IT certification matters

Certification is growing in importance, but recruiters in different countries view it differently.

There are employers who are more inclined to hire an IT professional certified in a particular technology, and there are those recruiters who don't think much of certification.

Employers, who emphasize certification, see it as a validation of a person's technology skills.

Ramesh Nava, vice president and general manager for Asia-Pacific, Thomson Prometric, which provides IT training and certification, said: "The benefits [of certification] in Asia are similar and consistent with the U.S. and U.K.. However, in Asia, the benefit is more obvious and seen as a way for organizations to verify the competency level of staff against global standards."

"In outsourcing, service providers look at certification as a quality assurance to secure contracts with global corporations."
--Ramesh Nava,
Thomson Prometric

With IT centers that service global corporations growing in Asia, using IT certified professionals is the best way to ensure that competency levels of IT workers meet global standards and benchmarks, Nava added.

He also said that IT professionals may also find that certification helps them secure better positions--and salaries--in reputable organizations.

"In outsourcing, service providers look at certification as a quality assurance to secure contracts with global corporations", Nava added.

Different markets in Asia view certification differently. For example, certification in basic office tools is a requirement in Korea and Japan as it is viewed as proof of competencies and skills, said Nava. In India and China, however, being IT certified is "a means to securing better jobs", he noted.

Higher pursuit
So, which types of certification should one pursue?

"The easiest way to validate valuable IT certifications is to look at job openings and the stated qualifications required," said Saw Ken Wye, president for Southeast Asia, Microsoft.

Vendor related certifications from companies like Cisco, Oracle, Sun and Microsoft are often in demand as "knowing how to use a product is a marketable expertise", said Saw.

"[Professional IT certification] is more precise than, say, a general degree and lets the employer know that one has attained a certain level of proficiency in working with or using that product," Saw added.

"The easiest way to validate valuable IT certifications is to look at job openings and the stated qualifications required."
--Saw Ken Wye,
Microsoft

"As the world is getting 'flatter', the ability to differentiate becomes more important. Certification programmes that are recognized globally will, therefore, be most in demand," Saw added.

Other certification programmes that are getting more recognition now include those for specific competencies, for example, in IT security.

Certification in project management is also gaining in popularity. "Project management experience is so wide and varied that a standardized way of benchmarking a person's abilities is needed," said Saw.

Certified IT Project Manager (CITPM) is popular in Singapore. "If you check the newspapers for vacancies in project manager positions, CITPM will be asked for in at least eight out of 10 roles," Saw noted.

Certification for process competencies like Project Management Professional (PMP) and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which builds knowledge and competencies in IT service management, are also emerging in Asia, Nava said.

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