Earning a certification is a great way to give yourself an advantage in your career. Your resume is a bit more impressive, your newly learned skills will boost your performance, and potential employers are assured that you have the necessary knowledge.
However, trying to find the right qualifications for your career can be an overwhelming experience. Choose the right one and you’ll experience a rise in your career. Choose the wrong one and you’ll have invested time and money in something that isn’t useful.
So, how do you choose a course that’s truly relevant to your career goals? Here are some of the questions you should be asking.
Is it relevant to your job? If you’re signing up for a certification to elevate your career, look into this carefully. Will your employer benefit from your certification? Is the certification a requirement to stay current with the latest industry developments? If yes, go for it. Certifications that are directly beneficial to your job and employer are also likely to be HRDF claimable.
Will you get to practice the skills? Without practice, you’ll eventually forget your new skills – wouldn’t that be a waste! If you foresee that you won’t have the chance to put your knowledge into practice, skip the course. Pick something that you can apply to your job straight away.
Is it at the right level? Choose a certification that not only validates your skills, but will also elevate your performance.
Is it relevant to your goals? If it’s not relevant to your job but is relevant to your plans to switch careers or to move up into a higher level role, the certification may be worth your time and effort.
Is the certification still relevant in today’s market? Check the validity of the qualification. Some industries, like information technology, evolves quickly, so you may want to make sure you get the latest version of the certification you're studying for.
Check what the pros have on their resume. Check out what qualifications people in your role (or the role you aspire to be in) on sites like LinkedIn. What qualifications do they have? How have they used this qualification to get to where they are now?
Ask the internet. You can get almost all the information you need from the internet. Browse for answers on sites like Quora, professional networks, and industry forums. If you can't find answers, post your own question for others to answer.
Ask an expert. Looking for information on the internet can take up a lot of time. If you want information quickly, find someone who knows or who has had the experience and can give you advice. This can be someone in your HR department, or an education consultant.
Pay attention to course details. Not all courses are created equal. Some certification courses may be cheaper than others, but you may want to check the quality of the course, and that it isn’t taught by some random person. Look through the modules to make sure it covers what you need to know to pass your certification exams.