Did you know that hiring managers are more inclined towards onboarding a certified professional?
Almost 72% of employers mandate an IT certification to hire people, 67% of employers assess willingness to work, productivity, and workplace efficiency based on certification, and 60% of employers take IT certifications as a sign of subject matter expertise.
Across different industries and workplace cultures, IT professionals with industry-recommended certifications are considered more valuable.
It is not hard to understand why an employee completes an IT certification for specialized experience, salary increase, and career development. However, why do employers prefer hiring IT professionals with certifications and badges?
Skilled and certified employees create a happy, driven workplace. They are more equipped to handle stressful, complicated situations.
This article will discuss why you should consider hiring IT professionals with relevant certifications and badges.
What are Certifications?
A professional IT certification is a type of standardized credential offered to an individual once they complete the certification requirements, such as an exam or a course. This certification serves as proof for employers and businesses, which helps quantify a candidate's IT knowledge in a particular field. If someone is trying to progress their career, enter a new field, or seek a promotion, IT certifications demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills for the same.
Digital Badges are similar to certifications, as they help measure a candidate's experience in a specific field. Badges are often accepted as an addition to diplomas and degrees. With these, one can prove that they can use specific software in an agile manner, communicate complex requirements, or use their project management capabilities.
How Can Someone Prove Their Level of Expertise With a Certification?
Certification can demonstrate a candidates' competence or proficiency in a field. Generally, every type of certification course improves one's skill set and knowledge. But to what level? This is defined by the level of the certificate.
One method to determine this is to check the credits of the course. For example, if there are a total of 30 credits for the certification and only 15 are important, the number of credits earned by the professional can help you gauge their experience in the field.
Another method is to understand the proficiency level of the certificate itself. For instance, take SAP's certification levels. It offers you three types of certifications:
- An Associate Certificate, which provides fundamental skills in SAP solutions and can improve with further certifications.
- A Specialist Certificate, which is an add-on to the Associate Certification and focuses on offering specific competencies.
- A Professional Certification, which is an advanced-level course requiring knowledge of and proven expertise in business processing and a detailed understanding of SAP.
Similarly, other certification providers also have some differentiating factors that influence the proficiency of the certification. You can assess these factors to hire the right person for a job role.
Why are Certified IT Professionals the Need of the Hour?
Hiring IT professionals with certifications validates their knowledge and skills in a certain domain. For this reason, many businesses prefer hiring IT professionals who have completed specific certifications.
Here are some reasons why you should check the IT certifications of a professional before hiring them:
Hiring professionals with certifications prove their niche experience. Considering the range of new job roles, such as Flutter Developer—which is for a UI software development kit launched in 2017—we can't evaluate the candidate's experience, degree, and skills. A candidate may not have experience in the field, but certification from a well-known provider may validate said candidate's niche experience.
Hiring IT professionals with various certifications help you create happier employees and a content workforce.
When an IT professional completes a certification and receives a badge, they feel a sense of achievement. They might feel more accomplished in comparison to many other candidates. While organizations ignore this crucial need of the employee (or humans, in general), certifications open the door to self-motivation for the professional. Only strongly encouraged and highly-motivated people are able to complete certifications.
- Certified employees are confident. As a result, they improve motivation in the workplace with their go-getter attitude.
- With certification skills, employees can handle challenging situations more easily, reducing their workload and improving retention.
- You can identify high-performers and encourage your existing employees to complete certifications for advanced knowledge.
- The company's portfolio with certified professionals certainly has more value compared to one without any subject matter expertise.
Hiring IT professionals certified in different domains helps you improve the productivity of your business. With appropriate skills for a job role paired with relevant experience and collaboration techniques, certified professionals are able to achieve more, improving workplace productivity.
Ongoing encouragement and guidance from certified IT professionals allow your workplace to grow and nurture.
Expertise and Skills
When you onboard certified professionals, you bring their skills and expertise to the table. For example, an IT outsourcing company can easily grab more opportunities based on the experience and skills of its certified employees.
This experience is also motivating and beneficial for existing employees. Certified professionals are equipped to guide their subordinates and team members appropriately in challenging situations.
A Professional Outlook
With a certification, IT professionals gain a professional outlook. This professional aptness empowers your business. The ability to offer data-driven solutions and measurable results allow your company to grow.
For example, a certified networking expert may be able to become a trustworthy face by offering professional, highly driven, and fact-based decisions.
Think about it, what if you train and upskill an employee only to learn that they are planning to move to a better opportunity?
This thought is a major concern for hiring managers. However, when you hire IT, professionals, with certifications, you avoid the upskilling stage. This way, your company has more security and experience onboard.
Simply put, you can use the knowledge and skills that come with a certification but avoid upskilling the employee. This improves workplace and HR efficiency.
What Should Employers Look for: Experience or Certification?
Hiring managers prefer IT professionals with relevant field experience over the number of recommendation letters a prospect has. They are willing to hire a candidate with the ability to adjust to a different corporate culture.
We already understand the reason behind this hiring methodology. However, one conflicting factor is assessing if a candidate who has relevant certifications without 4-5 years of experience is a potential candidate or not.
Are IT certifications a validation of a candidate's knowledge and skills?
For more than two decades, certifications have held reasonable importance in the industry. Hiring IT professionals with certifications is a safer deal than hiring a professional with no certification and experience. However, this is not to say that certification is the only deciding factor. Hiring IT professionals with five or more years of experience with no or minor certification is equally favourable for a business.
Say we have three applicants for the position of Network Administrator. Applicant One has more than ten years of experience without any certification. Applicant Two has more than four years of experience with Server+, Security+, CompTIA's A+, and other certifications. Applicant Three has only six months of network technician experience with an NT 4 MCSE + internet certification.
Which candidate should your company hire?
Many hiring managers believe that formal certifications and education are important; it is more valuable than having no certification at all. A certificate determines the basic knowledge and skills in terms of the technical aptness of the candidate. However, it is also important to note that relevant experience is also more valuable than no experience. Therefore, this means that an ideal candidate for the job role is one with some experience and relevant certifications.
In reality, many large companies focus on hiring experienced candidates with and without certifications while offering them an opportunity to get certified via company collaborations. This means that you should prefer hiring a candidate with experience as well as relevant certifications.
Here, one of the reasons for considering experience with certifications is assessing the stability of the candidate. There's a high flight risk with IT candidates; hence, recruiters can gauge the applicant's consistency via past experience.
With this analysis, we would say that both Applicants One and Two are equal contenders for the position.
Technical expertise, certifications, and relevant industry experience are all significant for a job role. Technical expertise offers you a good understanding of technical concepts, certification validates your knowledge, and experience provides an understanding of the workings of the industry. Hence, recruiters are increasingly hiring people with both experience and certifications.
Some Important Certifications to Check While Hiring IT Professionals
In an attempt to update their knowledge and gain industry value, candidates complete a multitude of valuable IT certifications. Here are some of the important certifications to consider when hiring IT professionals:
- CompTIA is a valuable platform providing multiple specific certifications. For example, a CompTIA A+ certification offers knowledge about technical support, troubleshooting, and hardware.
- Microsoft Technology Professional (MTP) is an entry-level certification for IT professionals. It covers many topics, including Windows Operating System Fundamentals, .Net, web development, etc.
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Experts or Developer (MCSE or MCSD) are designed for many specializations, including servers, storage, data systems, networking, and many Windows products.
- Cisco Certified Network Associate or Professional (CCNA or CCNP) are two great certifications for networking professionals. They offer specializations in data centres, collaboration, cloud, cyber operations, etc.
- Certified Information Systems Auditor is one of the best certifications for information systems professionals.
- VMware Certified Professional is a certification for cloud experts. This certification validates that the professional can configure VMware vRealize.
- Certified Data Professional is a competitive IT certification for database professionals. Any data professional with this certification can assume roles like data governance, business analytics, data warehousing, and data analytics.
You may be wondering whether a certification held by a potential employee is valuable or not. Check the following factors that help you assess the authenticity and value of the certificate.
To understand whether a certification is valuable or not, you need to first know the strength of the course or certification.
- How convenient is it to study for the course? Does it have a strict course schedule?
- Were there any hands-on learning opportunities and live classes offered in the certification?
- What are the USPs of the course? Does it offer hands-on learning? Do professionals get a free certification?
Understand the factors that make the certification valuable for your company.
Gauging the authority of the certification includes knowing the university, organization, or institution offering the course or sponsoring the exam. This helps you analyze the value, course structure, and worth of the certification.
For example, a certification from Microsoft is valuable for any IT company.
You can run a simple Google search to know the authority of the certification. Explore the content and reviews around the course or certification to understand its authority.
Sometimes the certification is not as valuable as it seems. Even when offered by a known organization, the course may not be well received in the market.
For example, many free courses are designed for basic knowledge. However, when you are hiring IT professionals for an expert role, a free certification may not offer the required skills and value.
You can visit the course page and evaluate the type of learning that is offered. If the candidate is getting a chance to complete a few advanced learning sessions before acquiring the free certification, you may be able to consider the knowledge imparted by the course.
Lastly, check the course structure involved in the certification. What if the certification is for a basic level when you are hiring IT professionals for a subject matter expert role?
Hence, evaluate if the course can benefit your organization or not. If not, then you should consider shortlisting other candidates for the job role.
Things to Avoid
Recruiters should avoid the following few red flags while hiring IT professionals with certifications.
- Try to onboard or prioritize employees with paid or well-known certifications discussed above.
- If you have specific requirements for a job role, research beforehand about the certifications that offer this level of expertise. This will help you shortlist candidates quickly.
- Always ask for the certification to validate the credentials personally. Just a mention of the certificate in the resume or CV doesn't guarantee its authenticity.
- Remember to check how long the certification is valid. Many certificates expire when the professional fails to upgrade their knowledge or give follow-up tests.
Once you have evaluated these important factors, you may be able to find IT professionals with relevant certification and skills.
If you have applicants with both work experience as well as valuable certifications, it may be beneficial from the company's perspective to hire these IT professionals. Certifications validate the candidate's technical aptness, skills, collaboration quality, and efficiency. Therefore, certified IT candidates are always more useful to the company than non-certified professionals.
However, remember to evaluate the authenticity and caliber of the certification in the market and industry as per the given qualifying factors. Once you are sure that the certification holds some value, hiring IT professionals becomes simpler and more hassle-free.