Top Four IT Certification Categories: Page 2

Posted September 28, 2006

James Maguire

James Maguire

(Page 2 of 3)

Online Vs. Real World Classes

There are plenty of certification providers that offer online classes, while many other providers offer actual classroom courses.

A minor controversy rages about these two approaches. Some observers say the online classes can be suspect – they may be too easy. Online, who knows who’s actually answering the exam questions?

Yet some industry experts wholeheartedly support online certification. They note that busy IT workers have little or no time to drive to classes twice a week.

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In Lee’s experience, there’s value in combining both approaches. She sees many workers very effectively do all the preliminary study online. Among the advantages: “There are online systems where you can actually be assigned a mentor and take practice tests.”

Then these same students take the final exam in an actual classroom, “so you get that good mix of the two.”

On the other hand, she’s seen many efficient certification programs that are either entirely online, or entirely in a physical classroom. Many of today’s top certification centers – she points to New Horizons as an example – offer a combination of both.

“They understand that most people are trying to get these certifications while they’re gainfully employed.”

Secondary Benefit to Getting Certified

Inarguably, there’s a financial benefit to adding to your array of tech skill sets. Look at many of the job titles in this IT Salary Guide and you’ll see that tech pros get a salary bump for knowing a broad palette of skills past their core competency.

But beyond the financial incentive (and the knowledge gained), there’s a secondary benefit to earning certifications, Lee says.

“It shows your employer that you’re interested in bettering your career, in providing more input into the organization.” An individual who shows this motivation is more likely to be promoted or otherwise recognized within the enterprise.

“Employers look at certifications not just for what people are learning technically, but they also look at them and say, ‘This person’s a go-getter, they’re a self-starter, they’re getting themselves certified.'"

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