There is something magical about passing your exam and getting certified. It might be attributed to the bump in your head after hitting the wall, in the presence of a stunned audience. Maybe you got it right on the first attempt. But, sometimes, you feel the pain of learning. The challenge of something new:
You told everyone about that exam. Or you told your buddy, and he told everyone. One selfie at the Test Center. “Wish me luck!”. And you failed. Time to get some sympathy in the Social Media group that held your hand over the past few weeks. Go for a drink and forget about it for the moment. But the most important thing to do after such a catastrophic disaster – as noted by industry veterans – is to immediately schedule the next exam.
So you did. And you passed. And that’s where the magic is at. This is the elusive gateway where you paid your dues and battled the inner dragon. You are certified. So why did you really do this to yourself? There are “many” reasons why people choose to pursue professional certification. Often, more than a single reason for embarking upon the journey, and sticking with it when the going gets tough. These reasons have typically been reduced to dull integers that make headlines, so we decided to go Hogwarts on you and avoid integers and long division. Here goes:
1) Career Advancement
Whether you are trying to get your “foot in the door” and get your very first job, trying to get promoted to another position, or even “jump ship” to a new job elsewhere – this has been cited as the all-time #1 reason for getting certified. If having an academic degree had set the standard for career advancement in the 20th Century, then this is now the abundant truth for professional certifications in the non-stop tech era.
2) Professional Development
Once you are employed, you quickly come to the realization that ongoing training is not something that you left at the door. Technologies evolve at a mind-boggling pace, and to keep up and move forward, you’d better have a roadmap and follow a career track.
3) Personal Fulfilment
Still got that “bump”? Setting a worthy goal and getting the job done is a massive boost to your confidence and self-worth. Whilst not at the top of the chart, professionals confess to ranking this in the top three and regard this as the driving force. This is where you begin to fall in love with the process.
4) Competitive Advantage
Okay, so robots aren’t yet sending CVs to your job. But other humans are, and recruiters have little time and patience to get to know the “real” you. Standing out in the crowd, when compared to similarly qualified candidates, is somewhat easier when you have that A.C.R.O.N.Y.M or OpenBadge for your certification. Recruiters are often looking for buzzwords and shortcuts that justify their procedures.
5) More Money
Get. Paid. More. With all the love for humanity and the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, we all have bills to pay and #lambos to maintain. Ignore the last bit. Moving up the food chain dictates the aspiration for a better lifestyle and more options, toys, travel, and status.
6) Industry recognition, or Joining an Exclusive Club
Getting some industry recognition, and becoming part of a larger organization may be a driving force for your certifications. Becoming part of an organization that has some steering power can help you influence the decisions and technology of the future. You may even be able to influence and test new certifications and career roadmaps to help others on their certification track, whatever their motivations may be.
7) “No Choice!”
Well, let’s face it. Irregardless of how enthused you are, or otherwise, there are often employer requirements that afflict this mission upon you. This may be due to a vendor partnership or government compliance. In the case of the United States Department of Defense, there are DoD Approved 8570 Baseline Certifications that must be obtained by government workforce, including staff and contractors. Another example is the case for vendor partnerships. In order to maintain a Cisco Partner status, a company must employ a considerable number of Cisco-certified personnel to support its customers at various levels and specializations. Such certifications also extend to Sales, or Account Management, staff.
8) Meet Continuing Education (CE) Requirements
Renewal of existing certifications can be achieved in various ways, including a recertification exam, a higher-level exam, attending pre-approved training, gaining work experience, publishing blog posts, etc. This varies across vendors and associations.
9) Earn College Credits When Certified
Some universities, colleges, and even schools offer certifications as part of class curriculum. While some schools may pay for the certifications, Getting them ahead of time may allow you to get credit for classes, shortening your time to completion and allowing you to enter the workforce ahead of the game(!)
9) Addicted to Education ♠
Ever noticed an IT Professional with dozens of certifications? You start talking to them hoping to extract some tips and tricks for that new process your rolling out and all of sudden you’re hit with a firehose of knowledge that you struggle to take in. Some of us are just addicted to learning anything and everything about the technologies we work and play with on a daily basis. What better way to validate you know as much as you think you do than taking a test to prove it!
9¾) You Lost a Bet!
A community member has recently confessed he had taken the exam after losing a bet. True, the guy has been teaching the certification for a while, so we’ll conveniently take a quarter off.
And there you have it. Whatever the reason is, pursuing a professional certification has its merits. Your professional development does not end with the attainment of your first job. It is, rather, just the beginning. So, make sure you explore the many technology-related areas and create a roadmap for yourself.