IT Employment

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value of certification

By Lumbergh77 ·
I'm pondering whether or not I should get certified. I'm a jack of all trades with skills in programming, tech support, networking, and databases and have almost 6 years of experience with a BS degree in Info Systems. I thought about going through the certifications process and getting the A+, MCSE, and MCDBA. This would take an entire year and cost around $2000 for training materials and tests (employer will not pay). Is it worth the time and money investment? Why not just study the books, go through the material I'm not familiar with (skipping stuff I'll never use), and forget about taking the tests? Wouldn't the be better spent working on side jobs and/or getting another degree to fall back on?

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by ND_IT In reply to thats the catch 22

If the company I work for needed me to be trained in that area, I would do it, but I am not going to waste my time on a bunch of certs that I don't need because they are not marketbale. Every job I have been at looked at two things, 1) People skill, having great customer service skills and being a good fit for the company and 2) Technical experience and willing to learn. Those are what got me my posistions, and as of right now, some of my projects aren't even in IT. I work for a manufacturing facility that is constantly looking at ways to improve and i sit on weekly meeting for process improvement. Sometimes I am able to bring technology to the table to help, sometimes not. But I also learn more and more about the companies processes then just being isolated in IT. I can take those experiences with me foreover.

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by Choppit In reply to Yes...But

I totally agree. What many specialist fail (or refuse) to see is the bigger picture. IT is a support function and exists (like every other function) to maintain a healthy bottom line.

Process improvement is also a key part of my job and I'm constantly finding areas where previously employed 'specialists' failed to understand the bigger picture and 'handicapped' the business as a result.

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Jack of all trades

by zepplin99 In reply to Call me Jack.......

I find that being a jack of all trades is the best.. Being specialized is a death sentence unless you like changing jobs more than your underwear. And of the few people I know with BS degrees is just that BS. Most of their college experience is worthless... Real world experience is the best experience. I don't know how many times I've asked someone fresh out of college a Microsoft or Cisco question and they looked at me like a deer caught in headlights. Someone with multiple certs and real world experience will smoke a college boy any day... unless they are MIT grad or something along those lines... but how many of those people do you know. Just my 2 cents.

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The value is only seen by HR.

by mrafrohead In reply to value of certification

I'll tell you this much.

Personally, I HATE certs, I think that they're a waste of time and absolutely bogus in telling of one's skillz with a computer.

BUT for some reason, HR (human resources) seems to think that they are of value. And by HR, I mean at almost any business out there...

I recently finally caved and got my A+. I was taking a shower one day, and decided I was going to get it, found a testing place an hour later and took both tests, passed on the first try, dun dun dunnnn... (It's A+, personally I don't think that that says much, it says, Hey Look at me, I know what a power button is and can turn on a nifty little computer.) The tests were absolutely stupid, and IMO a waste of time. BUT for some reason, all of the sudden, I'm a little more marketable and worth a little more, because I have a piece of paper. The ironic part is, I know NO more than I did before I took that silly little test.

Do you think I carry my stupid little "comptia" card around with me? **** no. Am I proud of it? I was the first few days. Now when I think of it, it actually puts me into a mood of just absolute disgust, because it really doesn't tell anyone what I know. I never took classes or cracked a book to test, but now for some reason I'm better than I was the day before I took it.

When I see a person that has a ton of certs on their silly little business cards, what I (personally) see, is the schmuck on the networking side that will be coming over to MY side (the helpless desk) and getting all of the answers because they don't know **** about a computer or how they work. They have all the pretty pieces of paper, and don't know how to actually apply it. Where as I am completely self taught, and don't really have any paper, but I can actually fix almost anything that I have to...

Hope that helps a little bit....


If I were you, and I had the money to spend, I would spend it on something more of value. Like furthering my education (on computers, or whatever you're curious about), but if you don't need the certs now and are comfortable where you are, I wouldn't waste my money on them.

That's what employers are for. If they want you to have the cert, waste their lame money on it... ;p

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Like a case of beer

by Oz_Media In reply to The value is only seen by ...

Screw certs buy a case of beer instead, money well spent!! Cheers mate!

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Certs are worth something only.....

by uofM In reply to value of certification

if your the hr person and you need to filter out a thousand resumes.

Or - if you're interviewing in a small business environment and you will be the only IT guy (read: the person interviewing you knows little about IT)

Now - I'm only refering to those certs that are dime a dozen.. MCxx, (anything)+, etc and only require you to pass a test without any other qualifications.

Just my .02.

As for specialization vs coverage. I think the smaller the shop, a jack of all trades will be more valuable. But most "jacks" are typically more entry to mid level folks... to advance past that, you'll need that specialization skill in a sector (security, networking, programming etc..), or be able to manage.

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I agree, gotta be a "jack"! but...

by MIS_Man In reply to Certs are worth something ...

I am a "jack" and I have not been out of work...even after I was laid off in Jan 02, I barely let the door hit me in the backside on the way out that door and I was on the phone drumming up consulting jobs. I have been FT at a mid-sized company for about 2 years now, one man IT shop. You have to be a "jack" its the wave of the future. You will need to have the skills to communicate to all managment/people classes in the organization. A bridge or conduit getting the people productive here is the "but" I believe that as you fine tune your "jack" skills you need to be specializing in something that you are "interested" or excited about. For me its security I am now currently working on my CISSP. I also B.Sc. in MIS, NO certs...[yet]

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It's 50/50

by Oz_Media In reply to value of certification

MOST employers I have dealt with require certs or equivalent work experience. If your experience outshines any certified applicant you should be fine in most cases, there are many employers who really think that certs mean ability, which they don't in any way. Almost anyone can get a cert, but only a few of them can properly apply and develop the abilities into a useful skillset.

Where I live, BC, Canada, they are SCREAMING for IT staff. You don't need certs just a good attitude, plus most companies here hire based on your personality fit with the organization and not paperwork.

In MANY cases (online especially)I see people who swear by certs and you MUST have them to get a good paying job, not form what I've seen. On the other hand, those same websites are FULL of people who say they have a bunch of certs and just can't find work, so figure that one out?!

So I think it's safe to say, your drive and energy mixed with real time experience will suffice in most cases. Certs seem to be for those who want paper to find work for them or speak on their behalf instead of showing proven successes in the workplace.

If you are like me, a jack of all trades by falling into them and figuring it out, then you have enough ingenuity to succeed without paperwork. If you are one who can only learn from being trained, then certs are the easy way to go.

Best of luck,

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by jdmercha In reply to It's 50/50

So, are these IT jobs advertised anywhere?

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Well that's where Vancouver differs.

by Oz_Media In reply to SCREAMING IT JOBS

Yes there are many jobs in Vancouver and the surrounding area advertised on garbage outlets like and Techvibes (okay Techvibes are a good bunch), newspapers etc.

But most jobs here are found just by popping in the pub, or even just cold calling a business and pitching yourself. No certs, no matter if they like your attitude. No position available? If hey like you they will create one.

Now as for the BC interior, Fort St.John for one (not a great place in the winter) have commercials running all over BC, if not the rest of Canada, saying move to Ft.St.John as there is a tonne of work available. Tradespeople (IT included) are flocking there for high salary, great opportunities with growing and thriving businesses.

But just look at some of the popular job search engines and see if you are not more than qualified (by their expectations) to get a job PDQ. Some ask for certs, but mostly as an alternative to experience.

BC has been advertising itself as the PLACE TO LIVE for a few months now, ads say how th ebudget is balanced, the workforce is showing the greatest growth in Canada etc. The unemployment rate if a bit off though, as many are making a lot of money with grow ops in the interior. Thus they will never go back to work.

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