If not for certifications, how are you going to prove your skills in IT fields outside of programming to the HR who shortlists your resume?

For fields related to programming like web development or machine learning, you can definitely create projects. Not just you can create projects, you can also use it to prove your skills as they’re very trustable source to verify information. Easy to filter you out by looking at your projects in this case.

But the problem is with low level job fields like tech support, L1 database administration etc where you aren’t needing much programming skills.

How do you prove your skills in these fields:

  • sql
  • linux
  • bash shell scripting
  • docker
  • kubernetes
  • nginx web server

My programmer friend working at Big 5 was telling me that those who say certs are useless in other professions are mostly either lazy or lucky(He doesn’t have any programming certifications and says he proved with his projects). He continues “You might be Einstein at these stuffs, but for HR to filter out your resume, you need to prove yourself with your resume”. He sounded right to me when I consider a worst case catch 22 scenario: To get experience you need a job; for getting job you need experience. Some lucky people will have network with HR etc. But not all have it.

“No matter how you spin out, the most reliable way to prove you know stuffs in these “devops” area is having a certification.” My friend continues.

Honestly, I get nothing wrong with my friend. He sounds just right.

But the biggest problem is that certs are expensive. What’s the best way to deal with this scenario?

This is a programming focused forum, not a tech support, L1 database administration, etc forum. People here have more professional programming experience and not as much tech support or IT experience. For programing jobs, certs are not really compelling. For jobs where certs are needed, there usually isn’t a way around needing them.


Your friend is correct. In the career fields that are typically lumped into “IT”, there are industry certifications and they are typically required for even an entry-level job. And yes, you have to pay to take the tests.

I’m not in the IT field, but I think it would be best to choose a specific role that you are pursuing, and only targeting the certifications that are relevent to that job. That typically also means chosing specific platforms to be certified on.

There might be programs to offer cost-reduced testing or or test-prep. If you’re in the US, my recommendation would be to talk to your local library. They may offer a subsidized program directly, but a librarian will be most likely to be able to help you find programs or discounts that you qualify for.


For IT, A+ certification by CompTIA is a good baseline to show you have an understanding. CompTIA also has other IT certifications if that one sounds outside the scope you’re interested in. You might also look into creating a homelab so you have some experience setting up systems and have a space for practical practice!

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