This feature first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
In IT, as in life, commitment is often predicated on the absence of more enticing options. It's the sort of opportunistic outlook embraced by Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia, whose hugely successful 1997 debut album Left of the Middle includes a song with the lyric, "I'll always be there, nothing will go wrong, 'til something better comes along."
Most people agree that certification is a reliable means of acquiring knowledge, and that adding the right credential to your resume can boost your earning power. We like to fill in the bigger picture, however, so we asked survey respondents to name the two most important benefits of getting a certification other than its impact on salary and education.
Which gets us back to that common thread of opportunism, with nearly 56 percent of respondents indicating that Linux certification is a potential pathway to a better job somewhere down the road. Along those same lines, roughly 42 percent seek certification to improve their qualifications for the job they have right now, while 29 percent are hoping to attract a promotion.
There's also a strong contingent of those surveyed (48.7 percent) who view Linux certification as a means of gaining greater confidence in their IT abilities. Other popular reasons to certify include the peer-driven impulse of gaining prestige and recognition among colleagues (23 percent), and the curiosity-fueled drive to get advanced access to technical data (25.4 percent).
Past salary surveys have generally shown that IT professionals believe prior work experience is the biggest factor in getting hired for an IT job. That's also true in the Linux realm, though certification and education are both close seconds. "Who you know" apparently doesn't count for much with Linux pros, as the impact of business interactions and personal connections rated a distant fourth.
To further clarify the impact on hiring of certification, we asked survey respondents to estimate how influential certification was in getting them hired to do their current job. A notable 29 percent think certification was probably not a factor, though that's a minority view. While just 14 percent think certification was very influential, an additional 47 percent deemed it either influential (26.6 percent percent) or somewhat influential (20.3 percent).
Whatever its role in getting you on the company payroll, certification training can have a big impact on job performance. A substantial 39.1 percent of those surveyed said they use skills learned or enhanced through Linux certification several times a day, while 30 percent rely on their certified skills either several times a week (20.5 percent) or several times a month (9.9 percent).
That does leave a larger-than-usual segment of respondents who feel their certification training is useful in the workplace only occasionally (14.3 percent) or rarely (16.1 percent).
That's not all, however, that you can expect to gain from Linux certification. A strong 70 percent of those surveyed either agree (38.8 percent) or strongly agree (31.2 percent) that becoming certified has increased their problem-solving skills, while 63 percent either agree (35.8 percent) or strongly agree (27.2 percent) that certification has increased their workplace productivity.
Finally, whether or not Linux certification played a role in getting you hired at your current job, it is likely to make your resume more attractive the next time that you go out looking. A shade more than 63 percent of those surveyed either agree (36.2 percent) or strongly agree (26.9 percent) that becoming certified has bumped up the demand for their skills.
TABLE TALK : Linux-certified professionals fill out the comment card before leaving the restaurant. So to speak.