For example, what employers define as formal credentials actually clashes with the definitions of many information technology professionals.
While some professionals say that "just one (1) educational degree is enough", others say that "the more college degrees you get, the better your chances of success" and some have no opinion at all!
In this post, I will say reveal the credentials required for success on your job and explain why they are so important.
Your first formal credential is the knowledge that you bring to the job.
This includes knowledge of the rules, regulations and processes of your domain (banking, finance, telecommunications, healthcare, etc.) as well as the technical knowledge required to do your job.
Their is a loosely defined, body of knowledge for every information technology (IT) profession including business analysis, computer programming, database development, software testing, project management, web design, etc.
Keep in mind that as far as information technology jobs are concerned, professional knowledge is always, never learned in college!
Your second, formal credential as an Information Technology professional is the skills you bring to the job.
Skills are different from knowledge because while you may gain knowledge just by reading books or watching training videos or reading articles, skills are developed as you repeatedly perform a task or solve a problem successfully.
For example, writing Use Cases: the more Use Cases you write according to standards, the better skilled you become at Use Cases …
I will give you another example based on public speaking. A public speaking organization like Toastmasters gets you to stand-up and speak before a group of people at every meeting.
This has proven to be one of the best / most effective way of developing public speaking skills because it gets you to rehearse making a speech in front of a small, controlled environment / audience which prepares you for the real job of making speeches in front of larger groups of people!
Make a list of all the skills required for success on your job or in any position and make sure that you exercise those skills on a regular basis.
Hands-on, Professional Experience is developed as you practice solving larger, more complex problems problems requiring several different sets of skills over longer periods of time.
Experience is always discussed in the context of projects and experience requires several months or years to grow and develop …
Here is a helpful nugget of information for you: “you don’t always need a job before you can get some experience. All you need to acquire experience outside a job is creativity and open-mindedness.
Keep in mind that experience is the single, most sought after credential for hiring / retaining a professional.
Certifications can help senior / experienced professionals with a job advance from one position to another position after they are hired.
Certifications however, are not required as primary qualifications for getting hired and should not be used as such.
Certifications really are best for those who already have a position and are trying to strengthen it for internal company promotions.
Certifications also are helpful because they force you to study and learn and so they essentially help you to complete the first goal of getting the professional knowledge required for your profession.
In many certification bodies, you cannot apply unless you already have several years of documented and proven experience. Futhermore, hiring managers prefer to use Experience and Job Interviews to hire rather than certifications.
A college degree is required for many professional information technology jobs, so you may at least, get one
Some employers will accept an associate degree and some will hire skilled / talented web designers / computer programmers without any college degree.
However, you don’t need more college degrees until you have gained all the knowledge + skills + experience required for success on your job.
Note that you can get a Masters or an MBA or even a Doctoral Degree as part of your personal development but not as a substitute for professional skills or knowledge.
For example, don’t try to replace the requirement to learn business analysis with an MBA because having an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) cannot not make you a business analyst.
So, here you have it: the best credentials for success on your job.
Their is actually another credential, based on your leadership skills that is being increasingly used by employers, but that is the topic of another post.