How Certifications Can Help Grow Your Career

In today’s workplace, the skills workers need to keep up with technology changes and advances in their field are changing rapidly. And this is causing a lot of anxiety for workers concerned about falling behind.

So how can workers keep their skills relevant in such a rapidly changing work environment? Traditional degree programs often don’t evolve quickly enough to keep pace with innovations in technology and industry. 

Certification programs provide people with the up-to-date skills they need to stay current in the workforce and to grow and advance their careers. 

“There is nothing more powerful than showing the world (and reminding yourself) that you are a champion of lifelong professional self-development,” says Dawid Wiacek, a certified professional career coach. “Keep on learning, keep on growing – it’s the only way to stay relevant in a highly evolving, topsy-turvy world.”

Here’s what workers need to know about the benefits of certifications and why they should continually grow their skills. 

Increase Your Industry Knowledge  

The No. 1 benefit of certifications? Getting concrete knowledge, Wiacek says. “Whether you’re brushing up on a skill you already possess or completing a certification in a brand-new-for-you field, you’ll inevitably pick up technical knowledge, information about industry trends and best practices.”.

That increased knowledge increases your credibility in your field and opens the door to professional opportunities. Wiacek advises, “A certification helps to cement your credibility and establish you as an industry thought leader and can open doors to important and lucrative speaking and leadership opportunities.”

Make an Investment in Yourself

Employers today are much more focused on skills than on degrees or job positions. They want to do know, do you have the skills they need to move their company forward?

“Certifications are proof of your skill level,” says Jennifer Elder, a certified accountant and business consultant. “When you get a degree, say in accounting, it only proves that you have taken the courses. When you achieve a certification you have demonstrated your knowledge and expertise to a standardized level.”

The more well-known and credible the degree program, the more effective it is at demonstrating your competency in a meaningful way. “To be taken seriously, it helps to complete a certification that is nationally or globally regarded and has standards that are generally understood and respected from one context to another,” Wiacek says.

Well-regarded certification programs also signals your willingness to invest in yourself and your career. You may inspire confidence in others – whether it be your direct reports, your boss, your clients or your vendors,” he says. “By completing a highly regarded, nationally recognized certification, many folks will typically assume that you’re more serious, more invested, and more knowledgeable about the respective field.”

Future Proof Your Career

Gaining additional certifications in key skills emerging in your industry can give you a leg up when it comes to growing your career. With the rapid pace of innovation today, no one can afford rest on their laurels, Elder says.  “Look where your company and your industry is headed.  Any employee who helps move the company in the right direction is future-proof,” she says. 

One of the best ways to advance your career is to acquire new sought after skills. Certifications are one of the most effective ways to do that. Matthew Burr, SPHR, a human resource consultant, says it’s simple -- certifications are the best way to future-proof your job. 

And the investment in new skills is also an effective avenue to career advancement. Wiacek says, “A strategic and well-regarded certification can help increase the chances of a promotion, a raise, or landing that more fulfilling, better-paying job.”