Certifications or Experience? A Cisco Technician Weighs In
Jared Hainline, a Cisco technician, was looking for new ways to advance his career. The senior network specialist had been debating whether to pursue a Cisco certification or invest his time accumulating more work experience. Ultimately, after careful consideration, he decided to pursue both paths. “I have always been of the opinion that a certification was never meant to stand alone,” he says. “Certification alone does not get you hired or qualify you for a job. Experience alone may not get you an interview, even though you know the technology.”
Jared went on to work as a desktop technician after earning his Cisco Certified Network Association (CCNA) certification. While pursuing his CCNA alone didn’t result in a promotion or raise right away, it did allow him to become better at his job. He found he was able to troubleshoot issues more quickly, and discovered he could diagnose LAN issues and recommend solutions even though he wasn’t a LAN tech. Soon, however, he was able to get that promotion and raise, becoming a LAN/WAN tech. “Certification and experience combined will bring you success,” he says.
Jared’s story is all too familiar for IT technicians attempting to take their careers to the next level. In the ultra competitive IT services sector, there is an increased demand for technicians with specialized certification, as this additional training can help boost work quality, productivity and customer satisfaction.
Deciding to pursue additional certification is an investment of both time and money, but there are many advantages. Advanced certifications can help renew interest in a field of expertise—be it networking, communications, security, mobility. They can help keep IT technicians up-to-date with the latest technology and allow them to better advance their careers.
Here are three additional advantages Cisco techs can gain from pursuing additional certification:
1. Improved Marketability
Obtaining additional certification automatically improves your marketability. Showing a willingness to independently commit to further training looks good on a resume and certifications can help open the door to new work opportunities.
When deciding which certification to pursue, consider looking at the market to ensure the certification you choose aligns with current demands and trends. If the market is booming in data, choosing a certification in routing and switching may not make the most sense. Staying aware of market changes can help provide a sense of the general area and topic of certification to pursue.
2. Increased Return On Investment
While a financial return may be the first thing that comes to mind when considering further education, obtaining additional certification can do more than boost your monthly paycheck. This additional knowledge also provides educational and developmental value that is beneficial both personally and professionally.
Making the effort to pursue additional certification can help earn respect from company leaders and colleagues, and may allow you to take on additional tasks and projects within a current position before a promotion or job change takes place.
3. Greater Knowledge Application
Obtaining new knowledge is just part of the puzzle. Additional certification is useful in many ways, but it’s also important to gain hands-on experience. While certification can provide the facts and information, applying this knowledge to your daily job can help solidify this knowledge through repetition. Overall, there is much to be gained through pursuing additional certification. If you’re dreaming of taking your career to the next level, looking to boost your income, or just fine-tune your skills, consider making the investment in certification.