Is certificatoin worth it? That was an interesting question that one of my students gave me. I said that is a very good question. After all, completing a certification is costly. Here are my thoughts on this.
1) Certification is an investment. You need to choose your investments wisely. You will spend your resources in both time and money. Ask yourself, what am I going to get out of this? Are you motivated to increase your knowledge, your salary, or respect among your peers? Make sure the direction you choose gets you a good return on your investment. As in financial investment, poor decisions will hurt your long term gains. Wise decisions will increase your gains quickly.
2) Certification may not increase your income right away. When I completed my first MCSE on November 13, 1998, I was very excited. 10 months and 6 exams later, I did it. Once my certificate arrived at work, my co workers were congratulating me when the big boss himself came around. He looked at the certificate and said "Where did you get this? Out of a box of Cracker Jack?" I'm not kidding. Obviously no raise followed. He was more then willing to use my certification for his advantage. Lesson learned, you may have to move on to get that big raise. Another option is to include the certification as part of your formal annual goals with the stipulation of a raise when completed.
3) Will you be an expert after it is done? That depends on you. In the early days of Microsoft certification, people were getting some serious salaries from becoming an MCSE. Something happened though. MCSEs where appearing who could not do the job. They did not take the time to actually learn the material. They got those 6 figure jobs, messed up, and lowered the value of our certifications. When my students ask about the content of the exams I simply tell them to read their books and get as much experience as possible. Rarely have I ever come across a problem that was actually on the exams. I was successful because my preparations made me learn more than the exam.
4) Was it worth it? Well, I’ve doubled my salary from my first post college job. I’m able to provide for my family and keep a roof over their heads. I’ve been able to advance my career in the Navy because of my skills and I’m able to provide training and mentoring to aspiring IT professionals. In short, I’m enjoying being an MCT.
Certification is worth it.