How to choose the right certification for you

Atti Polokwane: How to choose the right certification for you

Just like any big decision, thinking about what certification to pursue can get overwhelmingly nerve-wracking. With so many programs to choose from, choosing the right one is never a walk in the park. Each certification requires a great deal of commitment and time, as well as basic skills that you need to constantly hone.

If you’re not well-attuned to how certifications work, it might get harder for you to settle on a decision. Fortunately, here at Atti Polokwane, we will give you a comprehensive guide on how to make the correct choices. Continue reading below!

Why are certifications important?

Before we proceed to give you tips on selecting the most suitable certification for you, let’s discuss first why they are important in the first place. 

At some point, you’ve probably heard of opinions that underestimate certifications. In a world of college degrees and doctorate qualifications, why would someone opt for something that can only be completed within months? Over the years, many have expressed their scepticisms about the value of certifications, making them miss out on something relevant.

Since various industries are becoming more cutthroat, certifications can help you gain a competitive advantage over other candidates. In the process, you gain professional credibility that a degree cannot give you. It means that you’ve taken the time to focus on a specific skill that can both be beneficial to you and the company. 

Moreover, individuals that have certifications receive better salaries. For example, in the IT industry, a candidate with six or more IT certifications earns more than the ones who don’t possess any. The more certifications that you have, the more you’ll be paid by your employer. 

This also means that searching for jobs will become a lot easier. When you have a certification, it will help you stand out in the hiring process. Most employers look for candidates that have a specific degree of skills that only a certification can provide.

On the other hand, certifications do not only provide value to individuals, but to organizations as well. When a certain company provides someone with training services, it helps them fill the skills gap in their workforce. As a result, employees are more likely to stay in the company since they feel fulfilled and focused.

Now that you’ve understood how certifications can positively impact your career, here are some tips to begin your decision making:

Know your goals

Before choosing a certification, you need to know what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you want to earn more money since you want to save for retirement. Or maybe you’re looking to advance your career and develop your skill set to keep up with the changes in your industry. It’s also valid that you just want to learn something new, helping you expand your knowledge in a certain field. 

Whatever your goal is, it will serve as the foundation of your chosen certification. For example, if you want a better job that pays well as an IT professional, you should opt for top-paying certifications. This includes MCSE: Windows Server, CompTIA Security+ and Microsoft Certified, among others. 

However, if you’re focused more on building your skills, you must choose a program that offers progressive certificates. If you want to be a subject matter expert, you can apply for programs with recently updated training.

Focus on your interests

Focusing on your interests when choosing a certification can help you pick the right path. This is to avoid you from sleeping on training or getting disinterested in the whole thing that you’re tempted to stop. 

Remember that this isn’t college where you can just simply wing it and still pass your subjects. Certification programs are a lot stricter than normal university classes since they are more skill-oriented, so you have to do better!

This is why you need to choose something that you’re willing to invest in, especially when it comes to time and money. If the training does not keep you curious, you’re unlikely to learn anything valuable. Most certifications also offer specialized sub-fields, allowing you to choose something that piques your interest.

Do some research

To know if a certification suits your interests or passion, make sure that you do your homework. Don’t just apply for a program just because you can. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, carefully consider each of them. Know what is expected of you once you sign up for the program so you can plan ahead.

Keep in mind that not every certification is created in the same manner. For example, some of them only last for six months, while others can take you two years to complete. You can read reviews online, study the whole program and visit forums for people who are on the same journey as you.

In this way, you’d know how much time and resources you should invest to finish a certification. This is especially important when you have other commitments to pursue, helping you avoid conflicts in the future. 

Establish long-term goals

No matter what certification you pick, always think about the future. Don’t just obtain one certification, but pursue more to further increase your employability. So, after passing a certification exam, plan about your next one. 

Moreover, you need to know if you need to be recertified. Although most certifications do not expire, some will require you recertification. In case you opt for a program that obliges you to be recertified, establish a detailed plan on how you can maintain your credentials and track your progress.

For example, the Project Management Professional certification is only valid for three years. Meaning to say, to sustain your qualifications, you have to undergo 60 professional development units (PDUs) to renew your certification.

In-demand certifications of 2021

Because there are several certifications out there, we understand that it might be hard for you to choose what you truly want. However, some of them are more recognized by employers, companies and organizations. This means that if you have the specific certification they are looking for, you’re more likely to get hired among the candidates.

So, to make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of the most in-demand certifications that you need to apply for. Here are some of them:

Human resources job certifications

Although this is not a requirement for most employers, having certifications like Professional in Human Resources (PHR) will make candidates perform better in the HR field. 

Recruiters are more focused on how you’re willing to advance your skills since your job is not to be taken lightly. You will hire, recruit, interview and guide onboarding new employees, putting so much responsibility on your shoulders.

Sales certifications

When you are a sales professional, you constantly face the ever-growing demands of the market. You should know what makes the customers tick, what interests them and how you can convince them that a product is worth buying. 

Even though you can hone your sales skills mostly from experience, having formal training can give you leverage. Having a sales certification shows an employer that your selling skills are backed by learnings straight from the experts. 

Project management certifications

Anyone can be a project manager, but having the proper training to become one is an advantage. When you’ve obtained a project management certification, employers will be convinced that you’re equipped with leadership skills. You can approach projects with better organization, finish them on time with ease and manage others efficiently.

Desktop analysis/helpdesk certifications

This certification may not get you a high-paying position, but if you’re applying for an entry-level job in the IT industry, this is your best bet. It’s a good starting point to enhance your skills in troubleshooting issues with desktop computers and hardware. Also, make sure that you apply for an A+ certification!

Skilled trade certifications

Some people do not prefer to sit in front of a computer all day, that’s why they choose trade careers. This includes carpentry, welding, plumber and HVAC technician, among others. 

When you are in this field, you’re more likely to earn higher if you have a certification. To fully learn your trade, you will undergo an apprenticeship. After that, they proceed to take an exam to obtain a journeyman certification for a better salary. 

Moreover, trade certifications are cheaper and less time-consuming than other programs. Aside from that, now that older people are looking for retirement, lots of trade work is waiting for you.

Other examples include:

  • Locksmith
  • Mechanical installer
  • Auto mechanic
  • Electrician
  • Carpet installer
  • Steam engineer
  • Asbestos worker
  • Line installer and repairer

Knowing what certification to choose may seem hard, but if you know yourself well enough, you’re off to a great start. All you have to do is map out a clearer career path—something that you’re willing to pursue no matter how challenging things can get.

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