a proven substitute of academia for professionals of their skills and experience.






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Honored Contributor

Re: Do you think IT certifications are valuable? Why or why not?

The thing with certifications are they are a marker, a measurement tool of a person.

They are not the only indicator though and I've often had clashes with people in interviews where it's clear they have attained certifications quickly without backing them up with hard skills.


An example of this was someone who had 30 years in the Royal Navy, left and obtained an MCSE in 2 months, when asked basic IT questions he hesitated and even to this day carried the lowest score on the skills assessment quiz I give during interviews.

The role went to a young 19 year old chap who spent every weekend in his Uncles IT shop, fixed friends computers and printers and had his "hands in the till".

So for me as I come to my 30th year in IT support i've backed my own skills up with almost all of that time in the field, I am still involved heavily in training and my first question in this company was if they wish the students to gain skills or gain certification , the answer was skills. This is the correct answer, the certifications are bolted on later or at the end of the course as confirmation of those skills and as a measurement of their progression through the service ranks.


I see them very much like scout badges, you can have two that can both tie the same knots and stuff but only one has a badge to say he can. It's therefore important that when people are at the correct skill level they attain certification and it's good to make that target "stretching" so it is challenging and they learn on the way with a clearly defined path and timescale.

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Occasional Visitor

Re: Do you think IT certifications are valuable? Why or why not?

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this discussion. I also think certifications serve an important role in helping to define a career path.  They help answer the "what next" question.  And  matching the certification to the career goal is a key factor toward making it worthwhile. I think people realize this a lot more than they used to - back when the MCSE was new, everyone wanted one whether they were working with relevant technologies or not - just because it was considered "hot."


Regarding the issue you bring up about individual certifications needing to be widely acknowledged to be valuable, how do you think certification vendors can accomplish that - especially how can the vendors of smaller but still well thought out credentials get their certifications visibility in a marketplace that includes literally hundreds of certification options? I think this is a significant issue for all parties - the IT professional, recruiters, and employers,in addition to the IT certification vendors. What makes a certification meaningful and how can the most meaningful ones be identified?



IT Certification Evangelist