Certifications aren't always necessary, but they can launch your career, help you get a job and give you the opportunity to grow. Many candidates go after certifications that cost less and take the least amount of time to complete. In the long run, taking this route is not the ideal approach to getting the most bang for your buck or time. It is important to be selective about the certifications you choose.
Below you will find some key points to consider when deciding which certifications to go after.
1. Prepare for the long run. The question isn’t where do I start? It’s where do I want to be? You will not be able to complete most certifications that are worth your time and money during a one-week seminar. The ones that are worth it take time. It is also good to keep in mind that you may need three to four certifications in other areas to be eligible for the certification you really want.
2. Look toward the future. Technology has drastically changed your working environment. Get ahead of the curve and realize where the next opportunity lies with those technologies. Cyber Security is on the rise, and most experts don’t see that changing anytime soon. Consider CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, etc.
3. Don’t be over/under qualified. Make sure your experience matches up with your certifications. Don’t consider a PMP if you do not have any prior management, lead or coordinator experience. Just because you have PMP next to your name doesn’t mean you are qualified to lead the next IT project. Get experience. Focus on the area you would like to lead. The best leaders had bottom-end experience in the area they manage.
Still not sure where to start? Look at positions you would like to hold in 10 years. What are the requirements for those positions? What certifications are required?
Before considering spending all the time and money on a certification, do your research and make sure you can build off of the certification you end up choosing.
-Kurt Peters, Resource Manager at Kavaliro