Do IT certifications help any?
Do IT certifications such as CompTIA certifications (A+, Network+, Security+, etc.), Cisco certifications, and Microsoft certifications help any? Do any of you guys hold any certifications, or are they not needed?
The big question is, help with *what*?
If you're talking about understanding the basics, sure…those certs, and others, provide a good foundation from which you can expand. You need to have the basics down before moving on and just studying for any of those certs will help a lot.
If you're talking about helping with employment, it's hard to tell. The big problem is that there are a lot of resources that talk about how to prepare yourself to be marketable…sadly, those writing job postings and interviewing candidates aren't reading the same resources, so it's not an level playing field.
I hold the CISSP cert. It ran out in June of '02, b/c I had a job, and the only benefit the cert offered was to get my resume past HR…if the job description said "CISSP required or desired", then most HR folks will round-file resumes that don't have "CISSP" on them (which, of course, leads to people saying that they have the cert when they don't, b/c the HR folks or hiring manager do nothing to *verify* that information). Six months later the organization tracked me down and told me that for a small fee, I would reinstated.
IMHO, the certs are good in the sense that they show a minimum level of knowledge, and the ability to complete something. What's bad is that (a) there are more and more cert mills that spit out people with paper but no real experience, and (b) the certs aren't being verified by hiring managers.