Are IT certifications worth bigger salaries?

WASHINGTON — Information technology professionals tout their certifications, but there is a disconnect between bosses and employees when it comes to what they’re worth — at least when it comes to pay.

TEKSystems, an IT staffing firm based in Hanover, Maryland, says just 31 percent of leaders factor certifications into salary compensation — a reflection that IT leaders view the value of certification to be interwoven with job performance. But 50 percent of professionals believe that the number of individual certifications should be taken into account in salary compensation.

“Employers and IT professionals are not on the same page when it comes to the impact a certification has on salary,” said Jason Hayman, lead research analyst at TEKSystems. “While a certification might get an IT professional in the door, it doesn’t necessarily provide for higher compensation.”

There also is some concern about whether certifications are honestly reported or verified.

TEKSystems says only 26 percent of IT leaders either always or often verify certifications, and only 52 percent of IT professionals surveyed said they always or often represent their certifications accurately on their resumes.

“That might be the most alarming finding from the study. About half of companies rarely if ever verify certification claims and only about half of IT professionals admit certifications are always accurately represented on their resume.,” Hayman said.

TEK Systems says the combination of those two findings points to a staggeringly high percentage of organizations potentially exposed to “certification inflation” during the vetting process.

And what exactly do certifications mean?

“Organizations need to keep in mind that a certification might prove knowledge, but it does prove competency. It is their responsibility to trust but verify that a candidate has the skills and competencies to do the job,” Hayman said.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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