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What is Best for Your Career and Your Company: IT Training vs. Professional Certification, Part 2

Tim Wright By Tim Wright Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell Technologies Education Services July 28, 2020

Part 1 of this three-part series explored the knowledge and performance benefits that professional IT certification provides. In Part 2, we will look more closely at how that certification offers advantages to the company. An organization that recognizes the benefits certification offers is more likely to make certification part of its hiring and employment strategy.

What’s Good for the Company

There is widespread agreement in the IT industry that an IT staff comprised of certified professionals delivers more value to the company than does a staff not so accredited. Your understanding and articulation that your certification benefits both you and the company create mutual appreciation.

More than four years ago, International Data Corporation reported on IT optimization, which is even more relevant today:

While the technical infrastructure to meet these [digital transformation] objectives is important, equally important are the management practices to enable a high-performing IT organization and a well-skilled IT workforce. A well-skilled IT workforce is the combination of people, skills, and competencies that play a role in IT-enabled operations… To create resilience, increase value and innovation, and optimize the IT and staff spending, high-performing IT organizations must seek to maximize the skill of their employees by leveraging a robust training and development program that includes IT certification.,1

The rapid technological transformation, especially the digitalization across all industries, make that reliance on certification a projected reality through this decade. Global Knowledge’s 2019 IT Skills and Salary report states that 93% of IT decision-makers credit certification with value greater than its cost. In light of technological advances, that belief will not likely change.

What benefits accrue to organizations that adopt a strategy to maximize employees’ skills by requiring professional certification? Let’s explore two factors consistently on the minds of business leaders in the 21st Century: customer satisfaction and digital transformation.

Certification Drives Customer Attraction

Customers naturally choose to associate with quality organizations, identifying that quality in what they purchase and in the employees who produce, provide and service the product. Therefore, customers who know an organization validates IT professionals by certification are drawn to such an organization.

Consider companies that publicize their employees’ certifications to demonstrate that quality. Customer awareness of professional certifications gives IT services companies a head-start in customer attraction and satisfaction.

From an insider’s perspective, Karen Person, Regional Manager with Spherion, has seen

[employers] use certifications as a selling tool to their [customers]. In other words, the fact that their technical employees hold specific certifications is part of a value proposition that they use in an increasingly competitive marketplace.2

The increased “professional credibility” experienced by 91% of those with IT certification transmits to the customer confidence, professionalism, and competence (Pearson Vue’s 2018 Value of IT Certification).

Certification Supports Digital Transformation

Today’s technological transformation makes the combination of digital competence, technical knowledge, and people skills critical for almost every organization. A quality IT certification program promotes that combination. Certification requires intense focus on responsibilities and applications within technology domains. These include machine learning, big data analytics, cloud computing, change management, digital security, and leadership development. The efficiency, knowledge and focus gained from executing a 21st century IT certification strategy facilitates companies’ digital journey.

Tying It All Together

A professional certification strategy that supports an IT workforce benefits you and your company. As shared in the first article in the series, certification generates a greater level of knowledge, which generates increased skills, knowledge application, and productivity you can provide your company. Here we’ve explored two key benefits – customer attraction and satisfaction, and successful digital transformation – that companies gain from requiring and/or providing IT certification for employees.

Dell Technologies’ Proven Professional certification series thoroughly covers skills, knowledge and application. Our third article in this series looks at how hiring and the work culture are impacted by professional certification vs. IT training.

Sources

  1. “The Business Value of IT Certification.” Cushing Anderson, Matthew Marden, Randy Perry. Nov. 2015. IDC
  2. “Work experience vs. certifications – what do employers look for?”. Linda Leung. Net Network World. Jun. 21,2016.
  3. Pearson Vue. 208 Value of IT Certification. 2019.
Tim Wright

About Tim Wright


Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell Technologies Education Services

Tim Wright joined Dell EMC, now Dell Technologies, in 2013 as Consultant-Professional Development in the then GSD L&D organization. His focus initially was on providing professional/personal skills improvement resources for members of the training delivery organization. That soon expanded to Tim’s development of a series of virtual instructor-led professional development courses that ran successfully for the SDS organization.

After teaching middle school for 13 years—to individuals now in their late 40s and early 50s!—Tim navigated to corporate training and development. He’s been at it as the industry’s changed its name from “corporate training” to “training and development” to “corporate learning” to “L&D” to “digital learning”….. His focus has always been in the area of interpersonal skills: professional development, soft skills, generic training. Whether communication skills or team building or leadership development or problem-solving and decision-making, Tim’s passion is helping people discover ways to improve their performance while increasing enjoyment of what they do.

As much as possible, Tim enjoys a 40-40-20 approach to his work. Ideally, he spends 40% of his time interacting with stakeholders to engage in the observation-interview-empathize segments of Design Thinking. The next 40% continues DT practices of prototyping, sharing with stakeholders, testing. The last 20% is the delivery or iteration where failure is discovered as the fastest step to improvement. He even envisions a project that allows him to fit that formula into a 5 day week: M-T is design, W-T is development, F is delivery.

Tim’s pretty much given up running for long-distance walking/hiking. His golf game is improving. He journals like crazy and is always working on another poem.

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