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Why IT Certifications Matter, and Why They Don’t

There has been a longstanding debate throughout the annals of IT: Do industry and vendor certifications matter?


The debate takes on new significant given the IT skills shortage. Many organizations are desperate to find qualified personnel to fill IT positions, particularly in high-demand disciplines such as cybersecurity and the cloud. You might think that these organizations would abandon certification requirements just to get a larger pool of applicants.


However, certifications remain an important tool for establishing a baseline level of competence. For example, in a recent online survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 44 percent of IT employers said members of their cybersecurity team should possess the Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) certification.



Framework for Learning


For employers, certifications offer a means of performing an initial rough sort of applicant resumes. Does that mean they might be overlooking qualified candidates who simply haven’t obtained the certification? Certainly, but a candidate who holds the certification brings more to the table than another candidate with similar experience.


The coursework required to obtain certifications provides a framework for learning the discipline or technology. Someone who learns an IT topic on their own or through on-the-job training may not have a solid understanding of the basics. They might have learned just enough of the solution to meet their employer’s needs, despite having years of experience. The person holding the certification has completed a structured learning path and has been tested on the material.



Knowledge and Experience


When hiring a VAR, solutions provider or IT consultant, the analysis becomes a bit more complex. Ideally, you want a team that has completed projects similar to yours for organizations in the same or related industry. Relevant, hands-on experience is likely the best indicator of how successful the VAR will be in meeting your requirements and achieving your desired business outcomes.


After all, there is only so much a person can learn by studying for an exam. Real-world conditions are often very different than the controlled, lab environment. Furthermore, someone who holds an entry-level certification may not have mastered the topic.


Certifications are still important, however. Many vendors require or prefer that installations be performed by certified engineers. It just makes good sense. The vendor wants the customer to be happy with the solution, and a certified engineer has proven expertise in the product. High-level, industry-recognized certifications such as the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) are respected indicators of an engineer’s capabilities.




How SirviS Can Help


At SirviS, we back our decades of experience with key certifications. For example, our entire security team maintains industry-recognized certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).


In addition, we maintain certifications with leading OEMs, including Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and IBM. This gives the VARs who partner with us greater flexibility when developing solutions for their customers. The VAR can develop the solution based upon the customer’s preferred vendor or the best-of-breed solution for that particular use case. SirviS can provide personnel with the right certifications to meet the vendor’s requirements and ensure project success.


There are many situations where certifications don’t matter. It’s far more important to have personnel with the right skills and real-world experience. But when certifications do matter, you can rest assured that SirviS will give you access to the resources you need.



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