A few weeks ago I was driving on the freeway to one of my favorite restaurants. The closest location is about 25 minutes away, and my friend and I were whizzing along at a great pace, radio blasting and stomachs hungry for the delicious food we would soon be eating.
Then, about five minutes into our drive, we ran into traffic. (Not literally. The old reflexes are still sharp.) This was to be expected at this time of day, but was still not a pleasant reality. When I saw the long line of brake lights ahead, my stomach let out a large growl, which prompted me to impatiently take the next exit, hoping to arrive more quickly via surface streets. I’ve been regretting this decision ever since.
Some 30 minutes later, we were sitting at yet another traffic light, still only about halfway to our destination. By that time, it was clear that, had we stayed on the freeway, traffic and all, we probably would have already arrived. Our stomachs were protesting their empty state so much that we had to pull into the nearest fast food joint, abandoning our quest for one of our favorite meals.
The path to our desired IT career and salary is often like a traffic-jammed freeway. It takes patience, along with continued certification training to make it to your final destination. Too often we get impatient, get off the training path after just one or two entry-level certifications, and settle for a good job with decent salary. If you want a great job, with a great salary, you will need to stay on your training path — eventually achieving mid- and upper-tier IT certifications.
If you are wanting to become an IT auditor or Information security officer, then your certification freeway should include the CISSP certification. The CISSP is a globally recognized credential that will verify competency in information security. By earning this certification, you are proving to potential employers that you can protect their organization from attack.
Perhaps you’ve wanted to become a systems administrator, or systems engineer. Your path to these jobs should include MCSE certification. MCSE certification will validate your ability to build innovative solutions across multiple technologies.
These certifications are two of many that will require time and money to achieve, but the reward at the end of the road will be more than worth it. Dream big when it comes to deciding your future career, and don’t veer from the path you will need to take to get there.
Entry-level certifications are very important, and should be achieved, but don’t settle for something less than your ultimate career goal. Continue training and continue learning, because your future salary will reflect your amount of patience and effort.
About the Author — Jake Slater is the social media manager for GoCertify and a graduate of Brigham Young University. Jake's most important goal for 2017 is to find a housing situation that does not mandate a 25-minute freeway commute to the nearest Taco Bell.