IT Certifications: Is it a good idea?

When you are an IT professional, you had heard of certifications such as Cisco CCNA and Microsoft’s MCITP. When attending a two-year community or technical school, certifications is the popular kid on the block as every instructor would tell you that having a certification would make you stand out of the rest of the crowd. As much as having a certification helps you, is it something you can do as an individual who lacks experience in the field or never worked as an IT professional? Every year, vendors of these certifications constantly raise up the requirements and expectations out of these certifications, hence making it hard for just anyone to get it. The difficulty is more than just the intensity of the test. It also costs a lot of money to pass certain ones successfully. There is an about.com article of someone who took one of the hardest exams in the world and describes his experiences here. I can relate this experience when I was taking the Configuring Microsoft Windows 7 certification. They make the material to learn for exam based on business use. An example would be using a Microsoft Image tool and deploy it on multiple machines. There would be a lesson on what parameters you use to properly image an OS and deploy them properly. So if you think you can pass Windows 7 just because you use it on a day to day basis for simple things like homework and web browsing, you are dead wrong. Now that we have Windows 8 out in the market, getting a Windows 7 certification in this day and age is going to be useless. I strongly recommend before getting a certification, have enough experience in the IT field before taking it and if you feel like you are ready for a certification or two, make sure you have enough money to do it because if you don’t, you might waste money anyway because it might take more than one exam to pass. Not that I do not like the idea of trying to get a certification before working in the field, but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get one yet. I have one certification (CompTIA A+) and as much as I want to get other certifications, I rather wait until I work in the field long enough (based on the experience of getting a Microsoft certification).