Professional Certification for Information Technology Careers

Mary Gormandy White
IT Certification Expert Randall Olson

If you're interested in pursuing a career in the IT field, it's important to pursue professional certification for information technology careers before you enter the job market.

Randall Olson, director of Mobile Technical Institute's certification testing facility, shared his insights about the importance of IT certification credentials with LoveToKnow Jobs. Those interested in careers in computer technology can benefit from his Olson's sound advice.

Are there Advantages to Seeking Professional Certification for Information Technology Careers?

The information technology field is very competitive, and it is one that changes every day, if not even faster. Employers who staff IT positions look very favorably on candidates who have earned professional credentials relevant to the jobs for which they are applying.

It's very difficult to break into an entry-level position in the information technology field without at least one or two entry level certifications. Many employers will not even consider hiring IT staff members who have not earned at the CompTIA A+ certification or the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) designation.

Having an entry level certification can help IT workers get a "foot in the door". In order to keep it there or be able to use it to "climb up the ladder", they really need to pursue advanced certifications that will help qualify them for higher level positions, or ones that branch into other aspects of the information technology field.

Why Do You Think Employers Find Certifications So Important for IT Workers?

It's hard to tell if an individual really has the skills necessary to perform IT tasks simply by looking at a resume or interviewing him or her. If you aren't well versed in the language of information technology, it's difficult, if not impossible, to know what to listen for when applicants are describing their past experiences and qualifications.

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Because information technology jobs require very complex skill sets that are often not well understood by hiring managers, it can be hard for them to decide which candidates are the most qualified without some type of third party validation. When an applicant has particular professional certifications, the employer can be fairly confident that the individual possesses skills in line with those designated by his or her earned credentials.

Basically, this means that employers who know which certification exams represent the skills needed to perform particular jobs can be assured that candidates who have passed those particular tests have the technical skills needed to do the job. Of course, this doesn't mean the candidate will be a good fit for the company, but the fact that the interviewer can be comfortable that the basic skills are there can focus on other relevant issues during the interview process.

What Trends Do You See in Computer Certification Salary Ranges?

Professional certification has a major impact on promotions and salaries for IT professionals. Entry level certifications are necessary to get a "first job" in the field, but continued credentialing has definitely become a necessity for moving ahead.

In my position as manager of MTI's certification testing center, I interact with IT professionals on a regular basis. The ones who are the most successful in their careers are the individuals I see over and over. They keep coming back to take new exams and earn additional certifications. This allows them to demonstrate their value to their employers, and makes it possible for them to be eligible for promotions and pay increases.

What Advice Do You Have for People Who Are Interested in Professional Certification for Information Technology Careers?

When you're ready to start taking your IT certification exams, it's important to spend time getting ready to take the exam. You'll need to have a thorough understanding of the material covered by the exam, but that really isn't where your preparation needs to end.

In addition to knowing the content, it's also important to prepare for the test itself. That's where certification exam preparation comes in to play. Use an exam prep study guide, attend a boot camp, or take advantage of a mentored learning system like the one we offer at MTI. This type of training, which can make the difference between passing or failing for even the most skilled testers, helps you understand what to expect when you actually sit down to take your exam.

My company also provides a Certification Connection blog as a free resource for individuals who are interested in learning more about what is involved with getting, and staying, certified as IT professionals.


LoveToKnow Jobs would like to thank certification testing expert Randall Olson for taking time to explain the importance of certification testing for job seekers interested in the IT field, and wishes him continued success with his IT training, certification testing, and consulting endeavors.

Professional Certification for Information Technology Careers