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Surveys Say: Certifications Boost both Salary and Skills

Ever wonder whether the time and effort required to become certified, and stay certified, is really worth it? Survey findings recently reported by Global Knowledge and Microsoft suggests that certs really do matter.

GK and MSL stacks of FranklinsIn two recent promotional pieces, training company Global Knowledge and technology giant Microsoft each attempt answers to the perennial (and familiar) question: Are IT certifications worth the time, money and effort they take to earn and maintain?”


In arriving at their own separate but equally affirmative responses, Microsoft and Global Knowledge both turn to surveys to come up with some interesting and telling points that help justify the time, toil and treasure involved in adding some alphabet soup after your name. The two pieces that provide the grist for this blog post are:


● A recent (and unsigned) Microsoft Learning Born To Learn blog post 6 Ways You’re Better Off Certified (posted May 17)


● The latest installment of the Global Knowledge annual effort, the 2017 IT Skills and Salary Report (released May 5)


Of these two reports, Microsoft’s is clearly the shorter and sweeter. It takes the form of a modified slide presentation of sorts, and consists of inspirational images and slogans along with some explanatory text. It’s a little light on facts and figures, and doesn’t really delve into the demographics or makeup of its survey population.


The GK report, on the other hand, is a whopping 72 pages long, and chock-full of facts and figures, plus beaucoup analysis and information of all kinds. Yet these two widely divergent documents come to several of the same conclusions, as you’ll see in the recitation that follows.


Microsoft’s Six Benefits from Certification


Given that the Microsoft Learning item is compact and direct, there’s no need to digest and summarize to any large degree. I can convey the gist by repeating the 6 benefits (bolded text is repeated verbatim from the blog post) with some quick explanation and occasional bits of data for some of them:


● Certification helps IT pros gain momentum. That is, after earning certs IT pros find it easier to overcome career hurdles. Microsoft cites that 33 percent of certified professionals report landing a job after getting certified.


● Certification provides IT pros with useful, real-world knowledge to build on, so people can go from OK to excellent on the job as a result of getting certified. Microsoft reports that certified IT pros can ramp up on the job 39 percent faster that their non-certified peers, and 38 percent of MCPs said that certification helps them perform complicated tasks with greater confidence.


● Certification helps IT pros differentiate themselves and show fitness for a job when starting out in tech. Thus, certification functions as kind of a gold star on your resume when you jump into the applicant or candidate pool for any IT position. Microsoft goes onto observe that "91 percent of hiring managers consider certification as part of their hiring criteria."


● Certification provides an impetus and opportunity to keep skills so fresh it’s like they’re from the future. Keeping certifications current means constant learning and exposure to new tools, platforms, and technologies, so one need never worry about skills and knowledge becoming obsolete.


● Cha-ching: Microsoft reports that IT certifications help professionals get more pay raises and more chances to move up in your career. They observe further that certified pros earn 15 percent more than their non-certified peers, across the board, whe n they enter the IT workforce for the first time.


● Finally, Microsoft observes that certified IT pros get lots of recognition and respect. In fact, Microsoft goes on to claim that certified IT pros usually stay on the job 15 percent longer than other employees. They also mention how certification helps an IT Pro become the go-to person at work.