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Certifications. Advanced degrees. Do they really mean that much? In some camps, hiring managers downplay their importance in favor of experience. But others — especially during economic downturns — say advanced credentials help a candidate get their attention. And which is better to invest in — certifications or advanced degrees? Recruiters say advanced degrees usually win out. On the other hand, the time commitment and expense required for a master's degree or doctorate far outweigh what's needed to obtain a certification. We can only wish there were simple answers. Like so many things that touch our careers, the real answers depend on the individual and his or her situation. In other words, you and what it is you want. No one article is going to provide a definitive answer, but we think these five can at least get you thinking.