Home > Articles > The Top 10 Problems with IT Certification in 2008

The Top 10 Problems with IT Certification in 2008

  • Date: Mar 14, 2008.


  1. Reasons 1–5
  2. Reasons 6–10

Article Description

Less than 10 years ago, certification was a surefire way to enter the growing IT sector. But certification no longer guarantees that you will be able to find a high quality job in IT. It still has its place, but the IT certification industry has faced some systemic problems that no one has addressed since its emergence. Warren Wyrostek calls on personal and real-world experience to share the top 10 problems with IT certification in 2007/2008.

Like this article? We recommend

IT Career Builder's Toolkit, The

IT Career Builder's Toolkit, The


6. Degree vs. Certification vs. Experience

There is still tension in the market over the value/need for a degree versus the need for a certification versus the need for experience. The battle rages on with absolutely no resolution.

Because certifications have been devalued, what is really needed when you want to apply for a job in IT? A degree? If so, which degree covering which disciplines?

Many universities offer the CIS or MIS degree. But when it comes to running an enterprise environment, don’t you need to know a bit more than what is offered in the CIS or MIS programs to administer a multi-platform/application environment?

Nevertheless, most advertisements require a degree. What about the folks like me who came up when the CIS or MIS were not even on the radar? How many Master’s degrees does a person need to get a job? Academics look down on certifications, yet they require numerous certifications when they are hiring staff to support their infrastructures.

I have several former students who have Master’s-level degrees and no certifications. They ask me which certs to get so that they can get a good job; they cannot find one with just an MIS.

So how do we assess a person’s skills and experience? Maybe there should be a balance between certifications, education, and experience. What about the person who has no degree, has no certs, but has 20 years’ experience and could write most of the books except s/he is too busy running the enterprise 24/7?

The answer is that the degree wins in 2007/08, which puts those with certifications and/or experience at a distinct disadvantage.

7. HR People Are Not In Touch with the Real World

HR people, including headhunters/recruiters, give no guidance and do nothing to help the situation in IT. In fact, most just muddy the waters by asking for a laundry list of certifications that are completely other-worldly.

I have met no one who meets a majority of the requirements that most HR folks list on IT jobs.

  • Some want no part of certifications.
  • Some "demand" the most up-to-date certifications.
  • Others want it all.

This leads to complete confusion when planning a course of action if someone wants to enter IT through the certification path. If I were coming into IT now and looked at some of the unrealistic certification criteria required for entry-level jobs, I would find another way to make a living. It is discouraging.

8. Budget Cuts

Cuts have killed training dollars—and consequently the certification market—because it costs money to get certified. So unless you bypass the training with brain dumps, you will not entertain certification as a viable path because training is not available.

Additionally most employers will not train their folks toward certification because of the fear of losing their investment. When people get certified, they start looking for greener pastures. Employers are gun-shy, especially in times of budget cuts.

9. Glut of Certified People

This one should probably be higher in the list. But it is a major reason for the waning interest in certification. There are just too many certified IT folks—those that know what they are doing and the paper certs who have killed the market.

Simple supply and demand. When the supply goes up, the demand goes down. There has to be a way to weed out those who have killed the market.

If the supply were not as high, the demand and wages would improve.

10. No One Knows Which Certs Matter

No one really knows which certs you need to get a job, to get a foot in the door, and to prove that you know your stuff, while not scaring people off.

In short:

  • No one knows how many certs you need.
  • No one knows which certs have value today.

Until those two points are addressed, people get fed up and move onto to another path. If a guru could tell you to get this cert and you will get a good job, you would be all over it. But those days are over for many of the reasons previously mentioned. Will one cert do it for you or do you have to have 10 or 20?

The best advice I can give you at this point is to assess what the environments are using in your geographical area and what the demand is. Then look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself whether that is what you want to do. If you have passion for it, get the needed certs.


So we have problems. Significant problems. I would not give up on certification. In the next article I will outline a strategy I would take if I were starting out now and wanted to go the certification route in 2007–2008.

Then I will outline my solution to the problems with IT Certification: A New Program that revisits what now exists but presents it in a new package. It does not address all the problems, but the majority of them are put in their place, and I don’t have to tear the building down to renovate the kitchen.

Stay tuned.

I look forward to your comments and e-mails. You can reach me at: wyrostekw@msn.com or through http://www.3wscertification.com.

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020