Certifications Worth To An Employer

So what are Industry Certifications from Companies like Cisco, Juniper, and CompTIA really worth to an employer? The upfront answer is that it depends on the employer.

IT companies tend to respect Certifications more than non-IT companies in terms of pay. For instance, IBM will probably pay more for a CCNP Voice to do their voice administration then say a Hospital, because there is understanding and respect.

However there is a new trend in the market that seems to be killing the entry level IT job seekers. The new trend goes something like this in the Job listing, "CCNA required, but CCIE preferred". The job only pays the industry standard CCNA rate, but prefers a CCIE. What employer wouldn't love to have a CCIE and only have to pay CCNA salary? You get a 30 level Engineer for the price of a 10 level Administrator!

The reason I say "entry level" is because many, if not most, of the really good IT jobs do not depend upon a Certification and are more so about who you know and you're reputation. Forget a Certification, but do you know you're stuff? But if we don't know you, then you're Resume is all we have to go off of and your Certifications speak loudest. The Certifications will get you the interview, but you still have to get the job.

Let's talk about what Certifications really do for a Technician. They provide an opportunity to learn more about your craft. In many occasions I only seem smarter than the other technicians in the room not because I am, but because I've been exposed to more technologies through my Certification studies, and therefore can bring more solutions to the table to overcome obstacles.

Certifications don't mean much to most Employers without the skillset and work ethic to back them up.

I remember in Okinawa we hired a gentlemen who never did networking before and didn't have any Certifications. However, his work ethic and drive to learn caused him to be an absolutely wonderful employee. He would study, was a quick learner, always helpful to the Customer and respectful to his employers. I'd rather have a hundred of him than a single CCIE with no work ethic and an "I've arrived" mentality.

Speaking of, I've come across plenty of CCIE personnel who had a garbage work ethic. Super smart and definitely had the skillset, and when engaged performed as expected, but they had to be pushed and prodded to do anything on their own. No initiative.

That being said it is to some employers advantages to have employees with Certifications. It makes them look better when bidding on contracts, gives them preferred status as a Cisco Partner, and generally speaking makes a better Technician. Therefore many Employers will pay extra incentives for their Employees to "cert up".

In general, an awesome Employee will be even better after studying and pursuing a Certification, even if they don't pass the exam. Having a Certification should not be the point, it should be the journey to get there and the learning and skillset achieved on the way. But it sure does feel receiving when you get back your exam results to find out you passed!

What's your motivation?

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