Now that the annual salary surveys are out and have been digested, it seems that 2015 is rife with opportunity for IT pros with mobile, security, big data and cloud experience and skills. As the business leaders drive strategic decisions to invest in these areas, it’s up to the staff to acquire—through training, certification or new hires—the necessary tools and talent to execute the company’s vision.
So if you’re sitting in your cube, drinking your coffee and contemplating change—be it a promotion or new position with your current employer or a new employer—keep in mind that you need to have the skills the market demands. And increasingly, the market is demanding proof of what you know and can do beyond your resume and cover letter. So, the question is ‘what is the best investment in my future’?
The decision to take on training and certification seems binary. However, when you look at the factors: time, money and maintenance, the decision gets a lot harder. Here are a few simple questions that will help you determine the right path for you:
- Does your current job require training or certification on a specific tool or technology? Will this training and certification help you advance your career?
- Have your interests switched and you find yourself wanting to work in a new specialty?
- Are you looking for ways to make your resume stand out?
- Check to see what your employer will pay for when it comes to training and continuing education.
- Look at job boards to see what companies require for your target job—even if you aren’t looking to switch employers. The industry insight will make for a better-informed decision.
- Do you have the qualifications to skip the lower-level certifications? Keep in mind that if you’re switching specialties, the lead-in cert may be necessary.
- What learning solution is best for you? Are you more comfortable in a classroom or does your schedule demand online or self-directed study? Technological advances mean that now the classroom can come to you.