The Importance of IT certification and Qualifications

Often in life we find ourselves having to choose between two options. The problem is, on what basis do we choose? Do we flip a coin, make a blind choice? Whatever you do, you have to forego the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action; also known as the opportunity cost.

The IT training industry has seen a big growth, with more providers than ever offering IT training. However even with more study options, students are often faced with the dilemma of choosing between industry certifications and qualifications. Key stakeholders within the industry are to be blamed for much of the confusion caused. Some of our local universities state that someone who has not completed year 12 has times a greater risk of being unemployed as compared to someone who has completed a degree. From an earnings point of view, a massive gap is demonstrated. In 2006, an IT manager without a degree could only earn a mean weekly income on $1731 as compared to manager with a postgraduate degree, who can expect to earn as high as $2086. There is a direct jump from no degree to a postgraduate degree, with no middle ground.

From a job seeker’s point of view, a first degree has become the norm, it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd with a [Bachelors Degree] alone. In a world of degree inflation, a second degree may be the more desirable – a kind of academic finishing school … ~ Simon Caulkin. The Observer, Sunday 8 September 2002
At the other end of the spectrum, IT vendor such as Microsoft, Cisco and VMWare, along with certification providers have their own case. A “Certified Person” is defined as one who has passed stringent written and practical exams related to the work that he will perform. Companies hiring certified IT professionals benefit by having a third-party validated knowledge base, leading to a better industry reputation, higher-quality work and, ultimately, more customers.

Industry certifications can be a valuable addition to your portfolio as they demonstrate a level of commitment and a base level of technical knowledge. All of that can be valuable as you search for your next job, or seek to advance in your current role. Certifications can be an excellent learning framework to use when expanding your skill set into new products or technologies. However, at times, the outcome of certifications are overstated. Many individuals. and at time IT Managers, are made to believe that certifications are the only true, objective measure of a capable professional. Nevertheless, some are also of the opinion that certifications aren’t a true indicator of an individual’s knowledge of a product or technology. They feel it’s too easy to “game the system” and pass the exams without any real experience.
I bet you are confused, and so are many students who have to make the same choice. So the question is how can you get the benefits of a qualification and an industry certification in one package? The answer it ITFutures’ Diploma of IT.

ITFutures Diploma of IT is based on the ICA11 National Training Package which incorporates vendor certifications within the program. Delivered over a period of 1 year, this program not only gives you a nationally recognised qualification but also gives you vendor certifications. We found that individuals with only a qualification or a certification do not achieve the desired level of competency. A Diploma is a nationally recognised qualification, something that is judged on the same standard across the country. Comprising of individual units of competency, these units are judged against a standard performance criteria. Along with that, vendor certifications do not have a national barrier and are recognised worldwide, providing the locals students a level playing field in the international market. As highlighted earlier, certifications demonstrate a level of commitment and a base level of technical knowledge, and in the current economy, certifications are an increasingly important tool for building skill levels, improved marketability and career opportunities.

Still divided trying to choose between the two? Be spoilt for choice with ITFutures’ Diploma of IT. Giving you the best of the worlds of certification and qualification.

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Salim Karim

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