The IT world is always changing, which means that IT professionals need to continue earning new certifications to stay current. However, it can be difficult for IT professionals who are already busy working at their jobs or with their families. More certifications now require regular continuing education or recertification. The continual evolution of technology means that certification programs are also in a constant state of flux, with antiquated credentials being replaced by newer ones. This raises an intriguing question: “How can we keep up with these changes?”
MyComputerCareer is an Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET). This accredited organization specializes in training and preparing both IT professionals and newcomers to earn or keep their top IT certifications up-to-date. We provide training for both introductory and advanced certifications in Information Technology from reputable organizations such as Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco, Linux, and EC-Council.
That said, this article will discuss how IT certificate owners can keep up-to-date by either recertifying by retaking the exams or earning Continuing Education credits.
The Ever-Changing Face of IT Certifications
It’s important that people don’t fool themselves into believing that earning a certification in Information Technology will be a one-time affair. With a few exceptions, such as Windows Fundamentals certifications, which are for life, most other certifications from reputable providers such as Cisco or CompTIA have expiration dates. Since the IT industry is constantly changing and evolving, these expiration dates ensure that IT professionals are always up-to-date on the latest technologies.
IT certifications, then, need to be seen as something that is continually earned and maintained. This means taking steps such as recertifying by retaking the exams or earning Continuing Education credits. It also means constantly achieving new certifications to keep up with the changing IT landscape.
For those who have invested a lot of time and money into earning their certifications, working towards keeping them up-to-date is very important for several reasons:
- First, having current IT certifications demonstrates to potential employers that one’s skills are relevant in today’s IT world instead of being outdated by two or three years.
- Second, it shows that one has kept up with changes in IT technologies since obtaining the certification originally.
- Thirdly, it ensures proper alignment between job requirements and personal knowledge base, so there are no surprises on either side when hiring managers interview prospective employees.
- Lastly, maintaining an IT certification portfolio can help increase credibility within their field, leading them to new professional paths they were not previously pursuing.
An IT certification’s average “shelf life” is three years, with some lasting more while others are less. Regardless, cert owners need to ensure that their efforts do not go to waste.
What Are Your Recertification Options?
To keep their IT certifications up-to-date, professionals have several options. Depending on the circumstances, some of these options might be more appealing than others:
A. Retake the Exam
This is the most straightforward option for recertifying IT certifications. Candidates simply need to register for, schedule, and take the relevant exam(s) again to recertify. This can be done at any time, either before or after the expiration date. And while candidates have this flexibility, retaking the same exam can be seen as a waste of time, money, and energy. This is especially true in light of the other options available.
B. Earn Continuing Education Credits
Some IT certifications will let you recertify by earning continuing education credits in different areas of IT, such as for cloud computing and security topics, among others. These can be acquired through many free sources online, attending seminars, or taking relevant classes, among other similar options. However, this option can be somewhat time-consuming and unrealistic, especially for those who already have a lot on their plate.
For example, most CompTIA and Cisco certifications last three years and can both be renewed with between 20 to up to 120 CE credits, depending on their complexity. These credits need to be earned throughout the duration of the certification’s availability for it to remain valid for another three years.
C. Earn Multiple Certifications That Build Upon One Another
Another way of maintaining your IT certifications is to continually earn new ones as you go along without ever letting any old ones expire. For example, you can keep your Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification by earning one of the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) specialty examinations.
This has the benefit of being time-efficient since candidates won’t have to retake the same exams or do other activities before their current certification expires. Nevertheless, this option still requires learning to pass an examination, but it’s nowhere as redundant as the first option in this list.
For IT professionals who do not want to be restricted by the typical three-year expiration of certifications, earning multiple IT certs at once is a great solution. However, it should only be done if candidates are willing to put in the necessary financial resources required as well as take on more responsibilities that come with maintaining this type of certification portfolio since they are usually quite advanced, requiring many years of experience under one’s belt.
Keeping a Certification Calendar
As time goes on, IT professionals may hold an extensive certification portfolio. And while this is an excellent way to boost one’s career opportunities, it can make it a bit more difficult to keep track of all recertification requirements and expiration dates. A certification calendar is a great way of staying on top of IT certifications. This means that the IT professional needs to create a calendar with all IT certification due dates, recertification requirements, and Continuing Education credit information. This way, they will not wake up one day realizing that they’re no longer certified. A certification calendar also has the added benefit that it makes it easier to keep track of IT certifications that have been earned, IT exams taken, and IT certification credentials achieved.
Maintaining IT certifications can seem daunting, but it does not have to be. There are many different ways of recertifying and staying up-to-date with changing IT trends. The key is finding the option that best suits your needs and schedule. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by creating a certification calendar! It will keep IT certifications from slipping your mind and help IT professionals keep track of due dates.
Together with MyComputerCareer, you will receive the right training for some of the top certifications in the IT industry. For more information on IT certification preparedness, contact us at your earliest convenience!