Earning an IT certification is arguably one of the most effective ways to boost your skill set - and ideally, earn more pay. How much more? According to CompTIA
, IT professionals can earn 10% more pay for entry-level certifications, and up to 40% for higher-level certifications. But there are literally hundreds of certifications
out there, from Apple to Zend – so should you decide that earning a certification is worth it, how do you choose?
Earlier this year, Dice Learning surveyed 17,000 tech pros and created a list of ten certifications
that earn higher salaries at all experience levels. They came up with the following:
However, there are differing opinions, depending on industry, business-size
or current IT trends
. A survey
of over 1,000 SpiceWorks users revealed that opinions differ heavily, with the top result (MSCE) gaining about 15% of the votes.
There’s even heavy debate
about whether certifications are all they’re cracked up to be in the first place. Some argue that a combination of a degree and certifications is ideal, while other tend to think experience trumps both of those. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it depends on the size of the company – the smaller the company, the more experience and certifications matter, while larger companies tend to favor degrees.
While forums, top ten lists and statistics can be extremely helpful for an IT pro deciding whether to go for a certification and which one to choose, the deciding factors should be based on the individual and his or her company. Pursuing a certification depends on an IT pro’s existing skills, career goals and job description, as well as the needs of the company and, perhaps most importantly, managerial support.
If you're thinking about pursuing a certification, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my job description?
- What are my career goals?
- What am I interested in?
- Would I prefer to be a generalist or specialist?
- Which certifications would be most beneficial to my company?
- Is there an existing gap of certain skills or proficiencies within my department?
- Am I able to allocate the necessary time and monetary resources in order to adequately prepare for the exam?
- Do I have adequate support from management?
Considering these factors will help you determine whether a certification will truly add value to your current – and future – workplace.