If your education in information technology ended when you left college, you are falling way behind! Employers today tend to seek out learners, not know it all’s. Technology changes every day and whether you like it or not, part of any job in IT requires that you have the ability to keep up with constant change, are willing to learn new things, as well as find new ways to do old things better (AKA “being innovative”). It doesn’t matter what area of IT you work in, if achieving technical certifications isn’t part of your career game plan then you’re in serious trouble because there’s plenty of other professionals out there who aren’t afraid to make the extra effort to continue their education.
Regardless of the area in IT you work, whether it be within social media, SEO, web design and or development, computer networking, etc, you still need credibility to back you up. Sure, that college degree is great and all, but it doesn’t prove you are an innovator or that you’re willing to continue to learn new things, it just proves you have some knowledge in a particular area, and you’re willing to work to get things done. When IT professionals achieve technical certifications and keep them up to date, this proves to employers that you’re willing to stay on top of recent trends in technology, and you’re willing to learn as you go. It also proves to those you do business with on a personal basis that you are reputable and knowledgeable about a specific subject, which in effect adds a level or trust with those who do and do not know you.
What if I Don’t Get a Technical Certification?
Then you’re falling further and further behind by the minute. Who do you think an employer wants to hire, someone who graduated with a degree in information systems four years ago and has no proof they’ve learned or done anything since, or someone who not only has a degree, but several up to date technical certifications that are geared toward specific areas of IT? I think the answer here is quite obvious. Even if you’re self employed, you still need technical certifications. When businesses seek out the help of professionals they tend to look for those who are credible and knowledgeable about their work, and in many cases prefer to hire those who are licensed in some form or another to do their line of work. After all, it’s their business that’s on the line.
Social networks today are abundant with self proclaimed IT specialists who claim to be masters in their field, but the hard truth is that many of them don’t have any formal education at all that is related to their line of work, much less a technical certification to validate their so called expertise. In all honesty, running around telling people you are professional SEO, social media specialist, or web design guru, without anything credible to back you up does nothing but make you look bad since many people will simply think you are lying since you have given them no reason to trust you to begin with. Credibility isn’t just centered on education either! In fact, you need a mix of both the educational factors along with real world references and examples of your work. Can you prove you can do what you say you can do? If not, then you’re just preaching, and no one’s listening. When I catch a liar on social networks, from that point on I refuse to listen to anything they have to say and completely ignore them, who wouldn’t?
If you claim to be a web designer, then I or anyone else would assume you have websites that you’ve created yourself. Often people do click thru to profiles on social networks, so this is an obvious place they would assume you would have a reference or examples of your work somewhere. For instance, I write web design tutorials, which are housed on my websites I created myself! This gave me credibility in the eyes of those who didn’t know me, or who were just starting to learn web design practices. I was able to prove my knowledge through real world examples of my work, and people have rewarded me for this by vouching for my work, sharing my content with others, and giving me credibility in a word of mouth form. I also have several technical certifications from Comp TIA, which at one point excelled my tech support business to new heights when I worked in that field. Certifications can only help you, not hurt you!
Even if your technical certifications aren’t directly related to your field, they can still help to add a measure of trust in others, and prove you are working to learn new things. When it comes to the competition that drives technology today, credibility is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling web design or social media marketing services, or if you work in PC tech support, having technical certifications under your belt can go a long way with current or potentials employers, and it can open new avenues of business for those who are self employed since it helps them to gain the credibility they seek in order to drive their online business goals. Those who have knowledge in specific areas of IT, who are constantly learning, and are willing to prove their knowledge to the world, are going to be the most likely to succeed. They will also be the ones to take the jobs of those who failed to make an effort to gain credibility in the first place.