Should you pursue certifications? That's a tough question for every technologist, and the answer can vary wildly depending on your specialization and career track.
As we break down in the new Optimizing Your Tech Career e-book, the decision to pursue certifications hinges on the career you are seeking. Roughly half of technologists have told Dice they don’t have certifications, but companies hiring for very specific and specialized focuses such as cybersecurity often ask for them. Many technologists who don’t have a substantial work history will obtain certifications to demonstrate their proficiency in a core set of skills or a platform (such as AWS or Azure).
Some of the most popular certifications include:
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified ScrumMaster
Many of these certifications (and others) ask for a certain number of years of experience as a prerequisite, so you often don’t need to worry about obtaining those just as you’re starting out. If you’re already dedicated to a track that seems to demand lots of certifications, such as cybersecurity or some kinds of management, keep an eye on the ones you may need to obtain within the next few years once you’ve built up enough experience. As you advance in your career, many employers expect your certification history to advance along with it (and always stay current).
For many jobs, mastery of skills matters just as much as formal certifications to hiring managers (especially those desperate to hire talent). Either way, employers will test your skills knowledge during the application process, often through a battery of tests. For programming languages, make sure to check out LeetCode, HackerRank and Codecademy, which a.) offer lots of example questions for Python and other technologies, and b.) are often used by recruiters and hiring managers to generate interview questions and tests.
For even more on growing your career, obtaining certifications, boosting your skills, and potentially even moving into management, check out the Optimizing Your Tech Career e-book!