The 3 P's of IT Certifications: Performance, Professional Influence, Promotions

What’s the value of a CompTIA certification? A new study by IDC shows that in today’s tech world, CompTIA certifications set IT pros above the rest in some concrete ways.

Climbing IT Career LadderTechnology is in nearly every workplace today. From the biggest multinational enterprise to the smallest of small businesses, business is conducted via connecting to networks day in and day out. So, while the specific skills needed are always evolving with technology, there’s a constant need for skilled staff that understands how IT infrastructure functions, how to secure it and how to maintain it.

In a world where nearly everyone is an end user, the question arises of how valuable it is for IT pros to not only earn vendor-neutral IT certifications, but also keep them current. A recent study by IDC found that it’s very valuable for those who are new to IT, those who have taught themselves, those who have done apprenticeships and even those who have worked in IT for a number of years.

The IDC study, Impact of Certifications and Training on Career Milestones, illustrates how CompTIA appears to improve the lives of IT certification holders along three points of evaluation:

  • Performance
  • Professional Influence
  • Promotion potential

Digging deep into what each of these means gives us a feel for a cycle of career improvement, supported by CompTIA, as certified IT pros advance through their careers.


One theme that arises repeatedly throughout the IDC study is that CompTIA-certified IT pros demonstrate an ability to do the job better than their non-certified peers.

Holders of the entry-level IT certifications CompTIA A+ report having 52%  more core domain knowledge than non-certified staff with three years of experience. This is because CompTIA A+ requires IT professionals to demonstrate a working knowledge of the industry-standard best practices for an entire subject area.

They have to not only know that a particular command or hardware trick works to solve a particular problem; they also have to understand why it works. This offers advantages over — or enhancements to —  both self-taught IT skills and vendor-specific certifications. It builds competence and confidence.

Knowing the right way of performing a task removes guesswork and lessens the potential for error, and since holders of CompTIA certifications learn a full range of foundational knowledge, there’s a far smaller chance that they’ll run into a situation that’s completely unfamiliar. So, when a CompTIA-certified IT pro is given a task, even if it’s outside of their usual workload, they’ll have the conceptual knowledge and the exam training to help them arrive at a solution they can stand by.

This level of assured competence is doubtlessly the basis for the high level of confidence among CompTIA-certified IT pros, who are 10% more likely to be comfortable with their responsibilities than non-certified professionals.

Perhaps more interesting is that CompTIA-certified IT pros report being 40% more confident than those who hold other IT certifications. This seems to point to IT staff being tasked with responsibilities broader than the management of products from a particular vendor.

So, while IT pros may demonstrate mastery of the technology for which they have their vendor certifications, they’re less solid on technology outside of that. CompTIA certifications give vendor-specific training a vendor-agnostic, general foundation.

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Professional Influence

If IT pros can demonstrate that they know their stuff, exemplifying a high standard of performance and the confidence that comes with it, they can take ownership of more and more important tasks. It’s natural that they’ll then become go-to resources for questions about how to proceed with current tech strategies or new potential deployments. While acting as liaisons to higher-level business functions and helping to define strategy in this way, they will also be trusted to take on management responsibilities for their own teams.

Higher performance leads to higher professional influence. And as the IDC study indicates, certified IT professionals have a 30% greater rate of professional influence than those who are not IT certified at the same level.


With improved ability and influence come rewards, in terms of moving up the job ladder more quickly and decisively. (And, of course, being rewarded financially.) The IDC study reports that CompTIA certification holders get promotions both sooner and more frequently than those without IT certifications. This is true both of people who get certified before they get a job and people who get certified while on the job. In fact, CompTIA-certified professionals are promoted almost twice as frequently as those without IT certifications.

In addition to increased performance and influence leading to a higher rate of promotions, having CompTIA certifications validates skills for working at a particular level of the profession — so those skills can be tied to specific job roles.

Earning a CompTIA Network+, for instance, demonstrates an IT pro’s ability to perform the tasks of a network administrator. For example, if someone works at the help desk and earns a CompTIA Network+ certification, that could prove they are ready for a promotion to network administrator.

A Career-Building Certification Cycle

The story that the IDC study tells is one of IT certifications having positive impacts that continue to be reinforced throughout an IT pro’s career.

CompTIA-certified IT pros learns how to manage technology the right way. This knowledge imbues them with a level of certainty about their ability, which causes them to act with a greater level of confidence.

This confidence causes them to take on more responsibility, and their demonstrable ability leads to a greater range of influence throughout their workplace. This leads to promotions and financial rewards, which in turn provide incentives to keep learning, building skills, earning IT certifications and taking on responsibilities.

Without question, wherever you are in your career, the IDC study proves that it’s worthwhile to get certified and get that virtuous cycle started.

Start improving your performance, building professional influence and get ready to get promoted with CompTIA certifications. Learn more and download the exam objectives to find the one that’s right for you.

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

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