Robert Half Technology, one of the leading IT employment agencies, puts out an IT salary guide every year. In 2015 the company released their Salary Guide for IT which offered great insight into the importance of a professional certification, especially CompTIA. You can review the Salary Guide here.
According to the report, “Highly skilled and experienced IT professionals, even those who aren’t actively seeking jobs, often receive multiple offers. And the employment offers are fiercely competitive: Above-market pay and other attractive financial incentives are common, and offers may include stock options, flexible work schedules and other perks.”
But the opening caveat, “Highly skilled and experienced IT professionals…” certainly doesn’t apply to everyone in the industry. There are a lot of talented people working and training hard so they can be recognized as being among the “highly skilled and experienced.”
But where to start?
Consider CompTIA. If you are not familiar, CompTIA is short for “Computing Technology Industry Association.” Yes, an industry trade association – which may or may not hold interest. But, if you’re trying to figure out where to get started in your quest to becoming a “highly skilled and experienced IT professional,” you really need to be looking at CompTIA’s vendor-neutral IT certifications.
Their certifications first started back in 1993 and have become well-established and entrenched benchmarks among employers. CompTIA credentials not only validate your IT skills, but also show that you have initiative, a commitment to your career and desire to learn – absolutely critical traits among those who become “highly skilled and experienced IT professionals.”
CompTIA offers a number of different certification types with its “CompTIA Professional Series” being of prime interest to both employers and up-and-coming IT professionals.
As an example, research from International Data Corporation (IDC) last year reported that candidates and staff with CompTIA A+ (which is a foundational certification for those just getting started) and CompTIA Security+ (principles for securing a network and managing risk) certifications performed better than staff who were not certified.
The research found that CompTIA certified staff with less than one year of experience demonstrated more domain knowledge than uncertified staff with three years of experience. Further, after 10 years of experience, CompTIA certified staff had 20-to-25 percent more core domain knowledge than those with the same 10 years of experience, but without a CompTIA certification.
Here’s the real kicker from the research, which is quoted directly:
“The process of preparing for and achieving CompTIA certification leads IT staff to perform at higher levels in important IT support and IT security activities. However, without sufficient and ongoing training, staff performance on key tasks consistently declines. In the IT support and IT security tasks measured, performance degraded by 25 percent over four years without ongoing training. On the other hand, with ongoing training and certification, IT staff maintain their higher levels of performance.”
Now, there are similar CompTIA certifications in other areas such as servers and/or networks. And while the certifications are always the star of the show, as IDC notes, star status isn’t achieved or maintained without ongoing training.
And that’s why we love what we do here at KnowledgeNet. Every day we’re providing our industry’s up-and-coming talent with the information and training needed to achieve their status as a CompTIA superstar. After that, it’s only a matter of time before they become one of those “highly skilled and experienced IT professionals” who Robert Half Technology likes to write about and employers like to hire.