8 Reasons IT Certifications Still Matter In 2016

Despite the issues associated with IT certifications, they can give you a leg up on the competition and advance your IT career.

Five years ago, I posted the following Facebook update to friends and family: “Passed my 20th Cisco certification exam today to recertify all my professional level certs for three more years. This may be the last time I bother.”

But here were are in 2016, and I’ve taken four additional certification exams since that post in 2011, when I questioned whether certification was worth the effort. Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the certification process. But in the end, the career benefits of having technology certifications far outweigh the amount of time and effort put in to earn them.

It is true that the value of some IT certifications is far greater than others. And I’ll concede that there are real problems with people gaming the system to become certified “on paper,” but still lack any true knowledge or skill. I will also say that experience trumps certifications almost every time when comparing qualifications between IT professionals. All that said, there still are several substantial reasons why IT certifications still matter in 2016.

On the following pages, I will present eight reasons why IT certifications are not only a great way to advance your IT career, but also why they assist in guiding you toward areas of IT you are actually interested in. The benefits of IT certifications go far and beyond simply receiving a piece of paper to tack to your cubicle. Instead, they should be thought of as a method to assist you in navigating your IT career.

I understand that there are dramatically different opinions on the subject of the usefulness of IT certifications and I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on the subject. Are you staunchly for or against IT certifications? Or perhaps you’re like me and have had a change of heart over time? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Froehlich, President, West Gate Networks

President, West Gate Networks

As a highly experienced network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, particularly in the United States and Southeast Asia, Andrew Froehlich has nearly two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Froehlich has participated in the design and maintenance of networks for State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, Chicago-area schools and the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is the founder and president of Loveland, Colo.-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build outs. The author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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