They’re great! They help beef up a resume, validate your skill set and provide an excellent opportunity to network with others in your field during seminars and other certification-related sessions. But. (Yes, there’s a “but.”) Certifications are not the be-all and end-all. First, they’re pricey. Second, classes and the prep they involve can eat up your precious free time. Finally, they don’t necessarily prove a whole lot to management. If your employer suggests a certification and also has a program to pay … go for it! Or if the certification covers something of particular interest to you and you’ll use it in your career, it’s also worth it. (A combination of all these? What are you waiting for?) If you’re on the job hunt and thinking about enrolling in a program where you’ll get several certifications at once, don’t expect this to automatically get you a job. Work experience is vital. So take a part-time job in the student computer lab. Do PC hardware support for a company who’s implementing a new software system. Or work with clients to help support their server environment. That work experience coupled with certifications will be much more impressive to potential employers.
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