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An IT certification is a designation demonstrating a professional's competency in a certain aspect of technology. Certifications often follow some assessment, education or review. One difference with certifications in IT is that they are often vendor-specific.
The age old debate in IT is the value of certifications versus experience. Some argue that certifications are worthless, others say that they are an absolute requirement given the fast pace of change in the industry. In the end, most would probably agree that certifications can go a long way to open doors -- and while experience is always the most important thing, certs can help to further a career.