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IT certifications can provide technology professionals the added advantage they need to sustain their careers in the turbulent job market. There are many factors that most IT pros cannot control, such as the dynamics of the economy and many of the budgetary decisions of upper management. So how can IT professionals help insulate themselves from the fallout of economic turmoil?
While there are no absolute guarantees, IT certifications have been shown to provide tech personnel with additional job security. Technology pros are able to leverage their IT certification training to show their employers that they are willing to take additional challenges to keep their skills current. This shows an additional level of commitment as compared to their non-certified colleagues. When faced with having to reduce staff numbers, businesses want the biggest bang for their buck. Therefore, they are going to keep those individuals that have the broadest range of skills and those that can offer the greatest value to their organization.
While the value of IT certifications has been debated in the past, recent research has shown that there are definite advantages to both businesses and individuals.
For companies, keeping operational costs in check is essential, especially in challenging and turbulent economic times. To stay in the black, businesses must maximize efficiency and therefore need to ensure a high level of productivity for each and every one of their employees. Requiring IT certifications helps organizations ensure that all of their tech employees actually have the necessary skills and abilities that are vital to their operations. IT certifications provide proven documentation of an IT pro's qualifications. They have also been shown to be helpful in improving efficiency and reducing employee turnover.
On the other side of the coin, when asked if they believed their IT certifications made them more attractive candidates for potential employers, seventy five percent of responding IT professionals answered with a resounding yes. In addition, eighty four percent believe their IT certifications provide them with the necessary skills to better fulfill their job requirements.
Research from IDC has shown that acquiring IT certifications can help tech professionals open additional opportunities in the IT field. Whether they are just looking to start out a in the industry or to advance their career into job roles of greater responsibility, earning IT certifications can help.
Tech personnel who have undergone the necessary training to obtain IT certification are shown to be more knowledgeable about specific technology concepts. They were also found to have greater confidence in handling technology challenges than their non-certified counterparts. And in an industry that is constantly morphing and spinning off new tools and methodologies, the fact that certified IT professionals were able to adapt more easily to changing technologies is a clear advantage.
For employers, this is seen as a major plus. An IDC survey found that company executives obviously appreciate the career dedication shown by individuals willing to undergo the demanding IT certification requirements. It showed that forty percent of tech pros that have acquired IT certification received a promotion within one year of completing their training.
There are many advantages to acquiring IT certifications. Not only do they help bolster an individual's resume, but they have also been shown to encourage higher salaries and assist in improving job retention as well. Making the commitment to earn IT certification can help tech personnel attain valuable technical skills whether they are just starting out in their career or they are seasoned professionals. Taking an IT certification course can expand an IT pros knowledge base and therefore open new opportunities in the IT field.
When looking to hire new employees or promote existing ones, there are a large number of companies that either recommend or specifically require IT certifications for particular job roles. These organizations rely on IT certifications to assist in making hiring decisions because they provide proof of a candidate's qualifications. That is because IT certifications provide industry proven standards of measuring a tech professionals skills and abilities.
Companies are more careful than ever in terms of conforming to budgetary obligations and requiring all departments to meet business goals. As such, they want to ensure that they hire the most qualified employees possible. When it comes to technology professionals, many organizations look not only at a candidate's on the job experience, but also want to see that they have received IT certifications in their particular area of expertise.
That is because a candidate's past work experience at other locations can be subjective. Each company has their own way of doing things. They follow different procedures and have varying expectations. What was deemed acceptable at one organization may not be considered satisfactory at another.
IT certifications provide an impartial measure of a candidate's capabilities. IT certification training is not only thorough but also extremely stringent and therefore provides employers an equal yardstick in which to compare the industry's top IT talent.
Companies today, as a whole, are more customer focused these days. That is because they understand that to remain profitable, it is essential that they retain their client base. In an effort to support this initiative, business executives want to ensure that all of their support staff are well trained and highly skilled.
As such, they are looking to hire top IT talent for their support center and IT helpdesk jobs. One thing these organizations are quickly realizing however is that achieving excellence in service and support requires more than just technical training. To be truly effective in an IT helpdesk job role, tech pros need strong “soft skills”. They need to have solid communication, problem solving, analytical and process management skills. While some of these abilities are innate, IT professionals can hone these talents by enrolling in an IT certification course such as HDI soft skills training. Through this program, students learn communication and listening techniques, proper documentation methods, problem solving and troubleshooting skills, as well as conflict negotiation.
Technical training can provide an opportunity to redefine and advance an IT professional's career. So what does this mean to tech personnel in IT helpdesk jobs in terms of deciding what IT certifications they should acquire? There are several options available. One is the CompTIA A+ certification. This training verifies a technical personnel's ability to diagnose, configure, install, and maintain general IT equipment. It also covers basic networking and security skills. But perhaps most importantly, this IT certification reviews proper and effective communication skills and the stresses the importance of professionalism in all customer service and helpdesk job roles.
While strong communication skills are important in nearly all job roles, they are especially vital for individuals in IT helpdesk jobs. In fact, communication is the cornerstone of the position. In order to correctly analyze a situation, they must work with the individuals involved whether it is external customers or fellow employees and departments.
Ever wonder how new IT certifications are created? The procedure is anything but random. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) closely monitors trends in the IT industry to identify knowledge, skills, and tasks associated with different job roles in the high technology field. They do so by conducting a global survey of project professionals every three to five years. This first step in the process helps the organization determine how to construct the examination specifications. Then results from the study become the blueprints used to create both paper and computer versions of the new exam for each job role.
Once this is completed, credentialed subject matter experts (SMEs) from around the globe collaborate to draft the actual IT certification course exam questions. Then working together, representatives from the ISO and SMEs for the particular topic confer to determine what passing grade scores will be required for tech pros to receive IT certifications.
With tight budgets and strict project expectations, company managers are looking for ways to help ensure the success of their organizational efforts, especially when it comes to expensive technology initiatives. As a result, businesses have a new appreciation for tech pros with Project Management Professional (PMP) IT certifications. They know that high technology personnel that pass these stringent exams have proven their understanding of current processes and terminology. This is because, as part of the requirements, the PMP IT certification course tests an IT personnel's proficiency in management skills as well as their knowledge of efficient workflow procedures. As such, they must prove not only their book knowledge, but also their competence to effectively perform in their role. They need to know what it takes to initiate, execute, and finalize an assignment and this increases productivity as well as the likelihood of a positive outcome. Organizations welcome this expertise and consequently benefit significantly from improved project success rates.
The current economic situation has fueled increased competition in the high tech job market. In response, the industry's top IT talent are realizing that in order to stay relevant and up-to-par, they need to keep their skills up-to-date. One popular strategy IT pros are utilizing to counter this challenge is to pursue IT certifications.
However, there are debates amongst the industry experts as to what the best avenue is to follow. Some argue that taking a vendor specific IT certification course is best while others recommend a more vendor neutral approach. Then again, what may be the best counsel is not to follow blanket advise when it comes to IT certifications because each individual's background varies in terms of their projected career track, past job experience, and previous training. Therefore, simply going after the latest “hot” IT certifications may not be the best option, as it may not provide skills in line with their particular career
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|