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7 Super Certifications For IT Pros

It's a tight IT job market. Earning an IT certification can help you qualify for a position, make your resume stand out, or move you up the corporate ladder.
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Certifications do make a difference, especially in IT. Research from Prometric recently found that IT professionals with certs in their chosen areas of expertise were more satisfied in their jobs and had greater confidence in their abilities to do their jobs than did their peers.

That makes sense. After all, completing coursework and passing an exam should indicate a comprehensive knowledge of a subject. In addition, many top-notch certifications require hands-on experience as a prerequisite. Nothing beats some practical experience to serve as the springboard for the next career move. Experience, coupled with a certification, validates an IT professional's credentials and therefore boosts self-esteem.

That confidence carries over to the job interview -- which employers may have granted, at least in part, due to those initials signifying IT competence. Most human resources departments acknowledge that, while the certification may open the door, relevant experience is equally important. That is why the following seven certifications are not for those new to the IT world. Coupled with a few solid years in the workforce, however, these certs are indicative of highly trained and skilled professionals and command salaries that reflect top credentials.

After a few years of languishing in the doldrums, the job market appears to be perking up, according to a Dice.com survey released in December. A whopping three-quarters of companies surveyed said they would likely hire more IT professionals in the next six months. More evidence that the job market is opening up comes from a recent Robert Half Technology survey of CIOs and IT front-line professionals. It found that 35% of IT professionals plan to look for a new job, and another 35% are at least contemplating a change. It sounds like there may be plenty of job-hopping in the coming months.

IT is changing more rapidly than ever before, so those professionals that take the initiative to learn and grow will no doubt enjoy the fruits of their labor. Change also brings the opportunity to develop different skills and try things that are completely new.

Whether your interest lies in security, mobility, virtualization, networking, or project management, there are plenty of advanced educational options from which to choose. Here is a look at seven IT certifications that are worthy of your time and money.

Photo by Leonardo Rizzi via Flickr.

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jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2014 | 10:13:05 PM
Re: Valuable or not?
If you're job-hunting, certifications can open doors; they offer a way to distinguish you from others, even if that certification really says little about how well you can actually do the job.

Lower level certifications can end up being fairly lacking in value because they're so commonplace, but high level certs can have a degree of exclusivity that's very positive - e.g. JNCIE, CCIE.

 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/28/2014 | 8:15:57 PM
Re: Valuable or not?
Good insight, Gary. Experience trumps all, but if your company is willing to pay for it, it certainly can't hurt.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2014 | 7:55:29 PM
Re: Valuable or not?
Nice article Jennifer... This is always a hot topic in the IT world. Should I get that cert? Is it worth the cost? I say if you have the experience no it isn't, unless your company wants you to get it and they will pay for it. A lot of people can't afford to be certified and that shouldn't be held against you. Unfortunately when you are breaking into the field having certs could get you an interview over someone who doesn't.

 
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2014 | 5:25:24 PM
Continuing education
These certifications do make a difference -- at least in the government IT community.  But given how rapidly the tech world keeps changing, it would seem that demonstrating you are staying current in a discipline is at least as important as the cerifticate itself.

 
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
1/27/2014 | 12:57:49 PM
Re: Valuable or not?
I have to agree with the "valuable" camp. When does learning more about your specialty ever hurt you professionally? It just shows that you are willing to go out of your way to get better at your job, network with your peers, and even sometimes pay a fee to have those letters after your name. It can also help you stay fairly knowledgeable about technologies or skills that are important to your industry, but your specific company may not use a lot. 
jbosavage
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jbosavage,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2014 | 7:01:57 AM
Re: Confused...
The overall job market nationwide is 7% -- not on fire as you say, but also probably not exactly correct as we all know it isn't including certain disenfranchised groups. But, more to your point, Dice surveyed its member hiring managers and says unemployment rate for technology professionals fell to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 3.9 percent in the preceding quarter. Remember, this is a survey of hiring professionals that use Dice, not of people who actually are IT professionals. Another issue is that there may be many jobs out there, but not at the same level these professionals would ideally like. However, some may take a pay cut to make ends meet. So, yes, there is tight competition for good, senior-level jobs. Getting certified can help set you apart from the other applicants. Interestingly, many of those job hunters ARE employed currently, but they are looking to improve their circumstances. Thanks for your comment!



he unemployment rate for technology professionals fell to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 3.9 percent in the preceding quarter, - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/it-management/tech-unemployment-rate-falls-to-3.5-percent-dice.html#sthash.p9Z3Fu4n.dpuf
he unemployment rate for technology professionals fell to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 3.9 percent in the preceding quarter, - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/it-management/tech-unemployment-rate-falls-to-3.5-percent-dice.html#sthash.p9Z3Fu4n.dpuf
jbosavage
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jbosavage,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2014 | 6:50:26 AM
Re: Valuable or not?
Gary_EL, you are absolutely correct. Certification alone won't get you a job -- experience is a big factor, and one of the most important to a hiring manager. But certification can open the door to an interview, by making a resume stand out from others. It also may give someone with fewer years experience a bit mor "gravitas" when competing against those with many years under the belt. These certifications, too, are generally for those who are seasoned professionals. Thanks for your comment!
Tanmay_Sinha
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Tanmay_Sinha,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/25/2014 | 8:41:55 AM
International Certification for IT Professionals
Plz share here about web developer certification(html /html5 ,css,java script,Ajax etc) and Java Certification for web/Application developer.

I knew about HP which provides online study material & certification courses from home but its not for IT professional,its for Management Professional.I want to know about any international certification Elearning and exam from home through HP,IBM ....and some other foreign university in IT plateform?

 

Thanks and regards :

 

Name :Tanmay Sinha,

Email:tanmaysinha2000@gmail.com

India.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2014 | 9:40:09 PM
Re: Valuable or not?
If you're doing more or less the job already, and your company tells you to do the certification to tie a ribbon on it or to impress their customers or for promotion or for whatever - then do it, especially if the company will pay for it. On your own? - the answer is almost always no. You won't get the job without the experience. This goes for IT and for the manual trades as well.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2014 | 8:51:52 PM
Valuable or not?
People have varying opinions about IT certifications -- some believe they're worth the effort and money and others don't. Readers: What camp are you in?
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