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  • Are IT Certifications Really Important?

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 recent TechRepublic’s article entitled “10 Reasons IT Certification Will Be Important in 2009” , provided the following10 good reasons why IT certifications are more relevant than ever:
  1. Job Retention – Lay-offs are the norm right now and the people who are not being laid off are the ones with the most skills and knowledge.
  2. Salary Maintenance – Many companies, especially city and state governments, 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.
  3. Hiring and 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.
  4. Career Improvement – Most IT professionals do their job and only their job. There aren’t many opportunities to gain more responsibilities, challenges and therefore more pay, unless you’re promoted. But how many times have you been promoted lately?
  5. New-Generation Certs Increase Relevance – Everything in technology needs reworking. Certs are not an exception. As real-world needs evolve, so must certifications and so must you!
  6. Organizations Will Become More Discriminating – Organizations are outsourcing their computer services and support to save money, but they need to be sure that the consultants they hire are competent. So show ’em your cert!
  7. New Products Will Gain Momentum – Out with the old, in with the new! Who is going to have an upper-hand on new product upgrades? Well, as soon as you get certified…YOU!
  8. Organizations Must Minimize Downtime – Downtime and repair of anything IT can cost a company a ton of money. Cert guys ensure a speedier recovery.
  9. Organizations Need to Reduce Costs – A Kotler Marketing Group study published by CompTIA proved that certifications enable organizations to reduce expenses, identify knowledge gaps and improve productivity.
  10. Confidence Proves Handy During Turbulent Times – You need this more than anything right now. Pick yourself up and get your certification.
So, all of this makes sense, and IT certifications provide numerous benefits, but which certifications provide the most value and benefit? There is much debate about the answer to this question, and many times the answer depends on experience and career goals.  In a recent Mile High Research study, new IT job listings on Dice from January 4-9, 2010 were searched for various IT certifications to determine which certifications are currently most in-demand. While #1 isn’t strictly an information technology certification, many times it is a required partner to other IT certifications. The Project Management Professional (PMP) credential was #1- certification selected in the IT field with 948 job listings mentioning this certification.

The results were as follows:

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) – 630
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) – 581
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) – 485
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) – 394
Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) – 293
CompTIA A+ – 267
Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) – 105
Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) – 101
CompTIA Security + – 96
Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) – 78

CBT Xpress research clearly indicates that certifications do provide a competitive career advantage, and in current economic times, are more critical than ever for developing technical skills. Some certifications can be achieved in just a few days with CBT XPress Certification Boot Camps. These accelerated, instructor-led IT certification classes provide a cost-effective and -efficient resource for IT certifications. In addition, CBT XPress instructors have authored many of the books, training materials and award-winning practice exams needed for various certifications.

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