There’s a need for clarity on what a professional certification is. We’ll tackle this first. A certificate does not equate to a certification. A professional certification is granted by an organization that focuses on regulating a professional field.
The awarding body establishes a strong, credible system of awarding individuals who have demonstrated a set minimum level of competency and experience in a field and have also completed a rigorous evaluation process. While requirements for obtaining certifications may differ, the nature of the processes towards obtaining a professional certification are similar across various fields.
My journey with professional certifications began in 2016. Like a newbie in the market, it was a bit intimidating to prove my skills through a certification exam. At the same time, I was short-sighted as to the many benefits a professional certification could offer in my young career.
Here are a few benefits of obtaining a professional certification, both to the company and an individual:
To protect the public from frauds and organizations from liability
If you are who you say you are, then prove it. That’s one key benefit of certifications. They bring trust and confidence that you’re an expert in your field. Not only can you do the job, but you are professionally certified to do it. Some awarding bodies require adherence to ethical codes of conduct and therefore hold their professionals in high regard.
Maintain a level of quality in knowledge, skill sets and service delivery
Professional certifications are a proof that you are continually practicing in your field. They show that you are capable of matching the demands of the market. Above all, they indicate commitment to growth and following suit with the ever changing needs of the field of practise. Simply, if you are professionally certified, we trust you to deliver.
Rise above the competition
Professional certifications will help you compete. They’re an added advantage. Sometimes, the only advantage. They protect you from competition. They will help you meet most of the requirements. Maybe for a job position, consultancy work or a speaking engagement. With a fierce competition in the job market, professional certifications come in handy.
My experience with professional certifications
My first shot was at obtaining a professional certification as an Android Developer. Sadly, I was unsuccessful. I did go for a second attempt and this time I came back a Certified Android Applications Developer.
In 2017, I took the journey further when I became a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) after having completed 2 certification exams in my MCSA certification path. Last month, I obtained a Microsoft Technology Associate certification after passing my Security Fundamental exams. This way, I was building my expertise in ICT while proving my skills in some of my interest areas.
The exams are mostly web-based. For most ICT certifications, the costs for taking the certifications exams are very affordable. Specifically, for Microsoft exams, the prices are based on locations and range between USD65 to USD85 for Lesotho citizens.
The difficulty of the exams varies. It mostly depends on how prepared one is. However, certification exams are very rigorous and take a lot of practise to pass. Thus, one should get as much learning materials and practise exams as possible.
If you’re committed to your professional development, continue with certifications. There’s many avenues online where you can learn about various paths available for certifications in your field. There’s also test centres in Lesotho readily available to help you with certification exams. I encourage you to continually grow.