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Whether you’re new to the tech job market or you’re a seasoned veteran looking to grow your skills or pivot into a new area of specialization, you’ve probably looked into both certifications and boot camps. This is a common conundrum. Boot camps are popping up in cities and towns all across the country and there is no shortage of certifications to pursues. So, which will help your career?

Certifications vs. Boot Camps: The Simple Answer

The simple answer is this: whether a certification or boot camp is right for you really depends on your unique circumstances. People looking to enter the tech field who have no computer science background and tech pros who want to learn a new language or framework are best served by boot camps. These are immersive classroom experiences complete with teachers, job placement assistance and alumni networks.

On the flip side, established tech pros who are happy in their niche should pursue certifications. Certifications allow tech pros to sharpen skills that may not be fully developed, or to offer “proof” of their prowess and experience in a particular area.

The Two Sides of The Technology Coin

Another way to consider which option is right is to think about the two major distinctions in the tech industry. One side of the industry builds products and the other side is responsible for operating and maintaining those products.  Pros that want to build products are better served by boot camps. Pros that want to focus on the infrastructure in which software operates are better served by certifications.

Employers understand this distinction and it impacts the way they evaluate candidates. Hiring managers won’t have their socks knocked off by a programming candidate with certifications. They really want to know you can code well and expect to see a portfolio. Boot camp graduates leave with the ability to show their work, even if they’ve never worked a day in tech.  Candidates who want to work in roles like networking, security or the cloud should be prepared to offer certifications. Certs “prove” that you can apply concepts and knowledge in real-world applications.

Big Picture Thinking

No matter what your unique career goals may be, continuing education and skill development is critical. There is no reason why people who work in infrastructure couldn’t pursue a boot camp to learn new skills and programmers will never harm their careers by pursuing certifications. The more robust your continuing education experience, the more well-rounded you’ll be as a professional and as a job candidate.  Any time you commit yourself to a formalized certification or boot camp program, you’re doing yourself and your career a favor.

If you are a tech professional seeking new challenges with innovative companies, the recruiters at Talon are ready to talk to you. We can match you with a position and an employer that will help you utilize your talents and achieve your professional goals. Contact us today to learn more.

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