Over the last decade, IT work opportunities have boomed in North Carolina. With its heavy concentration of multinational companies and renowned universities, the Research Triangle Park has become a prime region for tech development. Raleigh in particular has long been identified with tech growth.
In the Forbes 2017 edition of the survey, the Raleigh area ranked sixth in the nation with a tech industry job growth of 47 percent between 2006 and 2016, and increased its tech job count to 39,504.
Raleigh isn’t the only tech destination in North Carolina, though. Surprisingly, Charlotte, N.C., ranked second in the same Forbes 2017 survey of cities creating the most tech jobs. Totaling 33,332 tech industry jobs in 2016, the region added 7,400 jobs in two high-tech business services sectors over the last decade: custom programming and systems design services. In addition, software publishing employment saw nearly 700 percent growth.
To establish their place in the growing and competitive N.C. tech industry, IT professionals find that a two- or four-year education is often insufficient. Certifications, colloquially shortened to certs, are becoming an influential, if not mandatory, component for job-seekers to secure and advance their careers.
Certifications make you a more hirable candidate.
Seventy-two percent of employers surveyed in a 2015 study on HR Perception of IT Training and Certification by CompTIA require IT certifications for certain job openings. Moreover, the study found that 91 percent of employers believe certs play a key role in hiring, serving as a reliable predictor of a successful employee. Employers view certified candidates as promising employees because there is a credible indication that a candidate possesses the knowledge and skills to easily and effectively fill a job opening. From an employer’s perspective, hiring a certified individual saves the company valuable time and resources in training.
Certifications open up doors for advancement.
In the same CompTIA study, 90 percent of employers surveyed agreed that IT-certified employees are more likely to be promoted than those without certs. Eighty-eight percent said that certified employees are rewarded through bonuses and raises for their certifications. In Global Knowledge’s 2017 IT Skills and Salary Survey, all but four of the 15 highest-paying certifications for 2017 garner a salary of $100,000 or more. Certifications readily display your skillset, giving you a leg up in your entry and advancement in the IT industry.
Certifications and education.
Select colleges recognize the value of certifications and include certificate programs in their IT curriculums. WGU North Carolina – a state-endorsed, nonprofit, online university – incorporates industry-recognized IT certifications, such as CompTIA A+, CIW Site Development Associate and ITIL Foundation Certification, in its B.S. in Information Technology degree. The university also accepts a wide variety of transfer certifications, which can waive degree requirements and save students both time and money in completing the program.
Partnering a degree with certifications allows students at all levels, whether an aspiring IT professional or an IT veteran, to strengthen their skills and advance their careers to the next level.