Many people have this question on their mind - do professional certifications actually have a measurable career payoff? Professional certifications cost hundreds of dollars. And, most of them require a significant investment of time and energy. So, many professionals want to know if pursuing certifications are worth or not?
I believe in learning for lifelong. In most cases, I feel that certifications are indeed very good assets for professionals. But, many people think of professional certifications as a tool for financial gain and try to measure with monetary values. If you have those special letters after your name or some fancy credential on your wall, shouldn't you automatically be in a better position to demand more pay?
Sometimes, yes, but not necessarily.
However, what organization is really paying for is not the certificate itself-it's the value a person can bring to the organization when they have required skills. The certificate just helps the organization to identify those people who can deliver greater value, but the professionals also have to show evidence of that value by performing on job. It cannot happen in real world that you get a certificate and can demand more money immediately. You have to employ those newly learnt skills to achieve more towards organizational goal, and your performance should become an advocate for yourself and your accomplishments. That's how you earn the rewards.
As the trend of online learning is increasing, professional certifications have increased in popularity and prevalence in market. They're much easier to get these days-in some cases, you can do everything from the comfort of your home computer. Hence, it has both a pros and cons for learning. Online certifications are convenient but like you, many other professionals can do it. Thus, it makes holding a certificate less exceptional.
Remember that the name of the certification isn't all that matters, but it does carry some weight along your main skill sets. So, as you're considering investing in a certification program, take a good hard look at the organization behind it. Do you trust them? Are they well known? Do you know others who have participated in the program and found value in it? If the marketing materials focuses more on the sales-pitch and low on learning objectives, be cautious. Many organizations can talk a good game, but then offer little to back it up.
If you're thinking of certification as a quick way to boost your earning potential only, you should think twice. It can help in long run in career. So instead, think of it as an investment for career. Learning of any kind, in my opinion, always pays off in the end.