Oct 14, 2016 | Harrison College
It’s no secret the tech industry loves certifications. There’s seemingly a certification for every specialization and level of expertise out there. But with so many options available, figuring out where to start might seem a bit intimidating.
The A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications from CompTIA are some of the most commonly pursued options for those looking to get their start in information technology (IT).
But is becoming CompTIA certified really worth the effort? How much weight does a CompTIA certification carry in the IT world?
Only you can decide if becoming certified is worth the time and effort. But there are some things you should know before making your decision. Keep reading to find out how being CompTIA certified could affect your IT career path.
You may think becoming CompTIA certified won’t make a significant impact on your career in IT. But we uncovered some important insights that might make you think otherwise.
1. CompTIA certifications are in-demand
We used real-time job analysis software to analyze more than 335,000 entry-level IT jobs posted over the last year.* The data revealed the five IT certifications in highest demand. Here’s what we found:
As you can see, CompTIA certifications make up three of the top five certifications in greatest demand for entry-level IT positions. This goes to show that employers understand the value of having CompTIA-certified professionals on their teams.
2. They serve as validation for employers
Sure, you might be an absolute whiz at troubleshooting computer and network issues — but can you prove it? The answer is probably yes if you’re given the opportunity to do so. But would a potential employer even bother to ask you to prove it when they can easily find another candidate who has a certification verifying they have that knowledge?
According to a 2015 study by CompTIA, 91 percent of employers believe IT certifications are reliable predictors of a successful employee. This is why 60 percent of employers use certifications to confirm subject matter expertise, reports the study. When hiring managers are tasked with sifting through hundreds of resumes, the absence of IT certifications is an easy way to narrow down their pool of candidates.
3. They provide a solid foundation
Think of it like you’re building a structure. You’ll need a solid foundation to support the IT career you hope to build. Not to strain the metaphor, but in this scenario, CompTIA is like a building inspector. By earning the A+ certification — which focuses on the foundations of hardware, software and network troubleshooting — you’ve received a stamp of approval on your foundation of skills. These skills carry over and will be built upon as you develop as a professional and pursue more specialized tracks.
Network+, as you might have guessed, will give you a foundational knowledge of wired and wireless networking technology. This includes setting up switches and routers as well as understanding the OSI model and how IP addressing works. From here, you will be able to branch out into other networking certifications like the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and server-level certifications like Microsoft’s MCSA & MCSE.
Security+ will set the stage for an information security career. By earning the certification, you will learn more about network security, common threats and vulnerabilities, cryptography and controls for preventing security breaches.
4. You’ll explore specialization areas
The days of the catch-all “computer guy” are long gone. As computers and the technology that keeps them connected grow more and more sophisticated, the skills needed to maintain them have become increasingly specialized.
That said, there is some value in developing “T-shaped” skills, particularly when first starting out in the field. While building your foundation with the A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications, you’ll begin to learn more about specializations like information security or network engineering. This baseline knowledge can help you determine your interests.
The upside to earning all three of these certifications is that even if you decide to pursue an information security career track, the fundamental knowledge you’ve acquired from the other certifications will remain relevant and helpful throughout your career.
5. Security+ opens the door to many government IT jobs
One of the biggest drivers of the impending job growth in IT security is the federal government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many federal government positions related to IT and networking require a level of security clearance as well as information security certifications like CompTIA Security+. This certification “meets the ISO 17024 standard and is approved by U.S. Department of Defense to fulfill Directive 8570.01-M requirements.”
While CompTIA Security+ certification doesn’t cover the necessity of obtaining a security clearance (which can be a lengthy process since it’s a matter of national security), it does fulfill many of the technical requirements needed for entry-level work for the US government and associated private contractors. This opens a whole new pool of job opportunities in addition to the already optimistic numbers.
As you can see, becoming CompTIA certified is a smart move for aspiring IT pros looking to get started in the field. It’s obvious employers value these credentials, which is why the Harrison College School of Information Technology has established partnerships with CompTIA and other certification providers.
This is just one of the standout features of the program. Check out our article to learn more: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Harrison College School of Information Technology.
*Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 335,814 entry-level information technology jobs, Sep. 01, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2016)< Back