Why the Value of Certifications Can Drop

In a technology driven world, IT Professionals are defined by certifications, skill and worker ethics.  Certifications are designed to give ranking to IT Professionals.  With a collection of simulated exams that are too close to the real exam, the real exams lose value and respect in the IT community.  I’ve watched people test and come back to a testing center continuously and hold up their final exam to say they are an ‘Engineer’ in a highly respected area of expertise, yet as they hung around for a lecture, they didn’t know the basic fundamentals of Networking/CIDR, Domain policies, basic security information, virtualization or other topics.

Certifications are earned through hard work, studying and ‘hands-on’.   The motivation behind getting as many as you can in the past involved promotions, salary increases and time in the field.    While many young IT Professionals ‘think’ they know it all, someone like myself will tell you that it is impossible to know it all.   Information Technology is changing daily.  Daily.   Hmmmm.  Hourly.

Companies promising Cisco or Microsoft in a week or two are looking for candidates that pay extraordinary amounts of money and who can memorize an exam.   These boot camps should be limited to IT personnel who have worked in the field for a certain amount of time.    Exams should also be limited for students who have ‘x’ amount of time in a classroom and lab.

Where we teach topics that have certifications, students spend 432 hours in the classroom and labs at a minimum before the first exam.   More advanced exams that are layered (curriculum that overlays) on these certifications usually result in the student spending two to three times this amount of time in the classroom and labs before earning a second or third exam.

I’m not saying our methodology of teaching is better than others, I’m saying that their is a big difference in the quality of a candidate from our classroom and other places that have the same practice compared to facilities that have students memorize exams.

Our students even in this economy have been acquiring jobs with large corporations and the government.    I do believe the value of their certification is greater than someone who has memorized an exam.  Not only is it an understanding of the materials, it is the ‘hands-on’ that makes a candidate stand out.

I can’t imagine going to work and not knowing the basics – yet holding a handful of certifications.

IT Managers have their work cut out for them when hiring from a pool of ‘certified’ individuals.  Certifications have value if you earn them.

About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
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