Does IT Certification Matter Anymore?: Page 3

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It’s up to tech staffers to sift through the bad offerings and find certifications that Hopkins refers to as “legally defensible.” That is, certifications put together with such rigor, and with enough reputation in the industry, that they’re an unquestioned credential.

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These tests can be expensive in relative terms, “but they should be," he says, because the student can present the cert and honestly claim real proficiency.

Still, he realizes that some IT workers – even knowing that some certs are well regarded – say, “Why should I get certified, I should go and just prove that I have the knowledge to do that.” But, Hopkins says, “The old question arises, ‘how do you prove it?’” It’s the immediate proof of competency that certs offer that make them valuable.

Naturally, Hopkins recommends CompTIA’s certifications as among those worth taking. The CompTIA certs are designed to lay the groundwork for a tech career at a fundamental stage.

Among those offered by other vendors, at an upper level, he notes the continued popularity of Microsoft’s MCSE and MCSA, and the more specialized niche offerings by Microsoft. Additionally, he points to those offered by Sun and by Oracle.

And, “I certainly wouldn’t overlook the open source products,” he says, pointing to certs by LPI, Red Hat, and Novell, which he calls the market leaders. “There are more and more Linux servers being deployed…I think those certifications are becoming a little bit more in demand than they used to be.”

Also hot: networking and security. “We’ve seen a huge surge in security certification,” Hopkins says. “There’s a huge demand for people with broad security knowledge in the IT industry – that seems to be one of our fastest growing areas.”

And don’t forget help desk certification, however unglamorous. “Surprisingly, the help desk is still a hot job,” says CompTIA’s Steven Ostrowski. “There’s a high demand for help desk technicians.”

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