Guest Author - Brandi Brown
Professional certifications can be expensive and time consuming. While additional letters after your name or lines to your resume are appealing, before deciding whether to devote money, time, and energy to the project consider whether the certification will fill a need in your life.
Will my company pay for it?
If your company will pay for a certification that is directly related to your job, fit it into your schedule if possible! This situation is the most clearly defined. Get the certification if someone else is footing the bill.
Is it likely to help me in my current job?
Some companies offer clear paths of promotion for employees who earn specific skills. Someone hired as a staff accountant but who earns a CPA license after a year on the job may receive an automatic raise or be eligible for promotions, for instance. Other companies may allow you to make note of certifications during annual reviews but do not directly reward people for them.
Could it help me in a job search?
Perhaps your current employer does not give out raises or promotions for the professional certification you are considering. Other jobs may consider it a bonus in hiring, however. Check job listings for your area or speak to employment agents who specialize in your field. Find out if other employers pay higher starting salaries for people who have this certification or if it is likely to bump you up in the list of candidates applying.
Can it work with a career transition?
Someone who is a software developer today may want to be an IT project manager or even Chief Technology Officer in the future. Some certifications may be useful for that plan for an eventual career transition while others are less versatile. Find out now what type of professional certification people who are in the role you hope to fill in the future have.
Do you want it for personal satisfaction?
Itís okay to say yes! Sometimes we have goals that are ours for reasons that are not entirely explainable to anyone else. If achieving this certain goal means that you will feel more satisfied in your life in some way, go for it with the knowledge that itís not about making more money or getting a promotion for you as long as the dream fits within your budget.