In John Mancini’s blog post, “What Steps Should be to taking to ‘Future Proof’ Your Information Management Career,” he makes the following statement that I think needs to be reiterated over and over again: “In general, certifications are acknowledged as a more up-to-date indicator of competence than college qualifications, which underscores the value of business experience.”
I have a graduate degree in Library Science and my experience in navigating the information science career field is that employers care less about the advanced degree and more about the experience. It becomes a catch-22 when an inexperienced person needs more experience to get their foot in the door. This is especially a problem with the information management field which is broad so if you get one particular type of experience most hiring managers in other areas pigeon hole you and don’t give you a chance to branch out even though the field requires branching out because of the way information is evolving.
The inexperienced person can make up for their lack of experience through pursuing certifications. Certifications show an investment and a seriousness about the field that the competition may not have. Pursuing a certification is a way to say, “I may not have the experience, but I am seeking to have the most current knowledge on the industry.”
There was a time when I was afraid to pursue certification for fear of if it being a useless endeavor since the graduate degree did not help out as much as I thought it would. I tried to go with the flow and see what doors would open up and go from there. That philosophy is not one I would recommend. The proper route is to leave fear behind and make my own destiny with confidence.
Back in the 90’s I was at a journalism camp at Penn State where someone said, “The master’s degree is because what the undergraduate degree was ten years ago.” I think it’s safe to say that the certification is becoming what the graduate degree was ten years ago.