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Virtualization certs valuable, others not so much

Virtualization skills are in high demand, and their value is only going to increase.

Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Hot Lists Forecast report indicates that only 29 out of 225 certified skills will increase in value over the next six months — but four of the top 11 are virtualization certifications.

The VMware Certified Professional certification holds the top spot, followed by the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (virtualization version) at No. 3. The VMware Certified Design Expert and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (which includes a virtualization specialization) also made the top 11.

So if certified virtualization skills are so valuable, what can they do for you? For starters, this forecast can help tech workers know their value. Don’t sell yourself short when searching for a new job or asking for a raise. Employers might actually want to make virtualization hires quickly, before their value increases even more.

Still, “even if you have these certifications, it doesn’t guarantee you higher pay,” said David Foote, CEO and co-founder of Foote Partners. “And even the most qualified person on paper doesn’t always get the job.”

The pros and cons of IT certifications

IT certifications are a topic of much debate, even in the virtualization market. (For an example, check out the face-off between Jason Boche and Eric Siebert on whether you should get certified for virtualization.)

Despite the growing value of virtualization certifications, the anti-certification crew does have an argument. IT certifications overall have lost value, and Foote said some vendors don’t use their own certifications for internal employees.

When it comes to IT certifications, as the Black Eyed Peas would say, “Where’s the love?” There are a few reasons they’ve lost value in the eyes of both employers and employees. Many certification exams are too easy, and there have even been problems with people cheating online, Foote said. If you can find all the answers on the Web, that certification is worth about as much Monopoly money.

Plus, more and more companies are looking for workers with a combination of skills, Foote said. The industry has long lauded certifications, but hands-on experience is indispensable.

“A lot of the skills that are in high demand don’t have certifications for them,” Foote said.

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