Get Certified and Get Promoted: How IT Certifications Can Propel Your Career

by Matthew Stern | Aug 28, 2019

A calendar hangs on the wall over the desk next to the words, "When should I get certified?"IT professionals benefit from getting certified at all different points in their careers. From high school students to career changers and entry-level IT pros to those with a few years under their belt, it’s not unwarranted to ask if investing in an IT certification or two is something they should hold off on until they’ve already made inroads in the field. A recent study by IDC reveals, however, that if you’re on the fence about getting certified, it might work in your favor to snag a cert or two before you land your first IT job. The advantages of CompTIA certifications, it seems, can start on your first day … or earlier! 

CompTIA Certifications Can Position You for Promotions

IDC found that IT professionals who get certified before their first IT job get promoted about 23% sooner than those who have not yet been certified – an average of 14 months versus 17 months. And not only do promotions happen sooner for IT pros who have CompTIA certifications when they walk in the door, but there’s also a better chance of them getting promoted. Period.

Within one year of hire, 58% of those who were already certified got promotions, compared to the 53% who got certified once they were on the job. It’s a fairly small variance, but where money and title are concerned, it never hurts to take steps that will position yourself even slightly ahead – if it’s possible and convenient to do so.

Perhaps expectedly, CompTIA certification holders, regardless of when they get certified, are promoted more than IT pros who never get certified. This could be attributed to many factors – some skills based, some confidence based, some owing to IT certifications being necessary for particular job roles.

CompTIA Certifications Give You Confidence

Comfort and confidence in a position are big factors in success, and the IDC study indicates that IT pros who get certified before entering their first IT job report being 16% more comfortable with responsibilities related to new technologies than those without.

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CompTIA certifications validate a structured, working knowledge of the foundational technologies used across industries. They’re also vendor neutral, giving an overview of the principles behind enabling technologies rather than focusing on commands restricted to a specific of hardware or software.

This means that CompTIA-certified IT pros understand the full picture – the why behind something functioning, not just the how it takes to make it work. Arriving in a position with best practices and vendor-neutral context for technology fresh in their mind, certification holders are in the perfect mindset to see the full technological picture in their new workplace.

Even when technology changes, they’re in a better position to understand the mechanics of how new things function and fit into an existing IT stack. They’re also better positioned to suggest where a new technology might fit – which shows they are primed for taking a step up the job ladder.

Getting Certified at Any Time Can Advance Your Career

Of course not every career path is the same. Some people don’t have the resources or time to pursue IT certifications early on. Others don’t learn about IT certifications, or recognize their importance, until they’ve been working for a while. People in these situations and countless more can certainly build and boost their careers with CompTIA certifications at any time in their careers.

What the IDC study does indicate, though, is that if an aspiring IT pro has the resources to get a CompTIA certification before starting their first job, it’s worth it to take the exam and earn the credential. For educational institutions, it’s just as clear. Getting students CompTIA certified before they get into the workforce is putting a powerful career development tool in their hands – one that will continue to yield dividends in skill, satisfaction and career comfort long after they’ve graduated.

Ready to get certified? Check out the IT Certification Roadmap to see which certification is right for you.

Matthew Stern is a freelance writer based in Chicago who covers information technology, retail and various other topics and industries.


  • Larry

    Friday, August 30, 2019

    What is the best advice when looking for an entry level job because I have a Microsoft Technology Associate certification in Networking and about to get one more in Security, so getting two or more will do?

  • Stuart Irvine

    Friday, August 30, 2019

    This road map gives me the need knowledge to follow the road that I want to follow.

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2019

    Hi, Larry! Thanks for your question. If you already have a few certifications, it may be a good time to get some hands-on experience, whether on the job or on your own. IT is a great field because you can gain experience before you even enter the workforce. Check out this article about how to get hands-on skills on your own time: Good luck!

  • G. Landrum

    Sunday, September 8, 2019

    What I am finding out is in the job market while some might ask that you have some certification, most do not care unless you have 10 years of experience. Basically this is what now is deemed to be what is needed for an entry-level position at a tech support position. This is what most will be asking for "We are seeking an entry-level tech support technician, please apply only if you have the following-BS in Information Technology, A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA, CISSP, MCP, 10 years of experience in software support, building networks and network security"

  • Kyle

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    Hi i'm a 10th grader and my computing teacher told me too look into this article, my teacher is teaching us about different careers in computing. I want to know if pursuing a career in a tech field was worth it. Should i actually pursue it? and i got bored so i thought i'd write something :P

  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    Hi, Kyle! Thanks for stopping by (even if you were just bored!). If you have a knack for problem solving, puzzles and helping people along with an interest in computers and technology, IT can make for a very fulfilling career. If you want to succeed, you need to have the passion and drive to learn everything you can and keep trying. Check out these articles about what it's like to work in IT to learn more: Good luck!

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