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Randy The Tech Professor

October 26, 2009 at 10:19 am

Formal Training (Certifications) or Real Life Experience?

A+ certificationHello everyone,

As you can see by my content and name of my blog, I am a technology “teacher”. I love all things “tech” and I love to teach, so the choice was a “no brainer”. Any tech information and “know how” that I have amassed has come through self study and personal practice. Because of my interest I have investigated, observed, and acted.

Just recently I have decided to get some formal training. At the moment I’m studying for the CompTIA A+ Certification (indicates a solid competency as a PC technician) and I will then go on to study for the CompTIA Network+ Certification (demonstrates skill as a network technician, including understanding of network hardware, installation, and troubleshooting). The CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is the IT industry’s largest developer of vendor-neutral IT certification exams.

I’m not real excited about all of the studying that I’m doing because I obviously think that real life experience is much more valuable, but how important is formal training (degrees,certifications,etc.)? Do you have degrees or certifications in your chosen field? Were they the most important factor in your acquisition of professional expertise? Is formal training a waste of time and money? Here are some quotes from others in the tech field.

“Real techies don’t care about certifications, they care about your actual knowledge and skills. But, depending on the company and hiring manager (or whomever), the certification could make the difference in whether a techie even ever sees your resume”

“You cannot write the certs off as worthless, but without experience on your resume, they will not get you very far. I tried to break into IT with certifications but no experience, and I had much trouble getting interviews. But, I think I would have had even more trouble had I no certs and no experience”.

Ed Tittle (a well known IT consultant): “If the work you do, or envision doing, involves troubleshooting or supporting desktop PCs or their users, then A+, still makes as much sense as it ever did – which is to say “quite a lot”. I also agree that for those whose job responsibilities or interests fall outside of bench tech, PC service tech, tech support professional, PC or user support tech, etc. the A+ is probably of limited value at best”.

Professor Randy says: Formal Training is beneficial only when coupled with Practical Experience and Real Life Application!!

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