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Why IT Certifications Still Matter in 2017

02 Jan

Each minute of our life is a lesson but most of us fail to read it. I thought I would just add my daily lessons & the lessons that I learned by seeing the people around here. So it may be useful for you and as memories for me.

Article by XLC Team…

IT is a highly dynamic field and new technologies are introduced every single day. As the industry evolves, new types of tools, technologies and sets of certifications continue to crop up. Certifications are important to ensure that you are on top of these developments and that your skills are updated.

Because of various certifications, certification paths, specializations and providers out there, it is easy for someone new to IT to be confused about where to start.  Even people who are certified might be unsure of the next steps.

There has always been a debate about how important IT certifications really are. Some believe certifications prove that an IT professional is knowledgeable but may not prove how well they can actually do the job. However, certifications provide the knowledge needed to gain experience and validate skills to potential/current employers. And in the current economy, certifications are an increasingly important tool for building skill levels, improved marketability and career opportunities.

A certification isn’t just another bullet point in your resume. It’s a powerful validation of your knowledge and skills that 9 out of 10 hiring managers trust. Organizations increasingly view certifications as an indicator of the qualification of their applicants when looking for the right candidate to fill their open positions. In today’s job market, hiring managers use certifications to:

  • Assess the skills and knowledge of a candidate.
  • Save time and resources to evaluate candidates.
  • Confirm knowledge gains.
  • Support professional development.
  • Match the need of professional training.

Why should I get certified? What are various reasons to seek certification?

Certification demonstrates your dedication, motivation and technical knowledge on a specific platform. Once you earn an IT certification, you join a select group of individuals – a peer group with demonstrated skills. Having a certification shows that you not only possess comprehensive knowledge of that technology but you also care enough about your own career to spend the time and money to get certified. Remember: You are your own best career manager!

There are various reasons why you should seek out certification in a number of IT-related programs, software or skills, but three reasons are key:

  • Getting Hired: Having an IT certification will certainly give you an advantage when hiring managers look at your resume. Competition for IT jobs can be stiff, and having a certification is a significant advantage compared to those who do not have one. In fact, a certification can be a qualifier for a position. Keep in mind that when two otherwise equal candidates are vying for the same job, the one who has a certification will have the edge over the candidate that does not. A certification may do nothing more than get your resume a second look – which may be more than your competition gets.
  • Professional Credibility: IT certifications are testaments to your skills and proficiency in a certain area.  Having earned one (or more) certifications demonstrates your dedication and motivation to professional development. Many companies will actively support their employees in earning these certifications that may even lead to promotions and raises as well. For example, becoming a CSQA Certified Professional tells hiring managers, companies and clients that you have the experience and skills needed to effectively understand, analyze and test a software application.
  • Marketability: Certifications do more than just validate your skills and experience.  It also shows potential employers that you are committed to the IT field by spending the money and time to obtain your certifications. According to few CEO’s, the right certifications could mean anywhere from an 8 to 16 percent increase in your pay, so certifications are very important when it comes to compensation.
  • Current Trending Technologies: Earning a certification on a recently released operating system, tool, platform or application will demonstrate that you have achieved what few have done up to that point: become certified on a new product. Passing an exam for a recently released certification is challenging due to the lack of study material and advice available from other certified individuals. Earning an IT certification on a new product can make you the subject matter expert in your organization – putting you in a positive light for your early efforts.
  • Personal and Professional Development: Certification training can help you cover new areas while also reinforcing the skills you already have.  Certification can also help you to network with other IT professionals.  Your next job, project or endorsement could very well come from someone you met at a study group or technical conference related to a certain certification exam.  Certification can help you meet IT professionals who have similar interests and specialties as you.
  • Job Retention: In a volatile economic environment, businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs. That may mean jobs are on the line. This is when having an IT certification (or more) can mean the difference between keeping your job and having a chance to seek a new one. Earning a certification demonstrates that you are determined to enhance your skill set and knowledge – which benefits you and your employer. The bottom line is you must invest in yourself.
  • Salary Maintenance : Many companies, are asking employees to take salary cuts. With a certification, companies will be much more likely to pay you what you’re really worth. That way, if you’re forced to take a salary cut, you’ll be making what you should be making, so it’ll hurt a lot less.
  • Promotion Eligibility: New and timely certifications are the key to standing out in a heap of resumes and having a leg up on the competition. Want to move up the corporate ladder or into a better, higher-paying job in your company, then you will need to learn new technologies or enhance the skills you currently possess. There is no better way to show this than to earn a new certification or progress further up the certification chain in a current area of expertise.

What are various certification options?

There are a lot of answers to these questions, really.  It would all depend on what you need for your job, what your career goals are, and what you are interested in.

There are certain certifications that are appropriate for wherever you are at in your career.  For example, it may help new graduates land entry-level positions if they pursue basic certifications such as ISTQB, CSTE,  Microsoft Certified Professional, Sun Certified Java Programmer and Cisco’s CCNA, etc.

These certifications validate the skills they learned and can help make up for not having the right work experience for the job. In fact, no matter where you are in your IT career, certifications will almost always give you an edge over non-certified IT professionals.

Choosing your certification path depends on two things: Where you are now and where you want to go in your IT career, and what functions and work-related experience you have in your profession. Knowing these will help you wade through the numerous certification providers that offer different paths. You will also have to decide whether to go for vendor-neutral certifications or vendor-specific ones.

The certifications provided by the biggest certifications providers, are:

ASQ American society for quality , Scrum certifications, Tricentis Tosca certifications, IBM certifications, Six Sigma Certified Six Sigma Champion,International Institute for Software Testing , American society for quality Quality Improvement Associate , Project Management Professional , SSBB Six sigma black belt certification, ISEBQualification in software testing , Associate In General Insurance (AINS)ISTQB Certified tester , Mercury tools certificationsCSQA Certified software quality analyst , Segue tools certifications, JIRA Certifications

How to Prepare for a Certification Test

No matter which test you want to take, you will always need to prepare.  Here are some general tips on how to prepare for your certification exam:

  • Practice makes perfect.

Practice tests will help you tremendously in passing the test.  Working on practice tests can help you know which areas you need to brush up on, as well as making you familiar with the actual test.  You will be able to simulate just what it will be like to answer the test with the time limits, instructions and other variables that are present during the actual test.

  • Make sure to keep the time.

While doing practice tests, take note of the time you need to complete it.  You will need this in order to pace yourself so that you could complete a certification exam within the allotted time.  If, for instance, you take four hours to finish an exam that has an allotted time of 1.5 hours, then you might not be ready to take at all.

  • Study groups help.

Study groups are a great way to cover examination topics and battle the boredom that comes from studying alone.  Chances are, there are colleagues in your office who are studying for the same exams.  If not, then you can probably find a study group on Craigslist or online certification forums.

  1. Use different preparation methods.

Fortunately for you, there are a lot of ways to study for an exam.  You can get books, participate in an online forum, go through a formal classroom review, check out web-based training and talk to people who have taken the same tests.  Do not just rely on one preparation method because it might not be enough.

Whatever you do, please be sure to not depend totally on Brain dumps. How will a CSTE certification, for example, help you if you really do not know anything about application testing and testing practices?

  1. Make sure you are ready for the test.

This probably goes without saying, but if you have prepared and you still feel that you are not ready for the test, do not go through with it.  And when you do feel that you are ready, make sure that you get enough rest and sleep on the night before the exam.

Above all, you should have a clear understanding of what skills will be covered on the specific test you’ll be taking.

The main thing to keep in mind is that if your job requires certification on a specific tool or technology, or if gaining that certification will help your resume stand out, it’s smart to invest time and money to achieve it. This is the biggest reason why IT professionals pursue IT certifications.  It helps validate your skills and expertise in your current job.

Used properly, certifications make an excellent tool to boost your career progression. Certifications open doors into new employment opportunities and can put you ahead of peers when seeking promotions. Remember that certifications can improve your career and brighten your future. They may be time-consuming and difficult to earn, but you’ll find the end results well worth the time, effort, and money involved.

Go ahead, put your certificate on your wall or add those letters after your name!

Aim high and good luck!

 

Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, you experienced, you came across in your life in the comments below.

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Technical

 

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