With 20 years of IT experience already, will the benefit of getting certified outweigh the cost?
I have been working as an IT manager for approximately 20 years. I am
turning 40 this year and unfortunately looking for a new job. I am
interested in pursuing my certifications as a MCSA, or MCSE with the A+
certification. I don't believe the A+ certification will be too difficult
from what I have studied so far. Do you feel at this point in my career that
certification is necessary? Does the benefit outweigh the cost for someone
my age? I hope to move into a larger working environment than I have been
working for and the certification seem to be a standard requirement. What
would be your take on my situation?
Your question about whether certification is necessary or not for somebody
with 20 years of IT experience is right on the money. Unless you want to
work as a technical expert, certification isn't really necessary for
somebody with your years of experience and knowledge base.
Unless you want to leave management and return to work as an individual technical
contributor or expert, it's probably not necessary. OTOH, if all the jobs
you're interested in require certs, then perhaps you will want to pursue
those that are in greatest demand in your chosen companies or organizations.
That said, most managers don't maintain technical currency, and find that
business training or skills are more valuable. Thus, for somebody in your
position and career status, I'd urge you to consider an MBA or an
engineering master's degree rather than a certification.
HTH, and good luck!
This was first published in September 2002