Do IT Certifications Still Matter?

A new report from the IT employment experts at Foote
Partners
has found that the premium that companies pay for IT certifications
are at their lowest point since 1999, while many non-certified skills remain at
the top of employers’ wish list.

"This is the largest gap in pay for skills and
certifications in ten years," says David Foote, CEO and chief research
officer for Foote Partners, which publishes the IT Skills and Certifications
Pay Index.

According to Foote, while the premium that employers pay for
IT certifications has gone down, demand still exists for these attestations of
technical skills. It’s just that the changing business and IT landscape has
made hiring managers take more care to look for job experience and with it the
skills that don’t translate well to certification.

"Certifications have traditionally been more in demand
in deeply technical areas. This is where the certifications industry started,
with vendors offering training in their products," Foote says. "but
now we have a vastly different definition of ‘IT professional’ that includes
countless new combinations of knowledge, experience and skill sets. Technology
and business skills have in effect collapsed into each other, creating legions
of what our firm refers to generically as hybrid IT-business
professionals."

Foote says that this demand for the mix of skills it takes
to be an efficient hybrid professional such as business process, subject matter
and industry expertise is largely what has contributed to the erosion of certification
values. Over the past 12 months among the 231 certified skills that Foote
monitors, the premium value went down by 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the 252
non-certified IT skills Foote measures saw a 4.2 percent increase.

"Does this mean certifications are not important
anymore? That’s not what our data is telling us," Foote says.
"Instead, what I think we’re seeing is that there are hundreds of skills
that may not have certifications that are being valued more highly by
employers. And if there is also a certification available for a skill and an
employer is facing a choice between a worker with demonstrated experience in
that skill or a person who is less experienced but holds a certification in
that same skill, I think employers will choose the experience person and pay a
higher premium for that experience."

 

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