Apr 22, 2011

The Role of Certifications

I thought I would post this article because I have been thinking about it lately. I’ve been thinking about it because I have been spending the last few months boning up on certifications. Wednesday in fact, I completed the Microsoft 70-646 exam which was the last test I needed to get my MCITP: Server Administrator.

If you are not in the loop, Microsoft has changed the way they do certifications. The big bread and butter certs were MCSA and MCSE. Well, Microsoft has gotten rid of those certs and replaced them with a new series. It allows IT professionals to certify in certain areas of IT easier. Still though, there are a couple that are basically the same as before. I would say that the MCITP: Server Administrator was closest to the MCSA, and the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator is most closest to MCSE.

CompTIASo what does that mean if you are a hiring manager? For one, if you are interviewing a candidate that boasts that they are an MCSE, it means they are not current on the latest technologies. If you are a manager that cares about certs, that’s a big deal. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t know what they are doing.

You see the real trick about certifications is not that you have them, it’s what you know. If you have a certification, it looks great on a resume, and will get your foot in the door. That’s where the certification’s job really stops. If it can get you in for an interview, then it’s done it’s job. Pure and simple. Now the rest is up to you. If you don’t know what you are talking about in the interview, then you won’t get the job.

Another thing a certification will do for you is give you more weight when an employer is trying to decide between two good candidates. If they have to choose between two talented individuals, one is certified and the other is not, then chances are the employer will choose the candidate that is certified. Certifications, like college degrees, show employers that you can set goals for yourself and work to achieve them.

So in the end, the certification is really only good for resume decoration. They look great on paper, but the real test of a technician is not what they know both with book smarts, but what they have learned in actual experience. I should know, I work to get certs mainly for their value on my resume, but it’s my every day experience in the trenches that has gotten me my jobs.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.

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