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Certification Watch (Vol. 16, No. 14)

News about the upward trend in certs boosting salary, allergy how certification can get you on the sidelines (in a positive way), and more.

Green is the Color of My New Certification

There are many good reasons to get certified or maintain existing certifications, but one big driver for many people is the simple fomula C = $$, where C is certification. If you want to tell your boss, "Show me the money," then you generally have to have something to show your boss in return. The correlation between certification and salary cooled off over the last several years, but the temperature may be changing. Following up on an earlier report also covered in this space, InfoWord salary guru Bill Snyder reported earlier this week that certification is still adding extra dollars to your paycheck. Snyder, who mines some of his data from IT compensation tracking firm Foote Partners, said that certain skills will get you more buck for your bang than others. IT skillsets that have become particularly highly valued in recent months are systems administration and engineering, architecture and project management, databases, and information security. The upward trend has shown up in two consecutive quarters now, the first time that's happened since 2006.

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Even in relatively new industry fields such as cloud computing, there are frequently lots of certifications competing for the attention of IT workers. When it comes to vendor-neutral certs, how to choose one over the other? Maybe the answer is to pick the certification that has the most, um, certifications. Which begs the additional question, "Can a certification be certified?" In more ways than one, of course, but accreditation is a dry, boring topic. You know what's sexy? Awards. That's why the folks at ISACA are dusting off their gowns and tuxedos. The IT governance group's Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credentials could be in the envelope when the honors are presented at the SC Magazine Awards U.S. on Feb. 25, 2014. ISACA's one-two information security punch is a finalist for Best Professional Certification Program, which sounds like a selling point for future recruitment if we've ever heard one.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Here's a news flash: Forging an IT career path can be hard, sometimes confounding work. Maybe it's not for everyone, including you. Before you cast aside your tech hopes and dreams, however, consider a pep talk from contributor Paul Stewart at Cisco Learning Network. Instead of bemoaning your situation, Stewart wants you to suck it up — or maybe suck IT up — and put your nose to the grindstone. Stewart dissects the litany of excuses people use to abandon thorny IT career paths (everything from "I don't have a degree" to "there's such a feeble economy right now") and scorches that weak sauce with a sizzling dose of straight talk. Stewart contends that most people don't get to cut straight to the head of the line, so IT seekers should stop looking for shortcuts and get to work. Instead of avoiding challenges, press through them. Do the heavy lifting now and thank him later.

You — Could — Go — All — The — Way

We don't often speak of IT and the business of professional and amateur athletics — sports — in the same breath, or even in the same 10-minute conversation. If you're the rare breed who has an interest in both sports and computers, however, or if you just want a piece of that trillion-dollar pie that organizations like the National Football League carve up each year, then CompTIA wants you to know that your career ambitions are not in vain. A recent post by John McGlinchey at CompTIA's IT Careers Blog checks in on three IT professionals whose skills have landed them in various sports settings such as the 2012 London Olympics. Frankly, McGlinchey's basic message — IT is everywhere — can be applied much more broadly than just in the realm of athletics. You want to work somewhere cool? Go find the IT niche that applies and plug yourself into it.

Happy Thanksgivi — Let the Shopping Season Commence

Just to make it clear that the IT community is not above the singluar madness that grips the nation each year and essentially obscures the giving of thanks behind a thick cloud of consumer discounts, we conclude this week's CW with a shopping alert. There are doubltess many other examples of this trend out there, but the one that happened to fall beneath our roving eye this week is from VMware (look near the top of the page under the alerts for November). Shop now — or rather, shop Monday — and save. Happy Holidays!

That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..