My brother, an orthopedic surgeon, recently passed his board exam.  This really confused me because I didn’t understand why he’d take the board exam if he’d been performing orthopedic surgeries for years.  I was more confused when I was told that passing the exam wouldn’t get him more money either.  So why bother?  I later learned that it’s very difficult getting a job in that field of practice once he leaves the Navy without being board certified.  This got me thinking about how this applies more and more to technology.


You can certainly get a networking job without certification, but today jobs are getting harder to secure and the market is very competitive.  My last several openings I’ve received anywhere from 30-60s applicants each.  These applicants will get filtered by my recruiters or myself based on some factors (experience, salary requirements, location, etc.).  Since it’s difficult to gauge a candidate’s expertise, many recruiters will then narrow candidates based on referrals or certifications.  This is one of the reasons why certifications matter and why you want to make sure you state them in your resume.


Employers want qualified candidates

Many companies want, prefer or require certified professionals.  I, for one, truly believe there are some very talented engineers without certifications that have been in the industry for many years and are experts in their domain; however, if I were to filter resumes based on years of experience, I would find that many candidates would not meet the technical requirements for the positions needed despite the years of experience.  So, how do you narrow the talent pool?  As a hiring manager, I want the best team player with the strongest technical experience and capable of doing the job.  Often times I’ll find gaps between those who have great theoretical knowledge, but less hands-on or vice-versa.  What I see very often is it is those candidates with certifications that get passed the first filter.  The next screening my team uses is a technical phone screen and finally if all goes well, in-person interviews.  Candidates are asked both questions that would have required some hands-on and book knowledge.  Those that excel in the interview process get short-listed.


Many partners will target certification holders as they may equate to discounts or higher-tiered partner status.  Besides this, certifications will prepare you for the future job which will include logical thinking, troubleshooting, configuring, designing, etc.  They give you the tools you need to build a solid foundation.  Lastly, certifications along with the technical knowledge help build rapport when discussion solutions with other technical parties.


Why have you sought certification?  How have certifications helped you in your career?