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What is the "it" certification in IT right now?
March 14, 2013 6:04 AM   Subscribe

My SO has a degree in IT and Computing but he has not been working for 2.5 years (combination of travel, language studying, and personal things). He has recently started job hunting but feels he is lacking in the certification department. Most jobs near us seem to want Oracle certification. Is it worth doing an Oracle course? Or is there something else (perhaps something up-and-coming) that he should look into? With a gap on his CV he is worried he is unemployable.

We live in Dubai and he is looking for IT (or related) work here. He is willing to take (a) course(s) for 1-3 months if it will help him land a job.
posted by Small Pockets to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hard to say.

There are a ton of certifications, but they're only useful if there are jobs that are advertising.

I'm a Salesforce.com Administrator, but I'm not certified. When I've applied for jobs, I always include in my cover letter what types of tasks and projects I've done and I say, "Although I'm not certified at this time, if it's required for the position I can become certified." It's never been an issue.

So apply for jobs where the skill set is there, and simply mention that while you don't have that particular certification, that you have the skill set for X, Y and Z. Also mention that you're more than willing to become certified within X months of being hired should that be required.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:30 AM on March 14, 2013


IMHO, the "it" subjects these days are security-related. There are certs that are product-specific (Cisco firewalls, for example) and then there the much more rigorous credentials like CISSP and GIAC. There's a decent punchlist of them here.
posted by jquinby at 6:47 AM on March 14, 2013


If there's a single IT sub-field that's short of workers, it's the catch-all "Cloud services," but that generally means less structured cabling and other Layer 1 stuff, more network management, unless he works in a data center, in which case it includes cabling too. Knowing that is more helpful in terms of where to look for work, not what sort of jobs they need, because they'll need all the jobs.

Second is probably security, but then again, I got that from my friend in that field. CISSP would be the core cert to go for on that.

For an quick-and-easy way to potentially stand out, there's always CPCT, the Certified Premises Cabling Technician certification, if he's into cableporn (subreddit not only SFW, but potentially informative for work). Check out those sexy patch cables with their drip-loops.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:55 AM on March 14, 2013


then there the much more rigorous credentials like CISSP

Funniest thing I've read all day. Look, the CISSP, while being _the_ cert, is hardly rigorous. Inch deep and mile wide is entirely what's happening with it. GIAC on the other hand? Entirely worth it.

What is your SO's background? The last thing we need in security is another person with the wrong skillset for it trying to hop on some theoretical gravy train. Get certs that compliment your existing skillset, or you're going to end up terminated once an employer figures out that all you have is the paper.
posted by bfranklin at 7:07 AM on March 14, 2013


PMP certification.
Good demand, and low supply of candidates.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:29 AM on March 14, 2013


Funniest thing I've read all day. Look, the CISSP, while being _the_ cert, is hardly rigorous. Inch deep and mile wide is entirely what's happening with it. GIAC on the other hand? Entirely worth it.

I don't disagree with your sentiment, but I think the CISSP does go farther for getting past a HR filter than anything else in IT security. I've taken a few SANS courses but never really felt compelled to get the certifications there, even though the content is far and away more useful than my CISSP prep.

Again though, this is security-specific. "IT certs" is about as broad as "I work in IT". His background and interests in the IT field will be a driving factor on any further training and certification.
posted by hey you over in the corner at 7:29 AM on March 14, 2013


The single best broad certification that someone can have as a generalist is VCP,(vmware) as a baseline unless you are specialized in your skill set (network, security, j2ee, oracle, sap, etc).

The VCP is a baseline though, really you should be looking at a VCAP-DCA or DCD.

Oracle certification is worth it if you have work history to go with it, for example I cannot find for the life of me, anyone with ATG experience and/or certification. Getting an Oracle cert locks you in to a specific product line.

Beyond the above, I highly suggest some training in Opscode Chef and/or Puppet. Those are two incredibly and immediately marketable skills that nearly everyone is chasing. They also translate to multiple industries and sectors.
posted by iamabot at 7:46 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thought many times about getting the CISSP, but my main problem with it is that I've met a lot of CISSPs who left me deeply unimpressed (as far as technical knowledge or basic competence goes). I think its main value is as an HR checkbox, as hey you over there in the corner suggests. It is not meaningful at all as a technical certification.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 7:51 AM on March 14, 2013


I can't speak to an "it" certification, but as I've commented multiple times, my husband has had great success with Cisco network certifications (CCNA and CCNP). He did have experience in telecom, but within two years of beginning the process he moved from his entry-level "I just want a job near my girlfriend" job to being the go-to network engineer when the national VP is in town. Doubled his salary in a year.

He works with many other technologies, but the Cisco certifications are what got him noticed and promoted. A CCNA is great because you can use it to springboard to security, etc. CCNA and CCNP are pretty general, and Cisco offers a bunch of other "tracks" (including security, etc.) that branch off.

More than anything, though, your husband needs to just get back into the industry and figure out what his area of interest/expertise is. He should take an entry level job and learn as much as he can, keeping his eyes open at every step. That will help him breeze through his certifications as he applies them to his work, and vice versa.

If he finds something that he likes, or is good at, that will do so much more for his career than just pounding questions into his head.
posted by Madamina at 9:06 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I concur about the CCNA - it's the only certificate I went for and got about 10 years ago. I've long since moved out of hands-on networking, so I haven't kept it up. I took a series of classes from Learning Tree, and then sat for the exam. I hadn't been that nervous for a test since college.
posted by jquinby at 1:10 PM on March 14, 2013


Disclaimer: These articles are written by people in the business of selling you more certifications. I personally feel that most certs don't really teach you much, but for many employers they can help you get a job. I work for VMware, so I think our stuff is *way* more interesting than the Microsoft & Cisco stuff. I've known folks working on virtualization/cloud projects in Dubai, so I think the work is out there. YMMV with interest & skill level of course.
posted by troyer at 2:22 PM on March 14, 2013


Woops. The certs on that first link are really PMP, CISSP, MCSD, MCDBA, CCDA, MCAD, VCP-DV, CNE, ITILv3, CCA, MCITP, MCTS, MCT, CCNP, CCNA -- but you get the general drift.
posted by troyer at 2:36 PM on March 14, 2013


Become an Agile/Scrum master.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:26 AM on March 15, 2013


CISSP isn't 100% technical, it includes things like policy determinations and management practices. There are many PMP / management types that get it as well. I expect it to go down in value as it's now a major requirement to have for DoD Directive 8570.1 and, at least in DC, there are many bootcamps pushing it.

For OP, if oracle jobs are plentiful, then oracle certs are useful. I'd also suggest Vmware / MCSE as they have broad applicability - Microsoft is everywhere and vmware skills easily transfer to other virtuialization platforms like xen or hyper-V. I'd avoid specialties like CISSP and CCNA unless he's interested in moving into security or network areas long term.

>If there's a single IT sub-field that's short of workers, it's the catch-all "Cloud services,"

just please don't call it "cloud" unless you're a management visionary. PaaS, IaaS, SaaS all mean very different things and interact with existing systems (technical, management, regulatory) in very different ways. Being able to intelligently speak to those differences would be an advantage.
posted by anti social order at 8:38 AM on March 15, 2013


I can't speak to his particular job situation, but he should probably address his unemployment briefly in the cover letter. Something along the lines of "after taking a few years off of my career to spend time with my family, I am looking for a challenging position that blah blah blah" (Ruthless Bunny you are always better at wording these things!). Also if he has been working on any projects or doing volunteer work in his field, he should mention that. Anything to indicate that his skills haven't atrophied. And if he does get a certification or take a class or whatever, he should mention in the CL that he did that recently.
posted by radioamy at 9:26 AM on March 15, 2013


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