Dice Learning has released a list of the top 10 technology certifications it says help IT workers command higher salaries. A survey of 17,000 technology professionals conducted in January yielded the list, but also found that only 30 percent of respondents attributed an increase in salary to obtaining a certification.
Here's the Top 10 list:
I spoke with Dice Learning Director Evan Lesser about the survey, but he was unable to add much substance to the list. He couldn't say, for example, by what percentage salaries were boosted, on average, for each certification. Lesser did say that the survey results indicate that certifications are gaining ground as a differentiator in the tight IT job market:
What's interesting that came out is the fact that for a number of years, people were trying to debate the value of certifications, but now that the job market is starting to turn around for IT professionals, the competition for the jobs that are coming back is pretty stiff. What we've seen, and what we've heard from job seekers, is that having a certification is an additional check on the resume, something that can help you get your foot in the door for some of these new positions that are finally opening. The competition for those positions is going to be considerable, considering the unemployment in the IT market. So I think the value of a certification is probably changing over time, and heading to be a little bit more positive than it might have been in the past.
When I've written about this topic in the past, I've been deluged with e-mails from readers whose experience is that certifications aren't worth the paper they're written on. I've already gotten an earful about my editorial in which I argued in favor of organizations ensuring that they maintain a commitment to IT certifications.
"Generally, these classes are offered by companies whose interest is gettin' 'em in and turnin' 'em out," with an instructor who's "rarely articulate enough to lecture on the subject and resorts to reading from the book," one reader wrote. "My experience in the workplace has taught me that certifications hanging on an office wall are meaningless."
"It is possible to create [certification] programs that generate workers with applicable skills, but that requires more than a series of book questions to be coughed up from memory," another reader wrote. "Certification needs to verify the ability to think and do," not the ability to successfully eliminate answers to multiple-choice questions. "I test well, but that rarely shows I deeply know a thing."
According to Lesser, all of that is changing. Does your experience support that contention?