IT certifications becoming less valuable for employees, report says

IT professionals often seek out skills certifications in order to boost their job prospects and earning potential. But do those IT certifications still hold the kind of sway they used to? 

Not really, according to a recent analysis of IT salary data released by tech research firm Foote Partners. Salaries for employees with certified skills have been declining since 2007, with Foote seeing decreases in 19 of the last 21 quarters for the 274 IT certifications the firm tracks.

Meanwhile, premium pay for employees with non-certified skills has increased in six of the past eight quarters.

Why are certified skills declining in value while others are increasing? Foote attributes the trend to a few possible factors: First, many companies are focused on new IT skills for which there aren’t yet certifications available.

Also, as there have been more IT professionals with certifications looking for jobs, businesses may be placing more emphasis on real-world experience rather than education. Companies are also valuing business acumen more in their IT hiring, especially as more pure technical jobs are being handled by external service providers due to the rise in cloud computing.

Of course, not all certifications are created equal, and experts point out that there are some that companies still prioritize when they’re looking for IT staff.

These are the certifications that were named the most valuable at this time last year:

  1. Microsoft (MCSE, MCITP, MCTS)
  2. CompTIA (A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+)
  3. Cisco (CCNP, CCNA, CCiE)
  4. Apple (ACSP, ACTC)
  5. International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (CISSP)
  6. Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
  7. Project Management Professional (PMP)