Right IT certification, passport to a dream job

The Information Technology (IT) industry has witnessed tremendous growth in the last few decades in India. With the sphere of information and communication technology expanding and evolving with each passing day, students, employees and employers in the domain feel the need to constantly upgrade their skills.

The government’s latest push on Digital India opens up a vast array of employment opportunities for our young graduates. While institutes of higher education are trying their level best to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology environment that is guiding businesses globally, often they fall short of supplying ready to use manpower for the industry.

According to a latest study by CompTIA (The Computing Technology Association), leading not-for profit industry trade body, 85% of Indian IT organisations are concerned over finding enough IT workforce with the right mix of skills. In fact, this is considerably higher than the international average which stands at 66%.

The same study claims that some of the key IT skills that employers are looking for are networking, data centre operations, cyber security and IT infrastructure along with soft skills such as teamwork, customer services and project management.

It is also interesting to observe that 75% of the companies in India reported that there is some level of skill gap which exists within their organisations. One of the key reasons for this skill gap is attributed to the fact that college level IT education does not sufficiently translate to workforce performance. In line with these findings, 58% of the respondents of the study also informed that an industry-certified candidate is more valuable to them, both during evaluation of fresh talent as well looking for experienced worker for lateral hiring.

Our growing economy creates a job market where companies are getting more and more selective about the candidates they hire. Moreover, price pressures from other countries are forcing Indian IT services organisations to restrict the humongous cost that they incur during induction training for fresh hires to take on the job in hand. This is exactly where good IT certification can play an important role in helping you get the job you have always wanted to.

In a dynamic and vast work environ such as information technology, certification is the best way to market your skills. Not only does a reputed IT certification convince employers about your knowledge, competence and set skills, it is fast becoming essential on your CV if you are aspiring for a job with a leading corporate house or an MNC.

Earning the right certification has never been as important in the IT industry as it is today. It not only ensures a promising career for you, it provides you and your organisation a competitive advantage over others. Moreover, it helps you stay relevant and is essential for career progression. It helps not just individuals, but the IT industry at large as it provides employers with a pool of qualified workforce. Besides, a group of certified IT professionals can guide others in the company and share invaluable technical expertise with each other.

Anyone who wants to shift careers and learn new skills can opt for certification. Having an IT certification is a significant advantage in today’s competitive job market. A certification can be actually a qualifier or eligibility criteria for a certain post. When two otherwise equally skilled candidates are pitching for the same job, the one with certification will gain the edge. In fact, a certification is an investment which you make for yourself to reap significant benefits over long-term.

This in turn re-establishes the employer’s faith and makes you an asset for the company. Even if you want to make a career shift or aspire to move into a higher position in your present company, you need to enhance your skills. There is probably no better way to demonstrate this than earning an advance certification.

The IT certifications not only help those looking out for a job but can benefit seasoned professionals as well. For example, if you are into storage or networking, an advanced certification in cloud computing can enrich your profile and help you land a better and more satisfying job. It can even make your present work simpler and more efficient. Be it professional recognition or personal achievement, IT certification is the one-stop answer and is open to people of all age groups.

Kinds of certifications
Industry certifications are generally categorised into vendor certifications and vendor neutral certifications. Vendor technology certifications focus on products and vendor specific technologies such as those from Microsoft and Cisco. Essentially, they teach you the way a specific technology product functions and how to manage or trouble shoot these vendor products. Vendor neutral certification on the other hand focuses purely on conceptual and core competence knowledge rather than specific products.

The advantage of choosing a vendor-neutral certification is its non-proprietary approach to education. Such a certification seeks to ensure highest compatibility and interchangeability. Being accredited by a vendor neutral certification allows the flexibility to work on multiple technologies and adapt to changes more quickly, thereby making the candidate an asset for the organisation. Since most organisations provide their solutions on multiple technology platforms, they require people with generic skillsets offered by vendor neutral certification rather than skilled on one particular brand of technology. Vendor neutral certification should always precede vendor specific certifications.

In fact, vendor-neutral certifications validate a candidate’s unbiased knowledge of the tech principles and are a great way to satisfy employer’s requirements. From acquiring the essential IT skills right up to the advanced cyber security and cloud computing skills, these certifications help train and identify qualified, knowledgeable employees and match them with employer’s requirements.

So, when you show up for an interview with a good IT certification under your belt, the employer knows that you not only have the right skills for the job, but also possess a proven measure of your knowledge in the shape of a certification and that you are committed to continued learning and self-development.

(The writer is Regional Director, CompTIA, which represents the information technology industry)

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