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4 tips for maximizing the value of your IT certification

October 19, 2017 | By Lisa Dare, TEKsystems Digital Content Strategist

a woman studies for a certification

Pursuing a certification is an investment of time and money. How can you know it’ll be worth it? Let our experts and data help you decide.

1. Assess demand

How can you gauge demand for certifications? It's actually pretty easy to get a general sense of how valuable the credential is for your career path. Using our job search or a board like CareerBuilder, put your certification name as a keyword and see how many job postings show up.

Now search for jobs you want with that keyword excluded, and compare results. Or if you're already a TEKsystems consultant, just ask your recruiter how much a particular credential matters for the next step in your career. 

You should also look at the seniority of the jobs asking for the certification. If they’re too removed from your current career level, you might not want to wait until you have more relevant experience. One thing a certification won't do is allow you to skip over several steps—no matter how many credentials you collect, employers still value experience above all.

2. Enhance your credibility

In our 2016 survey, over half of IT pros admit to putting expired or unearned certifications on their resumes. And employers know it. An easy way to demonstrate that you actually earned the certification is to include the verification number.

3. Get found

Include your certification in your LinkedIn profile, and be sure to the standard name for it that aligns with how most people search (generally this means using the initials, e.g., CISSP or MCSA).

4. Maximize ROI

We wanted to find out which credentials help your salary the most, so compared salaries for similar job titles (e.g., security analyst) that required or didn’t ask for the certifications. On average, we found an appropriate certification can add 15% to your earnings, although the results varied wildly. Find out which certifications you qualify for and compare the ROI for 42 popular IT certifications with our chart.

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