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What is the importance of IT certifications from a senior managers perspective?

From a senior managers perspective what is the importance of IT certifications?

A wise man once told me the answer to any really good question always starts with the same two words: "That depends..." For your question, the importance of IT certifications probably depends on a number of things, including the following:

  1. How technical that person is, or has been
  2. How well the person understands the subject matter, coverage, and intrinsic value of the credential under consideration
  3. That person's prior history in hiring people with certifications
  4. Whether or not the job's stated requirements actually mention the certification or not any of these factors can cause the manager to dismiss a certification entirely, or to give it some kind of weight that ranges from slight to heavy. My advice to people seeking to leverage certifications as hiring decisions are made is for them to use their cover letter and their face-to-face interviews to stress what the certification has taught them to understand and do, what kinds of problems it has helped them to solve, and anything else that could potentially boost productivity or contribute to the bottom line.

Senior managers tend to view people, processes, and even credentials from the standpoint of "what can they do to help or harm our business?" Thus, you must learn to understand this perspective and to state things about yourself and your credentials that explain the kinds of positive impact they can make on the business that's considering adding you to its workforce (or for a promotion, raise, or whatever).

This networking column by Carrie Higbie might also be helpful: Understanding certifications and technical interviewing

This was last published in January 2004

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