A Microsoft certification (or several) is one of the most prestigious professional credentials a person in the tech industry can obtain. It can make the difference between getting a promotion or landing a job over another candidate; basically, it makes you a lot more marketable.

However, it’s a lot of work. Some compare it to preparing for a state bar exam. If you’re in the industry and on the fence, it’s worth checking out what some experts with certifications have to say about the perks.

“A six-figure salary since I was 35,” is one of the big reasons Jason Zandri says it’s worth it. As a systems engineer, he’s had about ten years on a lucrative salary, but boasts only a GED: in other words, no high school diploma or college degree.

Plus, with the online training courses, it’s easier than ever to prep for exams while holding down a full-time job. Peter De Tender, infrastructure architect, cites these trainings as the reason he moved into partner from “just” an engineer.

Move up the ranks

It’s no secret that it’s still an employer’s job market, so you need to bring something more to the table when you’re hunting for a job. Jim Finder, a senior systems engineer, says “Certification changed my life…. [I]t seems to have taken my career to a whole new level.”

With an insane tech job market, especially in Silicon Valley, you need to stand out. This can get tougher with each passing year, since the tech industry notoriously leans toward hiring young.

Curt McNamee, active directory engineer, says, “My life has many more possibilities with my certifications attached to my resume.” He says it helps him “stand out from the crowd,” and provides a little job security along with higher salary offers.

But there’s more to certification than better pay and better jobs. It just might feed your passion, too.

Need vs. want

If you’re struggling to find a job, worry about job security, or haven’t been able to go beyond a certain salary level, you may need certification. Others simply want it. IT consultant Michael Blumenthal says, “I hunger for knowledge, and that level of access to the product team and the product internals is appealing.”

You don’t have to stop learning after graduation. The importance of continuing education, especially in IT where everything’s constantly changing, helps keep you sharp and engaged.

If you’ve been thinking about a certification course, why not take the leap? Your employer might even help pay for it, which is like scoring that free-ride elusive scholarship from your college days.


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