28 Sep 2015, HM

Professional certifications demand a healthy understanding of the knowledge and skills that are necessary to perform with a high degree of competence in a field. Additional requirements for training ensure a steady flow of skill and knowledge of new developments in that field. In every profession, professional certification helps employee, employer, and the consumer.

To make an example, the Certified Professional Technical Communicator credential acquired from the Society for Technical Communication (the largest and oldest association for technical communicators, technical writers, and content professionals) provides validation that carries weight and credibility among peers, clients, and organizational leaders.

My Certificate Against Your Degree

Though a university degree for example, covers a more general accreditation, the general approach itself might pose for a lesser recognition in a more focused, working environment. It is arguably an endless debate when comparing recognition through certification in its playing field but the reasons below could provide a solid basis to make a balanced judgment.

One single standard
Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) for example is a standard highly-praised anywhere in the world. The same applies to certificates of Cisco, Red Hat, etc. When you pass the exam, it no more matters if you learned the stuff in Switzerland or in Swaziland. However, no one can guarantee the same in case of degrees: a lot depends upon the university and the origins of it may be argued its effectiveness and authenticity.

Certification is skill-oriented
What makes a professional different from an amateur is skill. Modern IT industry needs people who not only know how to do something, but really can do that something.

Certification is less time-consuming.
You don't have to attend lectures during whole semester to take a certification exam. In most cases a month or two will do perfectly. Certification training is all about weeks, whereas degree is all about years.

You get exactly what you want.
If you want to learn more about Cisco routers or Microsoft Networks Administration or Red Hat Linux, and later confirm that with proper certificate, no one will make you take philosophy or history of arts just because it's a college policy.

Certification is cheaper.
Although not cheap at all, the certification accepted worldwide is at least five times less expensive than a degree accepted worldwide. And mind the 'hidden' cost of a degree, which includes accommodation, food etc., i.e. the money that will never get you closer to real knowledge or skill.

Certification is always more up-to-date.
Curricula for certification training and appropriate certification training software, as well as examination software are developed by large market players to support their products: really, who will buy the stuff if no one knows what a good it can make.

You don't have to leave your job to take certification training.
It is very important, isn't it? Just ask your employer if he/she is willing to give you a two-year vacation to complete a master's degree and then welcome you back with a promotion. We do not think the answer will be positive.

You can prepare for certification exam at home and evaluate the tests online.
Save your time by preparing yourself for certification exam at home. It is also easy to pass Certificate training online not losing precious time.

Certification pays off faster.
Not only certification costs you less money, but also does provide greater return on investment. Increase of salary - or a new job, why not? - will cover the cost within a year or two, while the money spent to obtain a degree may return slowly during five or ten years.

Will It Pay Off?

This also has been the center of debates from time to time. However, to put it in numbers, professional certification and accreditation has been recorded to induce a more steady if not lucrative income streak for its holders.

A CRISC (Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control) certified professional earns an annual RM524,800 by global standards while a certificate in MCSE as discussed earlier would grant its holder at about RM423,400 annually.

A more ‘radical’ certification like the CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) by The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) pays off up to RM 418,800 and one of the lowest paying international certificates, CNE (Certified Novell Engineer) still covers a handsome earning of RM 413,100 by current standards.

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