Gaining a degree in your chosen field is the best way to ensure that your career has a solid foundation from which to develop. But IT is an an industry that relies heavily on individuals that have a specific certification added to their CVs and a degree may often not be enough to ensure that you gain an interview and, ultimately, land the job that you have applied for.
Below we will take a look at the 10 reasons to strive beyond a degree and how certification can not only get you started in the field of IT, but help your career flourish.
Landing an Interview
It has become commonplace for recruiters and companies alike to consider certification a must-have before even considering an applicant for the interview process. In some cases, holding an IT certification is sufficient, however, this is not always the case as organisations often list a certain certification as a prerequisite to being considered for an interview, let alone a position in the company.
Another growing trend in the recruitment process is the use of job boards. A simple search will allow employers and recruiters to single out the individuals with the skill set that they are looking for. But potential employers are no longer just searching for skills. A quick search for a certain certification will supply them with the CVs that list that specific certification (such as CompTIA A+ or Cisco CCNA). Without a certification listed on your CV, your chances at gaining employment are hugely diminished as your name and your degree will be skipped altogether.
Gaining a certification from a well-known and trusted company, such as Microsoft, EC-Council or BCS will ensure that the knowledge that you have gained is current with the latest developments in technology and that you have been readied to work in a modern environment.
Employers see this as a big advantage since you will not need further training once you start out in your role within the company, whereas the skills that you gained whilst earning your degree may already need updating.
Many IT certifications require students to recertify after a specified number of years. This is in order to ensure that your skills and knowledge do not become outdated and you are kept abreast with any changes that occur in the field of IT.
This will give your organisation the peace of mind that you are able to undertake any new challenges that arise due to the rapid growth in the technological field. Since degrees are not often updated and renewed, your skills may become stale and outdated, making it even harder to get noticed.
Certifications from the leading names in IT are internationally recognised and allow you to work anywhere around the world. The fact that you have gained a degree may confine your career aspirations to a certain geological area, whereas an international certification does not cause that restriction.
With Live Labs being available (and often very necessary), students are able to gain practical experience during study of their certification and, upon completion, are ready to start working on the equipment that pertain to their specific role. The application of practical knowledge is not always covered when studying for a degree, leaving potential candidates at a disadvantage to those that have been certified in that specific technology.
Starting a career in IT requires you to have a very specific set of skills that are aligned with the needs of your organisation. This is not always the case when learning for your degree. Although degrees are still held in high regard as far as educational readiness is concerned, it is no longer necessarily able to ensure that you are job-ready.
Becoming certified will ensure that you are able to master the specific skill set that is needed in order to fill a specific role within a company. Whilst a degree imparts a broad spectrum of knowledge in IT, certification hone in on specific skills and abilities.
Study While Working
The growing popularity of online courses has meant that you are able to study when you have the time set aside to fully concentrate on your studies. It also means that you are able to carry on with your current job while gaining your certification. This not only means that you gain practical experience while studying, but enables you to add more certifications to your name without the need to take time off work.
This is usually not possible when studying for a degree as students are required to attend a classroom and are often not able to carry on working while completing their studies. This process can often take years to complete, making it hard to earn a living while gaining an education.
Most providers of certification ensure that their students have access to a large number of resources such as online libraries – ensuring that they have a wealth of information at their fingertips. It is often possible to retain access to these resources for a determined time after completion of their course.
Other companies, such as CompTIA, offer academy partner programs that link with trade organisations and -groups. This provides students with even more resources to pair with their certification, giving them the chance to make full use of their acquired qualifications.
As mentioned before, a degree is aimed at a specific industry and imparts the knowledge that is commonplace within that field i.e. IT, project management or web design. Certifications are often geared towards a certain job role, rather than a broad spectrum of industry for example; IT technician, It security or Digital Marketing Consultant.
This, once again, enables you to fill a certain niche within your chosen industry and simplifies the task of narrowing down possible job opportunities from both the perspective of the student and the recruiter.
Many certifications are designed by experts in that specific field and they are also often called upon during the certification review process. This ensures that the subject matter contained within the study material and the exams is not only correct, but as current as possible.
When individuals with a degree enter the job market, it is often found that certain new technologies and advancements in the industry have not been catered for. This can cause job-seekers a serious dilemma as they will first need to gain new insights into their chosen industry before being considered for a position.