Microsoft

A letter to TechRepublic on the value of IT certification

Do you have doubts about the value of getting an IT certification? Read this inspirational story from a TechRepublic reader.


Is getting certified a waste of time or a great way to launch an IT career? The answer you get varies, depending on whom you ask. I thought you’d enjoy hearing a personal account from new TechRepublic passport owner, Todd L., who was recruited into the IT biz by his system administrator. Here’s the letter Todd wrote.

In Todd’s words
Dear TechRepublic,

This note is in response to the article “Are certifications worth your time? ” written by Jeff Davis on April 27, 1999. I'm fairly new to the TechRepublic daily articles. Jeff's article was linked to a January career advice article by Nick Corcodilos. Anyway, if it would add to the mutual benefit of all, I'd like to share my experience of getting certified.

At the age of 26, a husband and father, I graduated with a master’s degree in educational administration. After graduation, I taught for a year in a small school. After a year of teaching, I realized that I did not want to teach for a living, but I did discover some of my strengths working with numbers and having an eye for detail. After making some hard decisions, I decided to go back to college and pursue a degree in accounting.

While taking classes, I began working for a radio broadcast network where 95% of the work I did was on an NT Workstation. I learned a great deal about computers and computer networking over the next year. Our IT Administrator at the time was just finishing up his MCSE certification and convinced me that I should do the same. It was during the summer, so I decided that I would take one test. If I passed it, I decided I would put the accounting aside and get the certification.

I checked out an NT Workstation study guide and some LearnKey videos from the college library and went to it. After a month of studying and taking practice tests, I sat for the exam and passed. So, sticking to my plan, I put accounting aside and followed the same study procedure for the rest of the MCSE exams. A year later, I was certified. At work, our IT Administrator had moved on to work for a large company, and I began taking on more and more IT responsibilities.

Presently, I am the acting IT Administrator for my department (in addition to all my other responsibilities) and I am actively pursuing my A+ certification, following the same type of studying procedures. I realized that, like the example Jeff gave in his article, I was very weak in the computer hardware department.

I am hoping to get more head knowledge of computer hardware and hands-on experience in the coming months. With my MCSE and A+ certifications in hand, but with only about a year of experience, I plan to spread my wings in the IT industry and hope to find a position with a consulting firm or IT department of a large company in the Northeast where I can, as Nick would say, “add to their bottom line” and where I can also receive continued training.

I don't want to be a “paper MCSE.” I want the time and effort that I put into getting the certifications to be worth it. As the saying goes, “If you don't use it, you'll lose it.” I desperately do not want that to happen. As best as I can, I am trying to stay on top of the latest events in the IT industry. Thank you, TechRepublic, for making that task a bit easier.

Also, I want to encourage everyone out there who would like to get certified but feel they don't have the money or time to attend classes or workshops. It can be done with little expense and a lot of dedication. I believe I can honestly and accurately answer the question posed as the title of Jeff's article, “Are certifications worth your time?” with a resounding "Yes…so far."
If you’ve received your MCSE or any other IT certification in the last year, we want to know if it has paid off in terms of better job opportunities and better pay. Please post a comment below or follow this link to send us a note .
Is getting certified a waste of time or a great way to launch an IT career? The answer you get varies, depending on whom you ask. I thought you’d enjoy hearing a personal account from new TechRepublic passport owner, Todd L., who was recruited into the IT biz by his system administrator. Here’s the letter Todd wrote.

In Todd’s words
Dear TechRepublic,

This note is in response to the article “Are certifications worth your time? ” written by Jeff Davis on April 27, 1999. I'm fairly new to the TechRepublic daily articles. Jeff's article was linked to a January career advice article by Nick Corcodilos. Anyway, if it would add to the mutual benefit of all, I'd like to share my experience of getting certified.

At the age of 26, a husband and father, I graduated with a master’s degree in educational administration. After graduation, I taught for a year in a small school. After a year of teaching, I realized that I did not want to teach for a living, but I did discover some of my strengths working with numbers and having an eye for detail. After making some hard decisions, I decided to go back to college and pursue a degree in accounting.

While taking classes, I began working for a radio broadcast network where 95% of the work I did was on an NT Workstation. I learned a great deal about computers and computer networking over the next year. Our IT Administrator at the time was just finishing up his MCSE certification and convinced me that I should do the same. It was during the summer, so I decided that I would take one test. If I passed it, I decided I would put the accounting aside and get the certification.

I checked out an NT Workstation study guide and some LearnKey videos from the college library and went to it. After a month of studying and taking practice tests, I sat for the exam and passed. So, sticking to my plan, I put accounting aside and followed the same study procedure for the rest of the MCSE exams. A year later, I was certified. At work, our IT Administrator had moved on to work for a large company, and I began taking on more and more IT responsibilities.

Presently, I am the acting IT Administrator for my department (in addition to all my other responsibilities) and I am actively pursuing my A+ certification, following the same type of studying procedures. I realized that, like the example Jeff gave in his article, I was very weak in the computer hardware department.

I am hoping to get more head knowledge of computer hardware and hands-on experience in the coming months. With my MCSE and A+ certifications in hand, but with only about a year of experience, I plan to spread my wings in the IT industry and hope to find a position with a consulting firm or IT department of a large company in the Northeast where I can, as Nick would say, “add to their bottom line” and where I can also receive continued training.

I don't want to be a “paper MCSE.” I want the time and effort that I put into getting the certifications to be worth it. As the saying goes, “If you don't use it, you'll lose it.” I desperately do not want that to happen. As best as I can, I am trying to stay on top of the latest events in the IT industry. Thank you, TechRepublic, for making that task a bit easier.

Also, I want to encourage everyone out there who would like to get certified but feel they don't have the money or time to attend classes or workshops. It can be done with little expense and a lot of dedication. I believe I can honestly and accurately answer the question posed as the title of Jeff's article, “Are certifications worth your time?” with a resounding "Yes…so far."
If you’ve received your MCSE or any other IT certification in the last year, we want to know if it has paid off in terms of better job opportunities and better pay. Please post a comment below or follow this link to send us a note .

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