There are many ways to get any of the large number of network certifications now available. There's not only software certification like those offered from Oracle, Java, Microsoft, etc. but there's also direct network hardware certifications from strong companies like Cisco and then there's the server administration, hardware repair, security and several sub category type certifications. All are available but the question is if these have any real value in the marketplace.
The answer, unfortunately is not simple. This is because while many companies demand a certain certification, they will also bend the requirement and allow you to get certified once you have the job. There's also people in the marketplace who are strong proponents of certification or another. The reason for this is usually because they have that certification and by requiring it, they somehow believe it validates their decision to obtain the training and pass the tests.
The reality is that like a good resume and education pedigree, certifications help get you in the door. Think about it for a moment. If you were hiring a network administrator, you would probably ask for the usually experience and basic education and some type of networking certification. If 100 people claiming the same skills and experiences levels all apply and all have at least the single required certification while 10 have not only the network cert but also maybe several MS and a security certificate, which candidates applying would probably get scheduled for interviews? Right! It would be the ones with the better paper qualifications.
So the value of a certification can be measured by it's recognition as important by employers, and the relative value they place on such training. If you're applying in network shops that value certifications, then they will naturally place a premium on the fact that your have that training and will probably reflect that in an increased earnings range.
The real key however is to recognize that employers are NOT employing you because you have a certification. You must have the skills necessary to do the job and meet the requirements of the position. No amount of certifications can make up for a strong work ethic and solid experience. With today's study materials, almost anyone can learn enough to pass the required tests and become certified. This however does not make anyone competent to work on a network anymore than walking into a garage makes one a mechanic. It's skills, talent and knowledge that are truly desired.
Microsoft Certifications are one of the most widely pursued and acclaimed professional certifications in the IT industry. Preparing MS certification tests, however, is a significant undertaking whether you're just out of college or have been in IT field for years. IT professionals are continuously demanded to acquire new knowledge in order to perform well on their jobs as new technology in the IT industry emerged at a pace that has never been seen before. Regardless what certifications (Microsoft Certified Professional or MCP, Microsoft Certified System Administrator or MCSA, Microsoft Certified System Engineer or MCSE ) you are pursuing, a thorough planning will increase the chance of success.
The importance of hands-on Experience, no matter if it's your own little network at home or at your job, experience matters! Being able to apply the knowledge gained by the study necessary to obtain your certification is just as important as the exam itself.
When preparing for any certification test, have a network available to physically learn the principles being taught. You network might only be a couple of old PC's and a switch but it's enough to understand the principles and basic information. You gain valuable skills that cannot be obtained any other way except through hands on work.
Finally, consider using CBT's or computer based training as part of your test preparation. These tools are a great way to take your level of understanding to a new level. This is also true of practice exams.
If you develop the skills necessary to support the certifications, all your training, costs and effort will pay off handsomely. With your knowledge and training, you can expect to be have an easier time getting considered for positions, moving up in a company, and enjoying a solid work career.
Abigail Franks writes on many subjects having to do with home, and Business. For more information on Network Certification go to