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As a generalist which certification should I get?

If you have a broad but shallow skill set, which certification should you get? Ed Tittel advises what to do, in this Ask the Expert.


I have been in the IT business many years and have a broad but shallow skill set. I had an MCSE NT4 which is now an MCP and am looking for the best cert path to take. Being a generalist is fine but it does not pay well. Your ideas would be appreciated.

Dear Sir or Madam:

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find an area (security, SAP, networked storage, project management, and virtualization are all white hot right now for example) and dig into it as deeply as you can stand to. This will help you boost your earnings potential, and will probably help you leverage your existing experience as well.

Crass and materialistic though they may be, you should look at the annual salary and certification surveys from CertCities.com and Certification Magazine (www.certmag.com) to help guide you to where the action is right now. If anything appeals to you more than a little bit, jump on it, dig in, learn, live it, and certify in it. Your situation is bound to improve as a consequence.

Best of luck!


This was last published in July 2007

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