I'm speaking specifically about Info Technology type certifications like the low level CompTIA ones (net+, sec+, a+, etc.). I'm just beginning what will hopefully be a long and fulfilling career in IT, and I'm looking at various certification programs. What I'm finding is making me very hesitant though. I can understand the value of high level certifications like the upper reaches of the Cisco Routing Expert stuff to show that you are an expert in a certain technology, but I just can't see how a low level certification can add value to a person. They almost seem like a badge that says "hey look, I can speak geek." I looked at sample questions from the low level CompTIA exams, and while I definitely wouldn't pass the exams if I tried now, I think it has more to do with the terminology they're throwing at me than not knowing the concepts they're testing me on. Shouldn't a college degree and like 4 years of internship experience in various levels of IT support be able to stand up just as well if not better than basic certs like A+? You might not know everything, but you're prepared to learn what you need to know at a basic level with only minimal training are you not? The other thing that's making me hesitate is the cost of the exam, study materials, and the overall time commitment it will take to pass the exam. Why, after investing so much in a college education and specialization is it necessary to dump even more money and time on proving your worth at such a basic level ? "Well, what about more advanced certifications then?" you might ask. The answer to that is I don't know if they'll be useful. Since I'm just starting out, I don't have a direction I want to head in yet. Networking, Databases, Server Administration, etc. are all open paths to me, and they all have various certification routes that *do not* intermingle very much. If I pick a path and invest time and money into a more specialized certification path only to jump off the track because a better professional opportunity opened elsewhere, will I still be able to salvage some value from it? Or would it hurt me more to wait till my career has a direction to start getting specialized certifications ? "Well that's why you start with basic certifications that are broad and won't pin-hole you," you say, but that brings me back to the initial question . There is one compelling argument I've heard for the basic certs though. Rather than viewing the certs as a declaration of basic knowledge, for which a degree and internship experience should be sufficient to cover, the certs are more of a declaration of the willingness to continue growing. To invest time and money on a basic cert program after college is a testament to the cert holder's willingness to continue their education which is a great trait. I'm just not sure that this alone is enough to justify the cost or if this is just the view of an aberrant employer. Anyway , any type of comments are appreciated .