NEWS + ADVICE
Increasing Your Marketability Through IT Certifications
The job market is becoming ever more competitive.
That’s why every professional must find ways to improve their credentials by enrolling in professional courses or registering for advanced degrees in order to get ahead. The best way to get experience for your next gig without having yet had a chance to perform the desired duties is to demonstrate that you have the attitude, aptitude, and proficiency with the work itself.
Assess your marketability before getting ready to make a career move, whether you’re seeking to advance within your current company or looking for a new position outside your organization. By learning more about yourself and your abilities while also understanding what companies are looking for, you’ll be able to promote your strengths and experience by positioning yourself for future opportunities.
Having a professional license or certification does not guarantee you a better job, even though there are many jobs which require professional licenses or certifications. Beyond being able to apply to new positions now that you have the minimum qualifications, professional licenses and certifications can benefit you in several other ways. They can provide job security, credibility, the ability to expand your responsibilities, and increased earnings potential.
Job security: Our economy will continue to have ups and downs. How well you are positioned can make all the difference. Having a professional license or certification can set you apart from your competition. Each relevant certification or license you add makes you more attractive to your current employer, or to potential employers. You may also have more job security if your company recently paid for your license or certification because they will expect to receive the return on their investment in you. Many employers value IT certifications to the point that they are willing to sponsor your training. If your current employer offers this opportunity, take advantage of it. For most organizations this is a use it or lose it intangible compensation.
Credibility: Some certifications will immediately let others know that you are an expert in your field. Having the certification(s) lets people know that you have met certain criteria and you know what you are talking about. This demonstrates that you have taken great care to hone your skills to become a subject matter expert (SME) in your craft. Obtaining additional IT training is the fastest path to a more successful future.
Expanding your responsibilities: The varieties of highly respected certification programs are certainly expansive. You can choose to add credentials from well-known companies including Cisco, Microsoft, HP, Novell, and IBM. Adding skills related to desktop products, Microsoft servers, Cisco routing, switching, along with a variety of additional technologies adds to your existing marketable skill set. You may want to work with your supervisor to adjust your current position. Meet with your manager to discuss additional avenues and responsibilities that you are seeking to be involved with. Once you have determined a niche you would like to pursue, start to apply your experience to meet your career goals.
Increased salary potential: Some professional licenses or certifications may be needed or required for your next promotion or new job title that you seek. Obtaining one or several of them may help you now and in the long-run. Some licenses and certifications may add value to your overall earning potential. You could expect to earn anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 or more, depending on the certification, your geographic location, and the current demand for that certification. Please note you might not see an initial gain in your salary with your current employer, but you will be able to market yourself anywhere between 3-15% above what a non-certificated candidate might receive during your next job search.
The most popular certifications for 2013 that employers seek:
- 25 courses to choose from, Server 2008RT is the hottest for 2013
- 8 courses to choose from, CCNP is the hottest for 2013
- 19 courses to choose from, VCAP-CID is the hottest for 2013
Where to get certified/ validated:
Remember to stay current with continuing education credits. Most certifications require you to stay sharp and on top of your game. Alert your supervisor that you may need additional online or in-person training courses and seminars.
Your skills will be more marketable and more easily identifiable, which means you are better positioned to find a rewarding job quickly. The employer wins because they are able to deploy and offer better in-house and external customer service faster, which in turn helps to reduce overhead costs. You and your employer will have more confidence in your ability to do the #1 thing…deliver excellence.
Jay Perreault has been recruiting top talent since 2000, and is currently the Recruiting Manager for the Talent Acquisition Directorate, National Security Programs at AECOM. Check out Jay’s web site DCTechRecruiter.com or follow him on Twitter @DCTechRecruiter.