There are many different types of computer certificates. Having a computer certificate demonstrates intimate knowledge of that particular area. With a certificate, you become a specialist, thus making yourself marketable for employment. Listen
For example, I went to the University of Washington, and received a BA in English literature. I then went to graduate school and got a MA in international studies. So how did I get a job at Microsoft? Although they like degrees, they wouldn't hire someone without any computer knowledge. Listen
While studying for my MA, I started studying for Microsoft's popular computer certificate called the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). To become certified, I had to pass six different exams ranging from networking, operating systems, and Internet protocols. When I took the exams, they charged $100 per exam. The material cost was roughly $45 for each 600 page book. After six books and six exams, I became certified. To be honest though, I had to retake two exams, so I really took 8 exams. Listen
After I graduated from graduate school and obtained a computer certificate, Microsoft invited me for an interview and the rest is history. Don't be mistaken though. I feel really lucky to have interviewed with Microsoft at all. I feel it was due to good timing. Microsoft was in a time period when they were hiring many people. However, if I didn't have the computer certificate, I wouldn't have even qualified to interview at all. Listen
Besides the MCSE, Microsoft has many different exams. For example, if you are a developer or programmer, then the MCSD would be the certificate for you. Microsoft has a certificate for many different computer fields like database and other computer areas. Listen
Besides Microsoft, there are many other types of certification. Here is a list of popular certificates by company:
I don't want to go into too much detail about each certificate because there are many web sites that teach you about each one. But usually each certification will consist of multiple exams. The cost can vary depending on if you use training and computer institutes or not. Studying by yourself can be hard without an instructor, but it is very inexpensive. Having an instructor can help tremendously, but they cost a little bit of money. You can think of it as an investment if you decide to study in a class environment. But just to give you an idea, someone with a MCSD who is a great programmer, or a person with a Cisco CCNA certificate will easily make $90,000 a year. Listen
If you have any questions, remember that the message boards are a place you can freely ask any questions you want. If you want to learn more about certification, visit the many websites that explain each certification.