Friday, May 13, 2011

Certification Validates Skills

Sometimes IT students wonder why certification is important. Why does it matter if they’re already getting a degree or diploma in IT, they ask. Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco, answered that question this week:
Certification meets the needs of IT professionals by allowing them to gain valuable resources and skills necessary in the work place, then validating those skills. Certification validates skills necessary for various job roles. Certification also provides a competitive differentiator for employers.

Certification validates skills, she said. A student is taught many concepts in IT education, but an employer may not know exactly what skills a new graduate has unless the graduate also holds a certification. Certification standardizes the measurement of skills. For example, if a graduate holds A+ certification, an employer knows exactly what skills the graduate has been tested on and successfully passed.

Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offers IT diplomas, certificates, and associate’s degrees, as well as courses for non-degree-seeking students. In the non-degree course are adults who want career retraining, others who simply want to learn more about troubleshooting and repairing computers, and many who take the course specifically for certification training because some employers will not hire them without certification.
Steve Bowker, HACC instructor, explained that while many of his students have a practical understanding of computers, even a box store like Best Buy may not hire them without formal training or certification. Bowker’s course at HACC provides training for CompTIA certifications A+, Network+, and Security+, giving students the opportunity to gain credentials they need to find jobs in IT.

Bowker uses TestOut’s LabSim training to prepare his students for certification. He explained that since requiring his students to train with TestOut, Bowker’s students have had a 100% pass rate on certification exams—on the first try. After they achieve certification, Bowker asks them what really helped them the most to pass the test. Bowker said, “I ask them, ‘Was it TestOut’s training combined with a textbook?’ They tell me the instructor-led class was great to answer questions, but TestOut’s videos and labs really put them over the top.”

With certification, students have industry-recognized credentials that validate their skills. Instructors, have your students experienced greater career success after gaining certification?

No comments:

Post a Comment