Like anything else, getting a technical certification may be achieved by approaching it correctly or not. Here are the top certification mistakes one should avoid.
1. Doing a “hot” certification which is popular, rather than something you love doing. Many people getting into IT field want to pursue a certification based on its perceived popularity at the moment.
This is a bad strategy. For one thing, an area that’s hot right now might melt like a glacier in six months. These trends are impossible to predict. Another reason would be that you simply not enjoy performing a job your certification is in. People tend to do well when they enjoy what they are doing, and when people do well, they get recognized, regardless of whether the area is current trend or not. Find a certification that will help you enhance your current skills or develop new ones in areas that interest you.
Use a tool such as uCertify’s CertAdvisor to help you make the right certification choice.
2. Not getting enough experience first. Hiring managers have gotten more sophisticated about technical certifications over the years. When they see a certification, they wonder if a job candidate has the required experience. That’s because some credentialed job-seekers try and use the certification as a substitute for experience.
Remember: there is no substitute for experience. Start at a low level if you’re just getting into IT, such as working at a help desk or working for free helping out local charities; anything to get your hands dirty. Then your certification will have more weight, and your chances of getting that next job go up substantially. Certification proves to employers that you are ready and willing to go that extra level for the job.
3. Using only one study method
Books can be helpful certification prep tools. So can simulation labs. So can classroom-based training, and online training.
Don’t confine your preparation methods to just one of these types. Variety is not only the spice of life, but it can kick your certification prep to the next level.
4. Testing before you’re ready
It’s a good idea to not have a hard deadline for getting your certification. You want to be thoroughly prepared for your exams before testing. If you feel you need an extra week or month — or more — be patient and delay your exam. If you don’t have the concepts and hands-on knowledge down cold, it will hurt you on the test. Be patient.
5. Assuming certification will fast-track your career
Some people expect an immediate raise or promotion the moment the ink is dry on their credential. Certifications are one indication of your worthiness as an employee, but there are many others. They include experience, communication skills, ability to be a team player, etc. If you’re not getting ahead the way you think you should be, ask your manager for an honest evaluation of what areas you need to shore up. Certification alone is no guarantee of success.
6. Using a braindump to prepare
Braindumps are unethical to use; it’s no different than getting a test ahead of time in school and regurgitating answers. It’s cheating, plain and simple. In addition, if you don’t understand the material, you will be totally unprepared for your job duties, assuming you manage to get hired.