Submission by Errol Hayward
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with many whose lives have been changed by their talent for technology: folks who have gone from near poverty to a much better life, where being able to provide for their families is a major accomplishment; folks whose careers have taken off, allowing them to achieve much more than they ever thought possible; and some of the smartest technology minds in the world.
In addition to their talent, all of them have one thing in common: certifications. I’ve met folks who hold entry-level certifications like Cisco Certified Technician (CCT), and folks who hold the very highest certification, Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr), and those representing every certification in between. Each of them had questions about certifications before they started their journey. And the answers were different for each based on their career aspirations. Some of their questions may not have been answered. But here are four questions that a Cisco certification will answer.
Can a certification really help me to get a job?
A certification can help you to get a job, but it’s obviously not the only requirement. There is a high demand for IT networking professionals now and in the future, and a certification helps by making your resume stand out from the crowd, and getting you to the next level, which is the interview. After that, closing the deal is up to you. Here are a couple points of note:
- IT hiring managers view certifications as second only to a college degree in qualifying for jobs and the top criterion for determining your ability to perform a job.*
- More than 89 percent of hiring managers rate IT certifications as a high priority when evaluating candidates.**
*Forrester study of IT managers worldwide for Cisco
**2011 study, “Employer Perception of IT Training and Certification,” by CompTIA
Can it make a difference in my salary?
I’ll share a couple facts from a Cisco data sheet on the networking salary boom. According to staffing and recruiting specialist Robert Half Technology, a number of IT jobs were expected to see healthy increases in starting salary in just the past year:
- Wireless network engineer: projected 7.9 percent increase; 2013 estimated starting salary range of $85,500 to $117,000
- Network Engineer: an increase of 7.8 percent; salary range of $80,750 to $116,250
- Network Architect: an increase of 7 percent; salary range of $102,250 to $146,500
- Network Manager: an increase of 7 percent; salary range of $88,500 to $122,500
- Network Administrator: an increase of 6.8 percent; salary range of $62,750 to $93,250
Do I need to say more?
Will my employer really value a certification?
A study was done to determine the value that a Cisco certified individual can bring to an employer. The results are published in the white paper, What Is the Value of a Cisco Certified Employee? The study, completed by an independent research firm, looked at the question of employee value from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. The results of the study show that certified individuals are more knowledgeable, able to take on more responsibility, and resolve issues and complete tasks faster than noncertified individuals. It’s a fascinating white paper. You should check it out!
What can a certification lead to? Is it worth all the time, preparation, and hard work?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many certified individuals. I betcha the vast majority of them would say that the blood, sweat, and tears that they put into achieving a certification was worth it. Tony Brown is an example of a guy who started out with a CCNA certification, kept raising his certification level, and is now a Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). His career growth has paralleled his certification growth. He started as a post-sales support engineer, and has worked his way up to a Solutions Enterprise Architect for a major corporation.
"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."--Colin Powell