The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection and goal-setting. This is when we look back on the achievements we made in 2019 to see how we have learned and grown as a person. This is also when we look forward to 2020 and envision how we can continue to improve and add value. For many IT professionals, including myself, this includes working towards and maintaining certifications.
When I first started in IT having on the job experience was usually sufficient to prove you knew what you were talking about but that is no longer the case. In fact, a 2019 report from Global Knowledge, said that 93% of IT decision-makers believe a certified team member adds value above and beyond the cost of the certification–up from 35% in 2008. Source
Why the drastic change in attitude in just over ten years? The answer is that technology is more critical than ever for businesses. Speed to market, performance load-time, ease of use, and uptime are all make or break issues in today’s competitive world. The cost of mistakes and delays in building and supporting technologies can result in unhappy customers that take their business elsewhere.
Certified employees can help mitigate the risk of technology delays in three key ways.
- Certification Validates IT Skills
The most common benefit of certification is that it validates a person’s IT skills. It proves without a doubt that they are familiar with the key elements of the technology or process. This reduces onboarding time for new hires. It also ensures better collaboration for team members because everyone is using the same terminology and knows the same techniques.
It’s usually easy to tell when I am working with people that have not taken any training or courses towards certification. Unfortunately, bringing non-certified team members up to speed slows the overall team down.
2. Certification Ensures Current Job Skills
Having an up-to-date certification ensures that an employee’s critical job skills are current. Virtually all certifications require some sort of regular maintenance or recertification effort so she or he is aware of the latest enhancements and capabilities. Companies benefit when their employees are able to apply the latest techniques and tools.
I can personally attest that I learn something new every time I study for a maintenance exam. This is the knowledge that could otherwise be missed resulting in using outdated techniques.
3. Certified People Make Great Employees
Lastly, because certifications take a great deal of time and effort to earn, it demonstrates that she or he has initiative and a growth mindset. These are key characteristics that all managers want in their team members.
I find that certified IT folks generally never settle for the status quo. Just like they strive to improve themselves they are constantly pushing new and innovative ideas to improve the programs they are building.
As you can see IT Certifications benefit both the employer and the employee.
When I think about certifications and the value they bring I cannot help but think about something Thomas Jefferson once wrote: “knowledge is power, knowledge is safety and knowledge is happiness”. Source Certifications give the gift of knowledge to its holders and what better way to plan for 2020 than to strive towards power, safety, and happiness?
Cheers to 2020!