This feature first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
There's an entire industry that includes books, videos, classes, seminars, speeches, personal coaching and more all dedicated to helping individuals build self-esteem and become better rounded both personally and professionally. Do you want to be good enough? Smart enough? Do you want people to like you? Get a certification.
It's well known that certification is a great way to learn, and that adding the right credential to your résumé 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.
At least among networking professionals, self-improvement is a widely acknowledged benefit of certification, with 52 percent of respondents indicating that the process helps them gain greater confidence in their own skills. Along those same lines, 57 percent seek certification to improve their qualifications for a future job, while 43.7 percent want to improve their ability to manage current workplace tasks and 36 percent are hoping to attract a promotion.
Since the Internet of Things is at the forefront of many technology discussions, it's not surprising that many (34.6 percent) view networking certification as a means of gaining greater access to technical data. Other popular reasons to certify include the peer-driven impulses of gaining prestige and recognition among colleagues (26.3 percent) and belonging to a community of certified professionals (19.8 percent).
Past Salary Survey PLUS data has 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 IT networking realm, but not by much. Certification rated a very close second, with both education and professional connections being deemed notably less impactful.
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. Roughly 16 percent think certification was probably not a factor, but that's a minority view. A noteworthy 25 percent said certification was very influential, while an additional 54 percent deemed it either influential (34.6 percent) or somewhat influential (20.1 percent).
Whatever its role in getting you on the company payroll, certification training can have a big impact on job performance. A substantial 48.1 percent of those surveyed said they use skills learned or enhanced through certification several times a day, while 35 percent rely on their certified skills either several times a week (24.8 percent) or several times a month (10.7 percent).
Very few respondents feel that networking certification is useful in the workplace only occasionally (10.9 percent) or rarely (5.5 percent).
That's not all, however, that you can expect to gain from certification. A whopping 82 percent of those surveyed either agree (45.8 percent) or strongly agree (37.1 percent) that becoming certified has increased their problem-solving skills, while 76 percent either agree (43.1 percent) or strongly agree (33.6 percent) that certification has increased their workplace productivity.
Finally, whether or not certification played a role in getting you hired at your current job, it is likely to make your résumé more attractive the next time that you go out looking. Nearly 77 percent of those surveyed either agree (42.6 percent) or strongly agree (34 percent) that becoming certified has bumped up the demand for their skills.