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Certified to get a job

Hands-on knowledge is what matters in the business world but not if you are applying abroad.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 10:26 IST

Hands-on knowledge is what matters in the business world but not if you are applying abroad. There, they would also ask for some benchmarking of your skills, which is where certifications can come in handy. An IT certification is nothing but an online testimonial from the company that has patented a particular product or application, acknowledging that you are proficient in the use of a particular software or hardware. Since every IT company - wants to have the maximum possible number of users and also have trained manpower to run, operate and maintain these products and technologies, they all offer online certifications relating to their domains.

Let's put it this way: If you have a software developer (MCSD) or database administrator (MCDBA) certification from Microsoft, along with, say, a CCNA certification from the networking giant CISCO, you would certainly be better placed in the job market than someone who is skilled in just one area. In fact, your chances of finding a "lucrative" job would be 20-30 per cent higher compared to a colleague who is skilled in a single area. But, if you have neither of these two certifications and yet, have worked on a live project for HT.com, which is an e-site, you would be selected for the job, if the employer were Indian.

So which is the best?

Of these, Microsoft certifications are the most popular, because 70 per cent of the system applications in the world are supported by Microsoft technologies. Of course, that's no reason to go for it. For instance, if the company you are applying to uses Oracle software, there is no point in your choosing a certification from the Microsoft stable.

The choice of a skill-set (or a certification to prove that you have it) is extremely important, as there are several vendors offering these certifications, which, in reality, have a short shelf life - about three to four years, at best. Small wonder then, it's a million-dollar industry abroad. Technologies go obsolete at a mad pace. But the upside is that if you have a certification, it's much easier to graduate to the next for quick re-skilling. "It's all a gamble, but worth taking," says a software engineer with TCS.