Education and training are important, but a professional certification demonstrates your commitment and proves your proficiency. The top graduate from the best law school can't get paid for chasing an ambulance until he or she passes a bar exam. Likewise, a PhD from the top accounting school can't count a real bean for a paying customer until he or she passes the CPA exam.
There's nothing like a professional certification to change the focus during an interview from whether you can do a particular job to other concerns, such as softer skills or, even better, your salary requirements and start date.
Which certifications are best for you and your goals? There are dozens of professional certifications in networking and related skills. Pursuing the wrong one is a waste of your time. Pursuing them all is impractical and a waste of your time.
This chapter gives you some background on certifications and provides you with enough information to help you determine which certifications will be most beneficial to your career aspirations.
Planning for a Certification
When determining which certification to pursue first, consider the following factors,: