Time to Support Easy Access of Knowledge, Certifications
Ajeet Singh, PMP

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Technology advancement in the past one decade has opened up newer knowledge areas than ever before. The impact of this revolution is that knowledge acquisition has become critical, defying what Einstein had once said. The demand is particularly strong for IT certifications and trainings.

Why is there a demand for certifications?
Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs didn’t need formal education, coaching, or certifications to rise and make a difference. But that argument doesn’t apply to the average professional. Certifications provide professionals an opportunity to test their mettle and stay competent in the industry.

But before opting for a certification, remember what Swami Vivekananda had said, “Learn to see things in the proper light. First, believe that there is a meaning behind everything.” The human mind tends to jump to assumptions rather than going beyond the facts. It is important to understand what a certification can do for you in your career.

Increased recognition: CompTIA, a non-profit organization, conducts studies on IT training and certification demands. A report published in March 2015 by CompTIA, HR Perceptions of IT Training and Certification, reveals that 94 percent of HR executives believe that the importance of IT certifications will grow in the next two years. The study also finds that on an average 65 percent of employers finds IT certifications valuable and uses them as criteria for job roles.

What certifications test: Certifications are not only a test of knowledge and experience in the field but these are also a test of one’s intelligence, perseverance, and decision making ability.

Exam questions challenge different aspects of candidates. Difficult questions test their patience and will power to not get frustrated, and be calm when faced with the unfamiliar. Similarly, choosing the right answer from multiple choices is a test of the candidate’s decision making ability.

What certifications empower: Only someone who has earned a certification can understand the feeling associated with having passed the test. The approval from the certification body boosts the morale of candidates, providing additional confidence in dealing with clients and supervisors. It also makes a case for them as they move up to the next level at work, which has in fact been set as a prerequisite by some organizations.

Some certification bodies offer free subscription of their resources and platforms to connect with the professional community, which is also an opportunity for continuous knowledge upgrade.

What it reflects: Certification is a reflection of one’s progressive thoughts and awareness of industry trends. It is a demonstration of the professional’s passion to learn, take chances, and move ahead in one’s career.

What it sells: Certification recognizes a professional in the knowledge areas set up by esteemed organizations such as PMI, ASQ, and others, which brings credibility to the profile.

Making Knowledge for All Easy
However, certification training is often expensive, which prevents many from accessing that knowledge and career boost. Training providers must look at ways to make it affordable, and thus democratize knowledge gain.

In the case of emerging technologies, the cost of training is high even when those technologies are still evolving. Professionals often rush for these trainings by paying higher fees, expecting high returns. There are some simple ways in which training cost can be brought down. For example, a full day workshop can have the option of a simple meal which will bring the cost down.

This is an era of transformation, and the knowledge industry must standardize training to align itself to industry needs. Some common areas of specialization now are DevOps, digital transformation, and big data. But there are different interpretations for similar subjects under these specializations, which tend to confuse those seeking training. There is a need for a body that authenticates the content before it is published.

Another area of significance is knowledge experimentation and continuity. Individual efforts to learn and work on newer areas must be supported by organizations. There is a need to highlight and mitigate the risk of transition from one set of skills to the other. By supporting individuals this way, organizations will contribute greatly to job satisfaction, creating a multi-skilled workforce and employee retention.

(Ajeet Singh, PMP, is a project manager with Cognizant Technology Solution. He has 15 years of IT experience in software testing and development.)

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