This feature first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
Mercenaries tend to get a bad rap, whether historically, in fiction, or even as a (typically) metaphorical referent in 2017. In one sense, however, a mercenary is just an individual with a valuable skill set who accepts the best rate they can get in exchange for services rendered. Professionally, at least, aren't most workers looking for the opportunity to sell their skills to the highest bidder?
It is a point of agreement for most in the IT certification community that getting this or that new credential is a great means of keeping one's skills and knowledge current. And there are certainly potential salary benefits that are part and parcel of most certification endeavors. There are usually other motivations in play, 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 bidding war mindset, as nearly 45 percent of respondents attest that Big Data certification is a potential pathway to a better job than the one they already have. Along those same lines, roughly 53 percent seek certification to improve their qualifications for the job they have right now, while 30 percent are hoping to attract a promotion.
There's also a strong contingent of those surveyed (45.5 percent) who view Big Data 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 (34.7 percent), and the curiosity-fueled drive to gain advance access to technical data (29.8 percent).
Past salary surveys have generally shown that IT professionals believe prior work experience is the biggest factor in getting hired to perform an IT job. That's also true in the Big Data realm, with certification, education, and business interactions/personal connections all closely contesting each other for second place.
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 35 percent think certification was probably not a factor, though that's a minority view. While just 6 percent think certification was very influential, an additional 49 percent deemed it either influential (31.5 percent percent) or somewhat influential (18.8 percent).
Whatever its role in getting you on the company payroll, certification training can have a big impact on job performance. A substantial 40 percent of those surveyed said they use skills learned or enhanced through Big Data certification several times a day, while a further 40 percent rely on their certified skills either several times a week (28.8 percent) or several times a month (11.3 percent).
That leaves us with a notable segment of respondents who feel their certification training is useful in the workplace only occasionally (11.9 percent) or rarely (8.1 percent).
That's not all, however, that you can expect to gain from Big Data certification. A potent 67 percent of those surveyed either agree (51.9 percent) or strongly agree (15.6 percent) that becoming certified has increased their problem-solving skills, while 63 percent either agree (42.5 percent) or strongly agree (20.6 percent) that certification has increased their workplace productivity.
Finally, whether or not Big Data certification played a part in getting you hired at your current job, it is likely to make your r�sum� more attractive the next time that you go out looking for work. A shade more than 62 percent of those surveyed either agree (53.1 percent) or strongly agree (19.4 percent) that becoming certified has bumped up the demand for their skills.
TABLE TALK : How satisfied are certified Big Data professionals with their training and certification materials?