A new year deserves a new look at IT certifications. I’ve always been a fan of certifications, as I believe studying for them makes you well-rounded in a field, and they look pretty darn good on the resume. I’ve taken certification exams in areas I’m very familiar with, and in technologies I’m barely familiar with but I’d like to know more about.
IBM came out with a very good white paper discussing the pros/cons of certifications. “The primary reasons include increased employability, greater growth potential and networking opportunities.” It went on to say “Overall, professionals who had earned an IT or project management certification during the last five years earned an average of $5,242 more than their counterparts.”
I often look at what the big companies for programmers are offering – Oracle, Zend, Microsoft, IBM. Sure, there are other companies, but these have topped my list for some time and continue to. Here’s why:
Oracle: According to Gartner, 48.8% of all money spent on a commercial database package is spent on Oracle. That is a huge share, especially considering that IBM at second place is only at 20.2%, so an Oracle cert is a must-have for non-specialized IT professionals. Oracle also has MySQL, the open source database, which is downloaded a whopping 65,000 times a day! Oracle also offers Java certification – you know, the 2nd most popular language (C has re-overtaken Java…it’s a great battle!). Plus, Oracle has a ton of other in-demand specialized certs (middle tier & hardware), making it by far my top choice for IT Certification.
IBM: From hardware to software, IBM is a powerhouse in certain companies. It has more in revenues than Google + Apple combined. It is very much a software development/support company that also sells software & hardware. To that end, they offer numerous certifications on their vast array of products. If you’re interested in tapping into all that money, certification can help.
Zend: I always felt PHP is a peculiar language to gauge the popularity of, and others agree. To me, I think PHP has stopped being a “rising star” and has instead solidified itself as a small-website-development tool, such as WordPress sites like this site! It’s a needed niche, and will be around for quite some time. If you’re looking to enter the PHP realm, a Zend cert may help.
Microsoft: I’ve had Microsoft certs for over a decade. There are always job posted for MS Certified employees, pulling in big dollars. Microsoft Certified Solutions Developers earn $97,848. Microsoft Certified Database Administrators earn $95,950. Microsoft Certified Application Developer earn $93,349. Also, Microsoft’s Database Administrator ($90,200) and SQL Server 2005 ($90,100) certs pull in good money too. But all these tests are hard, and not for the casual user!
Another newish IT cert to consider: The Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist. I’m thinking about it! It sounds cool, right? Not sure how useful it would be, yet. May look good on the resume, though.
Adobe also has a ton of certifications for their products. I’ve never tried one. They seem reasonably priced, so maybe I will. More info on them here.
In conclusion… Prometric came out with a report on IT certs. It lists numerous to get certified. The one that stands out for me is that 89% of IT decision makers perceive certifications as a way to keep skills/knowledge current. I think that’s true, whether early in your career or later on.