Certifications: A Must Have Or Not

The career and business world place a certain demand on the value of certification. Some industries may require a requisite degree for specific roles coupled with significant time invested in gaining experience and others may not. While we think not all certifications are created equal and may provide assurance of professional competence in tandem with a professional degree or work experience, we spoke to some people to get their thoughts on what is critical for success in today’s world. Here’s what they had to say:

Philip (Lead Back-End Developer): Starting with a degree in mathematics from the University of Lagos, I couldn’t have envisioned ever becoming the Head of back-end development in a prop-tech company. The journey of acquiring certifications in the field started with an NIIT Certification in Info Tech which took me about a year to complete and another 3 years to get an NIIT honors in software development which landed me a job in 2011 as a software developer and several freelance jobs. Fast forward to September 2020 where I have now become a full stack developer. People can take courses within shorter periods of time nowadays. Therefore, I believe it is less about certification and more about what you can do. With experience and problem solving skills, anything is possible.

Sarah (Entrepreneur): After bagging a B.Sc. in economics, my first job as a strategic analyst didn’t quite sit right with me as my entrepreneurial spirit was begging to be free. This guided me in making my decision to transition into running my own business. On taking this huge leap, I took on a number of certifications however they didn’t necessarily give me the best product-market fit as I had hoped. So, I went on to take leadership and digital marketing courses which better equipped me and are still helping me in my journey so far. Certifications are great, nevertheless, I think business minded people should focus on courses specific to their field rather than attempt generic ones.

Fatima (HR Manager): As a human resource manager, I can say for a fact that certification has given me an edge in the management of industry professionals. A little secret, I always wanted to be addressed as HR even when I studied linguistics in the university. On the conclusion of my first degree, I got a job as client relations officer in an insurance company. This experience helped me to deal with people, further fueling the need for me to enroll for a masters in industrial labour relations at the University of Lagos. My second role as a customer relations officer defined the woman I am today. I was bold enough to approach the HR at the time, requesting she shared some of her tasks with me, which she was happy to do thereby helping me gain more experience on the job. Needless to say, other jobs after that have been as a human resource manager, having the CIPM certification was the cherry on the cake. Waiting around to earn a certificate before pursuing my dreams would not afford me the amount of experience I have now. Both certification and experience are important but experience helps you know if your choice is the right fit for you. It is in the doing that you get established.

Pascal (Developer): Being a web developer is both exciting and demanding for me in terms of staying up to date with the right certifications. In my line of work, certificates have expiry dates, loading me and other professionals with the task of keeping up. However, experiential knowledge is of utmost importance. With the skill I have, the certificates are just an added advantage. However, for those in C-Suite roles, certifications are a necessity.

Do you agree with these professionals or have a different view? Please let us know in the comments.