Chidi Okwudire IT Professional. ERP Enthusiast. NetSuite Certified (Administrator, SuiteCloud Developer II, and ERP Consultant). Celigo Certified (Level 4+). Passionate About Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing. Always Eager to Learn.

Certification Insight #4: How valuable are NetSuite certifications? (Part 2)

3 min read

Last updated on March 6, 2023.

Perception is real even when it’s not reality.

Edward de Bono

In my previous post in this series, we looked at the intrinsic value of NetSuite certifications. My conclusion, which you may or may not agree with, was that NetSuite certifications, as they are today, are not really worth much in and of themselves. However, that does not mean certification is useless.

It’s all about perception…

NetSuite certification is nice on paper, good for your LinkedIn profile, for generating social media buzz, landing you your next assignment, etc. Like most certification programs out there, the value really boils down to perception! The market, your current and/or future employer/client/NetSuite partner, your peers, and, of course, Oracle, feel that certification is a good differentiator and often use it as such. That’s really all there is to it.

This strong emphasis on certifications is not limited to NetSuite. The IT world, for example, is full of certifications varying greatly in quality but mostly having one thing in common: A perception that being certified proves that you’re good at whatever it is you obtained the certification for. And, as you may have heard, over time, perception can become so strong that it feels like reality.

NetSuite Certification is not a reliable way to determine who is a qualified NetSuite professional. Click To Tweet

Here’s the interesting thing: In my years of working with NetSuite (first as a customer and now as a professional), the best NetSuite consultants I’ve met barely had any certifications. They didn’t make the time or see the need to get certified, didn’t bother renewing their certifications when they expired, and certainly didn’t need to tout their certifications as a reason to hire or work with them. Conversely, I’ve encountered folks whose email signatures are full of certification logos but interacting with them reveals a lack of basic understanding of the platform. This goes to show how unreliable certifications are for determining who is a good NetSuite professional.

Does that make certification a totally useless endeavor? Certainly not! Here are a few ways I think NetSuite certifications continue to be useful.

Some ways in which NetSuite Certification can be valuable to you

  1. To get a foot in the door. Let’s face it, more and more people are entering the NetSuite space for various reasons and I think that’s generally a good thing. However, it means that job adverts receive many more applicants than they did a few years ago. Certification becomes one of the means to filter out. It’s not necessarily a good filter but it’s nonetheless one that’s commonly thrown at a bucket of applications. According to AndersonFrank, 9 out of 10 job descriptions ask for some form of NetSuite qualification. Therefore, having the right certification definitely gives you a competitive advantage in the recruitment process, especially if you’re not yet established in the NetSuite space.
  2. To broaden your NetSuite knowledge. The process of preparing for the certification exams is, as far as I am concerned, the most valuable part of the experience (assuming you actually invest the time to find good resources and/or effectively use the Help Center and Suite Answers while preparing – we’ll address tips for effective preparation later in this series). You’ll get exposed to features in NetSuite that you perhaps didn’t even know were there, you’ll be forced to be critical about your assumptions on how NetSuite works, etc. If done well, you’ll truly enrich yourself as you prepare for the exams, regardless of whether you pass or fail.

    The majority (80.5%) of NetSuite certified respondents in our ongoing (perpetual) survey (snapshot in March 2022), agree with this:
  1. To unlock access to perks. There are a few perks that come with getting NetSuite certified like being able to use the NetSuite certified logo which in turn increases your perceived expertise, getting 30% discount on future trainings, gaining access to some LinkedIn groups, etc. I don’t think these are worth getting certified for by themselves, but they are surely a nice extra.
  2. To (maybe?) get a pay raise or other benefits. If you’re in an organization or culture that’s bought into the certification hype, you might be able to negotiate a raise or benefits based on your certification. But, if I were you, I won’t count on this because it might not happen. I’ve been in places where your degrees and certifications always come last: First there has to be a “click”, then you have to have the right experience and/or culture fit before they look at what papers you’ve got. On the flip side, I’ve also been in places where papers always come first. It really depends on where you are and who you’re dealing with.

    Looking again at survey results (snapshot in March 2022), it is interesting that while 69.1% of not-yet-certified individuals feel that certification will get them a raise.
Do you feel getting certified will contribute to a pay raise?
Responses by not-yet-certified individuals as at March 2022

In reality though, only 14.8% of the certified folks strongly confirm a raise as a result of becoming certified; another 10.7% believe that they would have gotten a raise anyway, 10.1% are not sure if certification played a role, and 10.7% are expectant of a raise largely due to becoming certified. Thus, excluding those who are sure that certification did not play a role in their raise, we arrive at a best case estimate of 36.2%. That’s about half those who think that certification would get them a raise. Again, perception != reality.

Did getting certified contribute to a pay raise?
Responses by certified individuals as at March 2022

Tip: You can gain access to the full survey results from which I retrieved this snapshots by participating in the survey or subscribing to the NetSuite Insights newsletter via this link.

So, there is definitely some value in getting certified. While, like me, you might feel that this value is disproportionate, it is what it is. That leaves you with two options: Fight it and possibly refuse to get certified to prove your point, or see how you can leverage this understanding of the market to your advantage. I personally have opted for a combination of both as you can tell. I hold multiple NetSuite certification yet I’m doing this series in which I try to present the other side of the coin. I hope you find that meaningful.

In the next post, we’ll consider one last aspect of the “elephant in the room”: How many NetSuite certifications does one really need? 

The insights in this article represent the views of the author, who, by the way, holds multiple NetSuite certifications. However, the perpetual certification survey that’s been running since January 2021 reflects the collective thinking of the community on the subject matter.

Our hope is that the combination of both resources will provide you with a balanced view. Take the certification survey today! Once completed, you’ll unlock the anonymized aggregated survey results with nice charts and stats. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our NetSuite Insights newsletter using this link to gain immediate access to the survey results and email notifications when we publish new insights.

Other Articles in the NetSuite Certification Series

Chidi Okwudire IT Professional. ERP Enthusiast. NetSuite Certified (Administrator, SuiteCloud Developer II, and ERP Consultant). Celigo Certified (Level 4+). Passionate About Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing. Always Eager to Learn.

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