Certification at the Entry Level
...a hiring manager could use a CCNA or CCNP entry on a resume as an indicator of time, experience and knowledge. The CCNA candidate most likely had three to five years in the business, whereas the CCNP was a more senior person. A casual glance through CompTIAs Web site shows what it expects of candidates before they even attempt an exam 18-24 months of experience before attempting Security +, for example.
But the new reality is that certifications are sometimes used as a shortcut to a career. While a person working in academia, for example, must follow a specified, inescapable series of steps to progress to title and glory, an IT worker need only take the appropriate certification exam and a credential declaring knowledge and skill is awarded. This, of course, has had an entirely predictable outcome: Businesses and hiring managers have begun looking past the credential toward the experience and educational background.
Jon McAfee, senior IT security engineer and national security systems manager at NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center, put it this way: Its not that I dont look at the certification at all; its just that it doesnt mean as much to me as actual, real experience working on an enterprise network or a college degree. Certifications are great, but by themselves, they dont mean a whole lot.
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