Whether you are a long-time contractor, or just starting to explore contractor work options in either IT or engineering, it’s a smart idea to review the certifications and memberships in your industry. Receiving well-known certifications, or maintaining memberships in leading industry organizations strengthens your resume, expands your knowledge and skill sets and keeps your abilities fresh and current, which is extremely important in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape.
Ready to be a top candidate for the best contractor positions? Here are four certifications and memberships that make you a stronger IT or engineering contractor:
1. IT: ITIL
ITIL, or the IT Infrastructure Library, is one of the foremost certifications in the IT industry. Overall, ITIL tests knowledge of best practices in the sphere of IT service management, covering how organizations manage and perform IT activities. ITIL certification is generally expected by most employers and recruiters, according to The ITSM Review, and can give you a leg up when being compared to other contractor candidates.
A common mistake IT contractors make when approaching the ITIL is believing that it tests technical knowledge more than management best practices. The nature of the certification makes it advantageous for IT workers because it develops skills in communication, the prioritization of tasks and the development of efficient workflows. All of these are especially important for IT contractors with heavy technical experience. Even if you already have the ITIL certification, it is worth returning to since the there are five levels of expertise for which you can be certified.
2. IT: MCSA
The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate is another certification that IT contractors looking to build a career should receive. MCSA proves "that you have the core technical skills required to build a sustainable career in IT," according to Microsoft. A TechTarget survey found 60 percent of respondents say the certification enabled them to get a new job. You can specialize in different fields in the MCSA, including Windows 9 and SQL Server 2012. Also, if you pass the certification you are eligible to take exams to receive a number of other well-regarded certifications, including the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE).
3. Engineering: ASME
Joining the American Society of Mechanical Engineers is a beneficial move for engineering contractors. As a member of ASME, you have access to valuable conferences and networking events, as well as reference tools and journals that keep you ahead of the curve on the latest advancements and issues in the industry. Employers are looking for contractors that stay up to date with the latest trends and are actively involved in the industry – and you never know when someone you meet at a networking event will lead to a lucrative new contract assignment.
4. Engineering: SECB
The Structural Engineering Certification Board (SECB) is a great organization for those seeking contract work in structural engineering. It was created to more strongly establish structural engineering as a distinct field from civil engineering, according to the SECB website. Receiving this certification makes engineering contractors stand out for their technical skills and knowledge. Even those who are already licensed structural engineers would be well-served to receive the certification, and as SECB notes, it is an especially strong designation of your skills as some states do not offer licensing for this specialization.
Ultimately, certifications and additional knowledge gained from association resources can give you a leg up against the competition. Make sure you’re always at the top of your game by staying aware of in-demand skills sets, and earning certifications that will ensure you remain marketable as a specialized industry talent.