This feature first appeared in the Summer�2015�issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
Certification doesn't have a color, but many people primarily see green (or gold) when they think about the array of possible reasons to get certified. Money, however, in the form of increased salary, is far from the only motivating factor. As always, we asked survey respondents to weigh in about what drives them to devote time, effort and often no small amount of their own cash reserves to pursuing certification.
There's clearly a strong sense of community in the Linux world, since 19.2 percent of those surveyed view certification as a means of gaining prestige and recognition among colleagues, while 16.4 percent enjoy belonging to a community of certified professionals. Intriguingly, self-esteem left a particularly large footprint, with 43 percent of those surveyed seeking Linux certification out of a desire to gain greater confidence in their own skills.
There's also a very visible correlation between certification and employment, with 39.4 percent viewing certification as a means of improving their qualifications for a future job. A considerable number of Linux pros are rooted in the present, with 32.7 percent saying that certification is a means of becoming better qualified to perform their current job, while 19 percent see it as being an avenue to promotion within their current organization.
It would appear however, that many believe it's the skills learned, and not necessarily the certification itself, that does the trick. Asked to rate the largest single factor in being hired at their current job, 61.8 percent of those surveyed said that experience matters most. Certification, cited by 16.3 percent of respondents, did fare better than either education (11.4 percent) or business interactions and personal connections (10.6 percent).
In a similar vein, while 35.8 percent of those surveyed say that holding one or more Linux certifications was either influential (24.4 percent) or very influential (11.4 percent) in getting them hired at their current job, 20 percent see certification as being only somewhat influential, while 37 percent believe it was probably not a factor.
Whether or not either your boss or the next hiring manager to come along puts a premium on certification, however, Linux certifications may be among the most effective of all IT certs at teaching actual job skills. A whopping 59 percent of those surveyed report that they use skills learned or enhanced through Linux certification several times a day at their current job, while an additional 29.4 percent use their Linux certified skills either several times a week (18.4 percent) or several times a month (11 percent).
Very few respondents feel that their Linux certified skills are useful in the workplace only occasionally (6.6 percent) or rarely (5.2 percent).
There's also a fairly broad consensus that Linux certifications are valuable in other ways. A potent 60 percent of those surveyed either agree (40.5 percent) or strongly agree (18.9 percent) that Linux certification has helped them be more productive in the workplace. Additionally, 57.6 percent of respondents either agree (39.6 percent) or strongly agree that Linux certification has improved their problem solving skills.
Also, harking back to the previous discussion of future employment: Roughly 55 percent of those surveyed either agree (39.6 percent) or strongly agree (18 percent) that becoming certified has increased demand for their skills. If you're not happy at your current job, hang in there - a Linux certification or two could well be the thing that gets you a better offer from someone else.
TABLE TALK - Certification typically requires some degree of preparation. Here's what survey respondents think about popular training materials and methods:
We learned a few other things, too. It's all available right now in our latest quarterly issue, or you can pull up a virtual chair and settle in here at CertMag.com for the big (and gradual) reveal.