Why Earn Certifications? I’ll Tell You..

Last post, I shared a story about earning my Certified ScrumMaster badge. Often, I’ll have conversations with other IT professionals about the usefulness of certifications and whether or not to pursue them. The common conclusion, as with most things in this business, is ‘It Depends.’

When I was first starting out in this field, I had a 1-year clerical vocational degree, no professional IT experience and a non-trivial stack of practical knowledge. So, how does a 20-something with this background get an interview? The answer for me was certifications.

While working a temp job answering phones, I dove into a book on the CompTIA A+ certification. For those not familiar, this is a fundamentals certification dealing with PC architecture and troubleshooting. Once I earned this certification, I was able to parlay that into interviews and an eventual Field Tech position.

Are certifications better than a traditional education? Again, the answer is ‘It Depends.’ While certifications are intended to ratify a candidate’s existing knowledge, discerning whether or not individuals actually have that knowledge can be tricky. This is where technical and knowledge-based interviews can be useful. In my opinion, in our current pool rife with graduate degree holders applying for entry level positions and mounting student debt, focused vocational training and certification is a solid option. And for those of us in the midst of our career paths, it’s a useful avenue to stay current and continue to demonstrate proficiency in our craft.

As part of an earlier post, I staged a Selenium server on Amazon’s EC2 service. Given the growing popularity of AWS, it’s something that people in our trade should take the time to become familiar and proficient with.  In order to grow in this space (and take advantage of the free trial period), I also picked up the Amazon Certified Developer course from Udemy.  Over the next 6 weeks, I’ll be making my way through the coursework and ultimately taking the certification.  Wish me luck!

I’d love to hear any feedback on this post and invite you to share your own experiences  and opinions around certifications.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Thanks for looking in!