In contrast is the sound of companies that sell certification tests to IT staffers. Buy one of our courses, they say, and employers will open their doors wide. Fame and glory in IT is just one $750 cert test away.
In truth, an accurate assessment of IT certifications true value appears to lie somewhere between the vendors' drumbeating and some workers just say no attitude.
Some companies believe more in certification than others, says David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, a firm that tracks tech salaries. But frankly, he tells Datamation, "The news that weve been putting out recently is that certifications dont mean much anymore, because people are not paying for them."
Adding clarity to the topic is Cushing Anderson, an IDC analyst and author of Worldwide IT Certification Training and Testing 20062010 Forecast. He sums up the value of IT certification: It always comes down to it depends.
Certification is still valuable in areas where there is a lack of talent, he tells Datamation. In those specific tech sectors for which employers have a hard time finding qualified workers, a cert establishes bona fides immediately.
In those cases, the right certification really does open doors.
The areas that Anderson points to: security, high end architecture, and complex networking. Employers have a hard enough time filling these posts that if you have the right cert (and some experience, of course) youll have an edge on the competition.
And if youre shopping around for certs that will serve you well in the years ahead, Anderson recommends these emerging certification areas: RFID, Wireless, VoIP, SOA, SaaS, and Grid Computing.
In short, IT certification does count but you have to earn the right one at the right time.
IT Certifications that Matter
There are areas in which certification really isnt profitable for an IT worker, Anderson notes.
We dont need low-end server administration certification anymore, because the tools are better, and you can pretty much get all you need to know by working at it for a year and a half, he says. And theres enough people out there [who know it] that employers dont need to have special talent.