For IT professionals, technical certification and the expertise it represents clearly enhances long-term job prospects. In fact, according to a recent survey by our firm, an overwhelming 83 percent of IT consultants said that technical certification was a valuable tool for career advancement. On-the-job experience in a specific area or technology, however, remains the number one priority when evaluating prospective hires. In addition, such intangibles as communication abilities and business acumen cannot be overlooked. Firms are also seeking, in their job candidates, tangible evidence of bottom-line contributions to previous employers. This means you need to be able to cite, specifically, how your efforts assisted your previous employer in achieving their business goals.
The certifications you are considering can add value as long as they are teamed with extensive hands-on experience on corresponding platforms or technologies. When you are considering pursuing a certain certification, be sure it applies directly toward your professional direction and is supported by a solid history of related project success.
This was first published in July 2001