For you, it . . .
bridges the gap between your educational experience and real-world work requirements,
verifies your understanding of fundamental software engineering principles,
shortens your training cycle and quickly increases your contribution,
demonstrates your commitment to expanding your knowledge and increasing responsibilities and level of professionalism,
confirms your proficiency of established software development practices, and
sets you apart from others via a credential developed by, and for, software engineering professionals.
For employers, it . . .
reduces the new-hire training cycle,
protects the organization’s investment in a competent and proficient workforce,
standardizes software development practices, and
provides independent assurance that employees can perform on real-world projects.
A certification finder, sponsored by the Department of Labor, will help you find out more about certification opportunities. You can enter the name of the industry or occupation you want to work in and the search engine will take it from there.
Below is a small sampling of nationally-recognized entities (arranged by category) which offer tests by which you can acquire a credential (certification, license, etc.). The organization may be willing to let your ESO administer the test. Funding for these tests is not provided by the Coast Guard except (possibly) in cases where the credential is required for you to perform your Coast Guard duties.
The Army's and Navy's Credentialing Opportunities On-Line web sites point you toward credentials related to Army occupational specialties and Navy rates, but they can be helpful to Coast Guard personnel as well. A comparable Air Force site is the CCAF Credentialing and Education Research Tool (CERT), which you'll have to scroll down a bit or search for to find.
To quote from an ACT brochure, National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRCs) are "industry-recognized, portable, evidence-based credential[s] that certif[y] essential skills needed for workplace success." They "provide employers with verifiable evidence of [your] job skills."
There are four levels of NCRCs, each of which indicates that you have the "necessary foundational skills" for a specific percentage of the jobs in ACT's workplace skills database of "more than 18,000 job profiles", representing 87% of all jobs in the U.S. These profiles identify specific skills needed to perform those jobs.
To obtain an NCRC, you take the three italicized WorkKeys Assessments listed below.
Communication Assessment (Business Writing, Listening for Understanding, and Reading for Information)
Problem-Solving Assessments (Applied Mathematics, Applied Technology, Locating Information, and Workplace Observation)
Interpersonal Skills Assessment (Teamwork)
Personal Skills Assessments (Performance, Talent, and Fit)
WorkKeys tests measure "'real world' skills employers believe are critical to job success. These skills are valuable for any occupation ─ skilled or professional ─ and at any level of education."
If you're eligible for any of the four current GI Bill education programs – i.e, Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty (Ch. 30), Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve (Ch. 1606), Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP or Ch. 1607), or the new (Post-9/11) GI Bill (Ch. 33) – you can be reimbursed up to $2,000 per test for the cost of various licensing and certification tests, as long as you haven't used up your 36-month entitlement.
To find out if the test you want to take is one of those which qualifies for reimbursement, go "Find a School" on the DVA's web site. GI Bill reimbursement is also available for many on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs. Again, see the DVA's web site to see if your program qualifies.