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May 4, 2017
By Brittany McCauley
Are certifications worth the time and expense? And which ones should you get?
Our Charleston, South Carolina, office recently hosted a networking event addressing this topic. They invited two IT managers to share their views on whether certifications help candidates find a job.
Walter Kueck from HP Enterprise and Bill Gada from Benefitfocus weighed in on the importance they place on certifications in hiring, and how they view certifications compared to college degrees and industry experience.
Each manager brought a different perspective. In large part because of the Department of Defense 8570 directive (now called DOD 8140) to professionalize the federal IT workforce, Walter emphasized the importance of CompTIA certifications, which meet the directive’s requirement.
Bill shared that a key requirement he looks for are Apple certifications. His company’s environment is changing and they’re adding lots of Macs to their inventory. By hiring technicians who are Apple-certified, Bill has saved Benefitfocus money. Now, when these devices need repairing, the parts can be ordered at cost through Apple, and technicians can do the work in house instead of paying a premium at the local Apple store.
As participants asked questions about new certifications like Microsoft Cloud and Windows 10, Walter and Bill agreed that obtaining these types of certifications shows a candidate has the forethought to look ahead at the technologies on the horizon. “More importantly,” Walter say, “it shows that person is committed to staying relevant within their field.”
Both managers said while IT certifications are an important piece of the equation, relevant industry experience and soft skills will continue to be the most important factors in hiring. For entry-level candidates, Bill and Walter recommended pairing relevant certifications with IT-related volunteer work with local schools and community outreach programs to help build your resume.
The feedback from local end user support professionals who attended the event was very positive. Many of those in attendance shared that the discussion positively impacted their perception of IT certifications and they're now evaluating which ones to pursue or renew.