Monday, December 24, 2012

Value of professional certifications

On his December blog, Paul Borawski is asking us what we are going to tell our bosses about what we did last year in order to get a raise when the next performance review comes along. So far in my career, I've had the privilege of working in organizations where salary increase depends on employee's yearly performance. I like it when a manager empowers employees to set their own performance targets that align with business goals and objectives and expects them to come back with results at the end of the year. This allows employees to push themselves and continually advance their knowledge and skills. However, meeting business goals may not be enough to get you where you want to be. Companies are looking for individuals who are willing to take the extra step. For example, achieving professional certifications, earning an advanced degree, being a member of professional societies, publishing papers and so on. I strongly believe that these achievements set you apart from everyone else who are competing for the same thing. One of the goals that I always set for myself is to add another valuable certification to my to do list for the upcoming year. When I was a quality engineer intern, I noticed great opportunities to advance in this field. Before I graduated from college, I became an internal auditor. After a year or so, I passed ASQ's exam to become a certified quality engineer. In later years, my passion and strong interest in process improvement led me to achieve six sigma black belt and lean bronze level certifications. These certifications definitely helped me advance in my career and I know that there is much more out there. This year, I can proudly tell my manager that I completed a mini-MBA program and currently working on my master black belt certification. You may ask if all this has anything to do with salary increase or promotion. Well, it did for me and it will help you too. Never hesitate to let your boss know about your career goals and what you need to do to get there. Know where you are heading and take advantage of the opportunities along the way.