Another exception to the decreased value of technical certifications is Cisco networking certification. Cisco certs are hot commodities, too. But earning a CCNP certificate is no easy task, taking up to 250 hours of training, says Victor R. Garza, an InfoWorld Test Center reviewer who also teaches Cisco courses to telecom workers. Robert Half's Spencer Lee says she's also seeing a rise in requests for IT workers with Cisco Certified VoIP Professional certifications, given VoIP's growing adoption in the midmarket.
Employers spend less on training, but employees want it as insurance
Garza says certification training is likely "cooling off" because companies are less willing to underwrite employees, but he notes that IT workers still want it. "[Certification-seeking] students want to keep themselves marketable," he says. "As opposed to wanting to move up in the company, a majority of my students this past three months want training so that they can get a [new] job if they get laid off."
Indeed, certifications play an important role in a tough hiring environment, agrees Spencer Lee. When faced with two comparable candidates, a hiring manager can be swayed by a certification. Spencer Lee often receives IT job reqs that mention a preference for a particular certification, and she's noticed something very telling: "The person who gets the job usually has the certification."