Types of Certifications

The information technology environment is one of rapid dynamic change, driven by new and evolving technologies. Consequently, IT Architects face an incessant need to keep their skill portfolios marketable. According to the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide for IT Professionals, the top hiring trends for 2015 and beyond are Mobile, Big Data and Security. Internet of Things making a close forth in the hiring trend. With this hiring need comes a focus on certification, knowledge and experience.

Certification is a useful tool for enhancing and validating IT professionals’ skill portfolios and can play an important key role in the hiring process.

Personal pride, professional growth, and increased compensation are the most popular reasons why professionals seek certifications. There are two distinct types of certifications:

1) Training based certifications – individual demonstrates a minimal level of competence through successful completion of a sampling-performance measurement tool based on a profession’s set of standards. Most of the time these types of certifications are vendor specific or framework specific.  This type of certification can only test you have obtained a certain level of knowledge, not how best to use it or when not to use it.  This is one of the areas that the next level of certification comes in.

2) Experienced based certifications – This certification should be profession-controlled or vendor-neutral (more objective, less vulnerable to market pressure, often seen as more broad-spectrum long-term expertise) certifications. These types of certifications are usually peer based review boards coupled with knowledge documentation.

The Impact

To select the right people, CIO’s and hiring managers must understand the most important competencies to seek in IT architect candidates. They need the option to look for IT architects whose experience meets an accepted set of professional standards. We have observed that the wrong people attempting to apply the right process will still struggle to make it work. It is critical to spend time engaging the right people for this important function. This is fueling the trend for hiring professionally certified IT architects.

When hiring an architect that has an experienced based credential, the impact on the project, team and/or company can be significant. The benefits for the employer include; higher level of credibility, increased consistency and higher productivity. Those companies that hire these individuals also gain a competitive advantage and those individuals can usually hit the ground running. We are seeing a growing trend in a requirement for these types of certifications from Fortune 500 and 1000’s companies especially over the last year.

Benefits for the individual that holds these credentials are increased compensation, job security, ability to prepare and ramp up for a new position quicker, to name a few.

Personal Certification Goals

Focus on goals you can accomplish. When setting career goals, make sure the objectives you strive for are realistic. You’re likely to do little more than spin your wheels if, for instance, your goal is to become a CIO within three years if your career is well-advanced, yet you have little management experience under your belt. The goals you set should be challenging but not so much so that you frustrate yourself by trying to reach an impossible target.

Set several goals. It’s good to always have at least two goals at a time: one short-term goal and one long-term objective. Your short-term goal should be reachable within a few months. Ideally, the two objectives should be complementary.

Build momentum.
The biggest hurdle IT Architects face when working toward their career goals is losing momentum. One way to keep momentum high is to break larger goals into smaller components.

For example, if you want to add 20 new contacts to your professional network within six months, your first steps may be to increase your visibility by joining a professional association and updating your online networking profiles.

No matter your professional goals, a mentor or coach that has “been there done that” is one of the best decisions you can make. This should be a symbiotic relationship. Your mentor/coach should be in a position in which you wish to be in and would consider your peer when in that role. The mentor should have the time and already be looking to pass on his/her knowledge.

Click below for the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide for IT Professionals

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