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IBM Certification pros/cons?

Started by hespora, 26 Oct 2016 08:07:53 AM

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Hi there,

I'm currently debating with myself whether I should pursue IBM certification, so I'd like to hear what others have to say on the subject. In your specific cases (and yes of course, I realize that's anecdotal), would you say certification has helped your career, brought around job opportunities, was an argument for increased salary, etc.?
Also I wonder, for those where taking the cert was sponsored by their organization, would you have also taken the cert on your own time and out of your own wallet (as there's no chance I'm going to get my org to sponsor me on that?



Certification has certainly helped my career, the vast majority of which has been as an independent consultant. Every certification I have has been done on my own time and my own dime. If you attend the annual conference (the World of Watson was just last week, so another year to wait for the next one) they offered a free exam as part of the attendee conference price and a reduced price for additional exams in years past. Not sure if they still do, but something to look for if you are able to attend.

There are partner firms that must have certified personnel on staff to maintain their re-seller or other partner type status. Some companies simply require certification or else indicate it as a preferred element, although I think the latter is more common than the former. These are situations where as an employee, rather than consultant, it is helpful to have the necessary prerequisite or "nice to have" credentials.

If you have any opportunity to take formal training you'll find that those materials are very helpful for preparation in addition to the user guides. At least that was the case for the exams I've taken.


I think you have to consider what kind of employers you will be working for (or maybe a freelancer).

In consulting, if not required it will certainly be a plus. Having been on the consultant hiring side, a certification will help you get in the interview pile as opposed to the discards. A lot of experience can get you in without a cert, but it has to be a lot and obvious that you have expertise. And as Lynn pointed out, sometimes it is required for certain partner agreements.

Outside of consulting, if you intend to be an employee especially in a larger organization, the perceived value of a certification can vary a lot in my experience. It can help you get hired in the first place. Some employers will at least imply that you ought to pursue certification. Some will give you a small raise for getting certified. Others will pat you on the back saying "good job" and you will need to demonstrate your value in other ways to advance.

I would also say that the preparation for a certification will help you personally with ensuring you understand the subject thoroughly. It may even expose you to concepts and product functionality you had not yet run across or needed. This increases your knowledge base and helps you prepare for future projects.


Hi guys,

thank you for your input. Indeed, I am not in consulting, nor do I (currently) plan on taking that up. I think that last bit you said, bdbits, is what's really making the decision for me here though - yes, I can currently do my job to everyone's satisfaction, but without being exposed to new ideas, new info on what's actually possible, it's kind of hard to come up with concepts to do my job better than before.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.