"Certifications alone won't be enough if you're looking for a programming job!"
Said no one ever!
On a serious note, as someone who's been on the other side of the hiring table, I can assure you that certifications are secondary when you're being considered for a role in computer science. The key is understanding the role you want and how you, uniquely, can offer value to the potential employer while looking for programming jobs. However, consider the certifications as an extremely useful starting point, but don't count on them to carry you all the way to the job offer.
Why? Let's learn more about it while exploring the differences between a degree and certifications, the benefits of programming certifications, and more.
- On one hand, there are degree programs that offer a robust education that is necessary for certain career paths. On the other hand, there are certifications that can also offer valuable skills and knowledge and may be more convenient or less expensive.
- A degree program is a more intensive form of education focused on teaching you in-depth knowledge in a particular field. Whereas a certification, on the other hand, is usually more focused on providing you with specific skills related to a particular subject or profession.
- When deciding between a degree program and a certification, one key factor to consider is your career aspirations.
- In short, certifications add value to a developer's skill set, increase job marketability, and provide a solid return on investment.
Certifications vs Degree Programs
As someone who has been in the workforce for several years, I often find myself comparing the value of certifications with a degree program. On one hand, there are degree programs that offer a robust education that is necessary for certain career paths. On the other hand, there are certifications that can also offer valuable skills and knowledge and may be more convenient or less expensive. But how do you know which is best for your particular situation?
Let’s start by looking at the differences between a degree program and a certification. A degree program is a more intensive form of education focused on teaching you in-depth knowledge in a particular field. It will also often equip you with a variety of transferable skills, such as problem-solving and project management skills.
A certification, on the other hand, is usually more focused on providing you with specific skills related to a particular subject or profession. It is usually offered by a specific organization, such as a college or an industry trade group, and will typically require you to complete certain exams or maintain a certain level of activity within that organization. In many cases, certifications will also require you to complete a certain amount of coursework, but it is usually less than that required for a degree program.
When deciding between a degree program and a certification, one key factor to consider is your career aspirations. If you have a particular career path in mind, then a degree program may be the right choice, as it will provide an in-depth education that is necessary to acquire the skills needed for that career path. However, if you’re looking at a more general skill set, such as social media and affiliate marketing, web development, computer programming job or project management, then a certification may be a better option, as it will equip you with specific, career-focused knowledge.
Another factor to consider is the cost and time involved. A college degree program will generally require more of both than a certification. On average, the cost of a degree program is higher, and the program itself will likely require a longer commitment of time. A certification, on the other hand, will offer shorter courses and exams, often for less cost.
Finally, consider the type of knowledge and skills you’re looking for. If you’re looking to develop a broad base of knowledge in a particular field, then a college degree program will likely be the best option. However, if you’re looking to focus on a handful of specific skills, then a certification may be the right choice.
At the end of the day, it comes down to finding the right fit for your situation. I know that getting an education is one of the most important steps in ensuring success in this field. For example: A four-year degree in computer science will provide developers with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful. This degree program can help aspiring web developers accumulate marketable skills, develop professional connections, access networking opportunities, and pursue internships and other portfolio-building projects.
So, if you’re looking to acquire a certain type of knowledge to advance your career, then a degree program is often the best way to go. On the other hand, if you need to acquire specific, practical skills, then an online certification can provide them quickly and cost-effectively.
Benefits of Programming Certifications
Although getting certified is only one aspect when it comes to getting hired, let's not deny some of the most important benefits of a programming certification.
Increased Job Marketability
An increase in job marketability is one of the biggest advantages of having a programming certification. With more and more companies expanding their digitization efforts, the demand for software development with the right credentials is on the rise.
Having a software development or computer programmer certification validates that you have the skills required to succeed in the job market and keeps you ahead of the competition. Plus, high-level certifications stand out on your resume and give employers confidence in your abilities while hiring for programming jobs.
Fast-track Career Paths
Earning a programming certification can also jump-start your career path, helping you advance by learning various programming languages, like Python, SQL, or Java, and find a programming job faster than you could without one. Different certifications will open up different opportunities for you and prepare you for whichever areas you choose to focus on.
Moreover, it is also a perfect way for experienced software developers to show off their expertise, thus increasing their chances of getting promotions or high-level positions in the computer programming field.
Quicker Return on Investment
Finally, the return on investment of obtaining a programming certification is fairly high. The cost of computer programming courses and courses for specialized programming languages certifications may be significant, but the money and time you will save when applying for positions or even when changing career paths will be well worth it. Achieving a programming certification is an investment that will pay off in the long run.
More specifically, programming certifications enable aspiring computer programmers to land entry level programming jobs only. It is important to remember acquiring certification enables experienced professionals in computer science the ability to further their skill set and career prospects in an increasingly competitive workplace.
In short, certifications add value to a developer's skill set, increase job marketability, and provide a solid return on investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you get a programming job with just a certificate?
Yes. Getting entry level programming jobs without college degrees may seem daunting at first, but it’s absolutely possible. Sure, some employers prefer a programming degree, but with the right attitude and the right certifications, you can land a lucrative position in programming without it.
2. Is IT better to get IT certifications or a degree?
For me, if I wanted a strong foundation and an unparalleled breadth of knowledge, I knew that a degree from an accredited college or university was the best route.
In my opinion, degrees provide better CVs with years of theoretical and practical education about the subject, enabling you to gain informed insights and an in-depth understanding of the subject. However, if your main goal is to quickly gain the certifications and skills that will get you a well-paid IT job, then I believe certification training through universities and IT providers is the best way to go.
3. Do employers prefer degrees or certifications?
The simple answer is that it depends on the job and employer; the majority, however, require a degree. When applying for higher paying and more technical jobs, employers usually prefer that their candidates have a degree.
Although a certification alone will not get a candidate the position, it is a mark of credentials that employers look for. But if we talk facts, according to a survey 41.32% of the software developers had bachelor degrees in 2022.
It is clear that having a programming certification can be a great way to make a start in the tech industry and gives you an edge when applying for jobs. Having a degree is still beneficial, but certifications can give you the necessary knowledge and experience to bridge any gaps.
Ultimately, the chances of getting hired solely with programming certifications rather than a degree depends on which companies you apply to and the specific job role. It pays to do your research.
For those considering certification routes, it is important to ensure you are meant for the program and to find one that is right for you. The right certification can make all the difference in the job market.
To summarize, having programming certifications, even if they are not a direct replacement for a degree, can certainly be a great start to help you stand out and make a difference in the tech industry. Ultimately, they can give you the opportunity to apply and gain employment in the area you are interested in. However, it’s important to make sure it’s the right fit for you.