Certification; What is it? What does it mean? Why is it needed?

Wesley MillerInformation Technology Practitioner
CERTIFIED EXPERT
I Have 24 Years of Experience. Comptia A+ and Security + Certified, Have  Microsoft MCP.
Am a  USAF Veteran.
Published:
Updated:
Edited by: Andrew Leniart
Why is Certification such a concern for accreditation and employment?

What purpose does it serve and Why does it exist?

In this article, I will answer those questions to provide a better understanding of certification.
I  am constantly educating myself on an active basis to stay up with technology, trends and changes in cyber technology as it evolves and changes to adapt and improve. This helps me in my chosen career to:

  • perform it efficiently 
  • effectively 
  • accurately 
  • quickly address a situation.

But, I ended up unemployed and needed a new job. On my resume, I presented myself and the skills I had, but I needed to show there was non-repudiation with my resume and that it was accurate.

The whole concept and intent of certification is to provide non-repudiation that you have studied and learned the foundations and have the academic knowledge in a field and that your knowledge is current.
Going to College is the traditional way to do this with focused study in order to get a degree relating to the field of knowledge you concentrated on, but as time progresses you need a way to show that your knowledge is still valid as the subject matter changes in how it is used and applied.

However, just having a certification and hands-on experience in the subject matter is now a popular way to prove you are knowledgeable in any given field of study. Without having attended college. 

This is what certification does, as most certifications are only valid until a set date. That  forces you to get them renewed as a way to affirm you are abreast of changes in the field as they apply to current applications, proving you still possess the ability to efficiently, effectively, accurately, and quickly address a given situation.

It shows that the proverb "Use it or Lose it" has not occurred and that you still have the knowledge on a field to perform the needed tasks. If you have stayed abreast of changes in your field of study then the re-certification will be easy. If you haven't it forces you to update your knowledge.

Certifications can also be enhanced by getting an additional certification that complements the ones you already have. This is a way to show that you have expanded your education with an accredited document.

Often when a company is looking to hire someone, they will specify what they require of an applicant and require proof that they have the necessary skills for the job they are seeking employment in. Usually, they will want either a college degree relating to the position -OR- prior experience with certifications to show that they have the required academic knowledge.

In the case of a Trade, an apprenticeship is done in order for someone to acquire the skills they need, which results in certification at completion.

In professions such as Lawyer, Doctor, Nurse, Barbour, Accountant and numerous others, there is a formal certification required before they can legally practice in the field.

Going back to my own situation, I have been in the Information Technology field with the same company for 24 years. You may think going into IT after serving in the military and attending college to obtain a degree in Automotive Technology would be totally unrelated to Information Technology, but Embedded Systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a part of Automobiles.

Embedded Systems is a technology that makes use of computers to enhance and improve the functioning of devices instead of just relying on mechanical means. IoT provides a way to communicate with an embedded system to change the way it works and provides the ability to update the firmware to improve upon performance and functions. Since I had that education, I have had an interest in computers and hands-on experience going back to the '70s.

During my tenure with my previous employer, I had obtained the accreditation and certifications I needed so when I had performance reviews, I could affirm that I was staying proficient and was meeting all of my projected goals. They didn't require any continual re-certification so most of the certifications I received I let elapse. When the time came to prove my abilities with certifications I couldn't. All I could present was on the job experience. I had gotten the CompTIA A+ and had kept that current. I had also gotten certified to do warranty repair and kept that current. Accreditation from Experts Exchange confirming my knowledge in Microsoft products was also a plus.

But as I looked at the job market I found many potential employers looking to hire in my field of interest were looking for the CompTIA Security + Certification. I knew I had the hands-off knowledge in that area, meaning I had addressed issues relating to it without any formal training, but with just my analytical skills to obtain the information, I needed to resolve a presented scenario.

So I set a goal for myself to study the academic material I needed to get the CompTIA Security and get certified. I was able to achieve that within 30 days. So I now have that certification to provide to a potential employer I might seek employment with, along with my years of job experience to get employment.

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Wesley MillerInformation Technology Practitioner
CERTIFIED EXPERT
I Have 24 Years of Experience. Comptia A+ and Security + Certified, Have  Microsoft MCP.
Am a  USAF Veteran.
1
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Comments (1)

This is a wonderful constructive perspective, this helps me to keep pushing towards my goal to become certified with the CompTIA Sec+

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