Are CompTIA Certifications Worthless?
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The biggest benefit of CompTIA certs is that they're not bound to a specific technology, like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware or other vendor specific certifications. They're also a good way for beginners to get a start in the IT field.
But are CompTIA certs worth it?
Everyone and their Grandma has one ...
Many aspiring IT pros are concerned that the entry-level certs just won't get them anywhere. The common complaint is that there are already too many people with CompTIA certs and the widespread fear is that the certifications are too basic.
Others worry that CompTIA certifications won't help them get a job or a promotion; it's difficult for them to see the benefits of a certification that requires time and money and doesn't offer to set them apart from other IT pros in the field.
These might seem like disadvantages for CompTIA candidates, but the benefits that the certifications bring outweigh these concerns. Ask any successful IT professional and chances he started his career with at least one CompTIA certification.
A forum post I recently read asked:
"I know everyone and their grandma has one and I've personally heard from a few people that CompTIA certifications are not worth much. What do you guys think?"
The overwhelming response from the community was that CompTIA certifications are not only worth it, they "look good on your resume," "give you an edge when applying for jobs," and "are a prerequisite to apply for many jobs."
Clearly, those who have achieved CompTIA certifications are not regretting their decisions. Let's take a look at some of the real benefits CompTIA certifications bring to the table.
Benefits of CompTIA Certifications
Build a Solid Foundation of Knowledge and Skills
CompTIA certifications help candidates build a solid foundation of essentials knowledge and skills that will help them advance their careers. Starting at a higher certification level might seem like a timesaver, but often this can actually delay your progress because you're missing the necessary fundamentals. It's like skipping algebra and going straight for calculus, it just won't work.
Get Extra Credit
Companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, HP and other recognize some CompTIA certification (like the A+ and Network+) in their own certification tracks and some colleges and universities offer college credit for students who obtain CompTIA certifications.
Increase Your Salary and Find New Career Opportunities
Many companies and organizations have made CompTIA certifications mandatory for certain positions and many job ads list the certs as basic requirements. Surveys also show that certified professionals earn more on average than non-certified IT pros in the same roles.
Build Your Confidence and Credibility
But probably the greatest advantage of CompTIA certifications, especially for those who are new to the IT field, is increasing your own personal confidence. By achieving a certification you gain proof that you really know what you're talking about, which gives you more credibility and determination to advance your career.
Job Opportunities for CompTIA Candidates
So what types of jobs will you be able to apply for and feel confident in attaining with CompTIA certifications under your belt? Well, that depends on which certifications you start with. Let's take a look at three of the most popular options:
With the A+ certification you will be able to apply for jobs as a computer technician, technical support representative, help desk specialist, printer repair technician and other similar opportunities. Some companies, like CompuCom and Ricoh, have made CompTIA A+ certification mandatory for their service technicians.
See more information on the A+ certification.
The Network+ certification opens up even more job opportunities allowing you to work as a network administrator (usually at the jr level), network engineer, network technician, and other similar positions. Also, keep in mind that Microsoft, Novell, Cisco and HP also recognize CompTIA Network+ as part of their certification tracks.
Here's more info on the Network+ certification.
The Security+ certification allows you to apply for many of the jobs that require a security clearance; you'll be able to work as a security analyst, security specialist, network security engineer and more. Many companies including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Motorola, Symantec, as well as the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines employ Security+ certified individuals.
Read more about the Security+ certification.