As Certified IT Pro Salaries Slide, Apple Certifications Gain Value

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Every major tech company offers training and certification programs for their solutions, including Apple. For years, it’s been common advice to pursue certifications if you’re looking to get a job in IT for the first time or to if you want to move up the IT ladder. Certifications can sometimes make up for lack of on the job experience since they provide a way of measuring knowledge. If you expend the effort to pursue certifications for technologies that you use (or have used) on the job, it’s common wisdom that they’ll give you a leg up not just in getting a job but in negotiating your salary and benefits package.

Based on that wisdom it isn’t surprising that tech training programs with a goal of getting you certified are a big business. It doesn’t hurt that some US education loan programs, including those for returning veterans, can be used to finance training classes as an alternative to college. Yet a recent study shows that some IT certifications no longer equal success and higher pay. Does this mean certifications are worthless? Yes and no. The truth is that it often depends on the certification(s) in question. With iOS devices and Macs becoming business staples, the an obvious question is… are Apple’s certifications worth pursuing?

Overall, I’d say the answer is yes but as part of a well rounded package of credentials. Being certified in Apple technologies alone isn’t going to be particularly impressive and might even be taken as meaning you don’t want to work with or support other technologies. In all honesty, that’d mean the kiss of death from most hiring managers and recruiters. But if you can use Apple certifications as a way of proving that you can support and manage Macs and, more importantly iPhones and iPads, along with work experience supporting the ability to handle other common business technologies, you can give yourself a leg up.

Even Apple seems to be acknowledging that it exists in a multi-platform world when it comes to business tech. The easiest (and free) certification the company offers is the Mac Integrations Basics ebook and certification exam. It’s an exam many Mac power users should be able to pass with little or no studying but if your work experience is all Windows-oriented, it’s an easy way to show cross-platform knowledge and skills. Beyond the basics, Apple offers certifications for Mac support and for OS X Server. It also offers a consultants network that you can join with existing Apple, Microsoft, or Cisco certifications.

Given that Apple seems to be phasing OS X Server out of enterprise environments, I’m not sure I’d suggest aggressively pursue advanced certifications related to it unless you’re looking to work for an all-Apple shop or as an Apple consultant (either on your own or for a larger consulting company). But getting the basics on your resume is certainly a forward-thinking approach. While you’re at it, consider paying $99 to join the iOS or Mac developer programs.

The key here, however, is that Apple certifications alone aren’t going to be the biggest draw for most IT managers. You will need to have some Windows support and/or server experience. You’ll also want to consider certifications in some of the areas that are shaping up to be driving factors and successful careers in this new 21st century IT market. Two big areas to consider are project management and healthcare – both of which Comptia, the IT certification powerhouse, has recently begun offering certifications around.

Will Apple certifications alone win you a job in IT with a huge salary? As much as I’d like to say that they will, of themselves they probably won’t. What they will do is give you a leg up with companies have deployments of Macs and iOS devices or that are planning them. That can be a big advantage if you do your homework, pick the right companies, and tailor your resume to their needs. But Apple certifications and membership in the Apple Consultants Network or developer programs is almost certain to only be part of your success story.