In the Breaking into Tech series of posts I will weigh the pros and cons of the three basic means of preparing yourself for a career in tech: certification, formal education, and experience. For each category I’ll give separate advice for those seeking a corporate career versus those seeking to start their own computer business. Drawing from my own experiences, as well as my observations of other successful people, I hope to give a realistic look at what it takes to break into tech.
Often those who are planning on beginning a career in IT, either finishing school or changing careers, will wonder if paying money to get certified is worth it. The reason this question is asked over and over again is that there is no one right answer. One person can point at their own experience as an independent technician and say that all it took for them to be successful was proper experience, while another might say the only way they were able to compete in the job market was with a certification or two under their belt. There are a myriad of experiences and no two are alike.
Earning an IT certification is the most focused and least time consuming of the three categories I’ll be covering. There are numerous industry standard certification’s out there ranging from the basic PC comprehension shown by passing CompTIA’s A+ to elite advanced certifications like Cisco’s new Certified Architect program. Whatever your specialty, there’s a certification you can earn to prove your understanding of it. Lets take a look at how certification can help you in a corporate career versus a consulting career.