But the truth is that in today’s
competitive marketplace, IT certifications are a means of standing out in the
crowd and differentiating oneself from others. It is also true that not all
certifications have the same value and recognition in industry. It is important
to do some research before undertaking the study.
Armed with the right certification, IT
professionals can definitely command a higher salary and better career growth.
Every year thousands of open positions in IT are reported in US and employers are unable to find candidates with the
right skills to fill those positions. Skills gap is huge. Certifications
provide a baseline for employers to identify and filter candidates. An industry
recognized certification is proof of the candidates’ proficiency in a skill and
puts them ahead of other job contenders. Actual advantages are:
career advancement prospects
the right certification
The right certificate definitely gives
a job seeker a competitive advantage but acquiring these certifications can
prove to be expensive. It is not only the fees for the exams, but training
classes, books and other materials and time that all add up. Despite the costs,
benefits are greater and this can be viewed as an investment in ones’ future
and career advancement.
Cost is one of the reasons, due
diligence should be exercised while selecting the certification. To reap the
benefits of this investment, an industry recognized certificate is the one to
can be inexpensive
Even though certification is
expensive, preparing for it should not be. Many resources are available on the
internet where no fees are required but at the same time these are good and
provide quality education. Thanks to these sites, IT professionals can obtain
certification by avoiding training costs. Some of these sites that can be used
as a starting point are listed below:
EdX is an excellent resource for free IT
training even though it is not exclusively focused on IT. Founded by MIT and
Harvard, it features top-quality online classes from leading universities as
well as from vendors like Microsoft. Courses are free, but there is a charge
for certification and these are not IT certs like the ones offered by CompTIA.
Even though the certificates offered are specific to EdX, the knowledge gained
is of the standard required by industry and will help you in your career
Microsoft certifications are among the
most popular in the industry, and unlike most other cert vendors, the company
offers hundreds of free training courses through Microsoft Virtual Academy. Some of the
most popular courses available are "C# Fundamentals for Absolute
Beginners," "Using Node.js with Visual Studio Code,"
"Mastering Microsoft Certification Exam Prep," "Building Blocks:
Internet of Things (IoT)," "Introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0"
and "Microsoft Azure Fundamentals." The course library is easy to
search, and those who sign up on the site also get access to live events, free
e-books, and discounts on Microsoft Press books and more.
Excellent resource for practice tests.
It offers practice exams for Microsoft, CompTIA, Java programming, Cisco and
Oracle. In addition to IT, it has materials related to tests, such as the SAT,
GED, ACT and ASVAB. It offers tips and tricks to address many questions in
preparation for the exams.
For those interested in cyber security
and hacking and in becoming a Certified Information Systems Security
Professional (CISSP), courses at Search Security can help you in achieving
your goal. All you need to do to access the courses is create a free
account and start learning. They offer free lessons in each of ten modules of
Cybrary takes the open source concept and
applies it to IT training. Many of the courses available through the site are
related to security, but there are also courses designed to prepare you for
popular IT certification tests, including CompTIA A+, Cisco CCNA, CISM, PMP,
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate and many others. The courses are
self-paced, and the website offers an estimation of how long each will take.
The site also offers its own skill certification exams; however, these are not
as widely recognized in the industry as some of the other certs available.
schools offers almost every web technology training that is complimentary. To
become a certified web developer you have to take a test that can be taken
As the name suggests this is a Forum
with hundreds of members who share valuable information about courses, exams
and certifications. It hosts many boards and there are several ongoing
discussions among others on specific IT certifications, including Microsoft,
CompTIA, Cisco, VMware, etc. If you want to know more about why to get a
certification, you can get that information here. Participation in the forums
and membership is completely free.
For those interested in the popular
CompTIA exams, ExamCompass is a
great free resource for practice tests. Offers free
online practice Exams for CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and Server+.
It has twenty different online tests with free score reports, as well as deep
dives into subject areas like RAM, storage, CPU, display devices, printers,
networking, acronyms and hardware troubleshooting.
Messer is for visual learners.
The site features an extensive library of free training videos meant to prepare
viewers for the CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+ and Microsoft
70-680 (configuring Windows 7) certifications. They organize study groups and
also have a discussion forum to help those professionals working towards a
certification. All the videos are completely free for online viewing and they
also have paid downloadable high-definition versions for those who want to
watch offline. In addition, you can sign up for free pop-quiz emails.
‘Creating IT Futures’ a non-profit
organization established their leading program,
IT-Ready, in 2012 in Minneapolis / St. Paul with the aim of providing free IT
programs to help people living in or who are at-risk for poverty; displaced
workers; women and minorities; and military veterans. Nearly 95 percent of graduates earn
their CompTIA A+ certification and 80 percent move into
paid IT roles with area companies. This is an in-person training program
offered in Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York,
Omaha, Philadelphia, or Washington, DC.
If you're a veteran of the U.S.
military, you can get access to free training through Hire Our Heroes. The program aims to ease the transition
from military to civilian life by providing veterans leaving the armed services
with training, mentorship and job opportunities. Currently, interested veterans
can get free cybersecurity training through the Federal Virtual Training
Environment (FedVTE), Certified Storage Associate (NCSA) training from NetApp,
CyberTalent Immersion Academy training from SANS Institute, VetForce training
for Salesforce certification, Certified SAP Associate training through NS2 and
free CAD training through the United States Technical Education Center (USTEC).