Are entry level certs important to hiring managers?
How much weight do you place on entry level certifications (e.g., A+, Security+, CCNA) for people entering the IT career field from a 2 and 4 year college? Do they need to have these certifications on their resume to get the interview? Are you hiring these folks? What are your thoughts?
I have my personal opinion about certifications however I wanted to get a sense of other people's experiences. I am not advising them on which certifications to take. I want to convey to them what people on the other side of the table feel about certifications. Approximately 22 people have replied thus far and along with my experience, here are my takeaways.
1. Certifications should be applicable to the positions for which you are applying.
2. Certifications are almost necessary for your resume to make it through the initial rounds of HR filtering. (Google job descriptions and look at the requirements to verify.)
3. Certifications demonstrate your basic understanding of concepts and sometimes procedures. (The certificate will get you in the door but you have to ace the actual interview.)
4. Do not invest a lot of time and money in trying to attain a lot of certifications. Be strategic.
5. Network, network, network! A lot of jobs opportunities are passed on via the friend of a friend.
6. (Not directly about certifications) Learn about the popular risk management frameworks (e.g., NIST, COBIT, ISO) used in your area and get hands on experience with the open source tools (they are free).
If you are applying for an entry level job, then yes.
Also certs are relative to the job you are applying to. I don't care for the alphabet soup of certs when applying for certain positions. i.e. If you are applying for a networking job, tell me about you Cisco certs, a security job, tell me about your security certs, etc. I don't need to know you have 48 certs, just give me the relevant ones. Too many certs without experience just tells me you are a good test taker.
Certs are just one facet of a candidate. If all you have is certs, with no experience, I am probably not hiring you. Certs help build you as a candidate, not make you the candidate. If the jobs you want to apply to all seem to have a requirement for a particular cert, then by all means get it.
If you are just starting off in the field, go ahead and get them, but work on building your experience as well.