There are a lot of good things about IT certification. Money — more about that in a second — is just one of them. Certification is a great way to learn new IT skills or brush up old ones. Most people study for at least a month or two to prepare for a certification exam. That's a lot of time spent concentrating on IT mastery. Even if you're just getting back up to speed on things you already knew, having a learning mindset and developing good study habits is invaluable.
Certification can also provide a crossover point to a new realm of career expertise. For many people, computers are both familiar and mysterious. There are lots of great jobs in IT, but it can be difficult to enter the field from an unrelated professional sector. Getting a cert can help you transition to working in IT, or transition from one tech field to another. Even if you never work directly in IT, many jobs require a baseline understanding of certain facets of technology.
Most people don't get certified in a vacuum. Some may have to juggle the demands of work and family. Others might be full-time students with certification representing one aspect of a busy schedule. Making time for certification takes self-discipline and conscientious time management. Here again the process of getting certified creates positive habits and builds character. That outcome may not add to your IT skills and knowledge, but it will make you a better person.
So there are a lot of reasons to get certified even without taking into consideration one key factor in many people's calculations: Certification can help you increase your earning power. Many IT jobs require certain certs as a prerequisite to employment. And even if you don't have to have a cert to get a particular job, certification can help you stand out in a pool of job candidates. Anything that helps you get a high-salaried job with excellent benefits is a career net positive.
The team at Certification Magazine conducts a survey of certified professionals every year to compile data about tech salaries. One of their most eye-catching outputs is a list of top certifications from survey and the often six-figure salaries associated with them. There are a lot of factors that determine salary — including some that the average worker doesn't really control. So why wouldn't you take action on something that you can control? Get a certification. Then get paid.