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Liam Phelan

The win-win of IT certification

How employees and businesses thrive through continuous learning

Introduction: The need for certifications

With the digital environment changing faster than ever, driven by both internal and external forces, IT certification, knowledge, and readiness are more valuable than ever to both the individual employee and the IT organization. Cloud, wireless, hybrid work, advances in data management, security, all demand more nimble, skilled IT teams. Being ready for what’s now and what’s next requires both skill and an attitude that values continual learning.

It starts with a growth mindset

Developing and maintaining what’s called a “growth mindset” is key to organizational and personal success.

A 2020 study by IDC explains that a growth mindset is “a self-belief that competence can be developed through dedication and hard work and a willingness to leverage tools and learnings of others.”1  This is as opposed to a “fixed mindset,” or a belief that talents are primarily innate gifts that are “fixed” and generally unchanging. The study shows that developing a growth mindset is incredibly important to long-term career resilience. Of those with certifications, 91% believe that the effort they put into acquiring new skills strongly contributes to their success – not just the skills themselves.2

That determination pays off. The IDC study estimates that trained and certified teams responsible for core IT activities are almost 20% more productive than less proficient staff.3  Let’s look at how acting on a growth mindset through gaining certifications benefits employees and organizations.

PART I: The benefits of certification to the employee

While it would seem that developing a growth mindset that values continued certification would have benefits to the individual employee, when they are actually quantified, their importance takes on a larger scale. For instance, once a certification candidate sets out a career goal that involves certification—promotion, pay raise, new role—they are far more likely to achieve it. A majority of candidates (70%) successfully fulfilled these primary goals. Only three percent did not.4

Show me the money: The monetary benefits of certification

For those employees who are looking to earn more money, certification is an important part of any plan, with 28% of employees receiving a salary or wage increase after earning a certification.5  Of those earning a raise 50% of candidates receive a pay increase of between 6% to 20%.6  And it happens fast; 55% of those getting raises after certifications get them within three months.7

Personal benefits: Be the tech pro you want to be

Earning certifications can lead to a variety of personal benefits:

  • 91% feel increased confidence
  • 84% get a boost in determination to succeed professionally
  • 75% receive greater respect from their peers
  • 76% achieve greater satisfaction in their jobs
  • 75% are entrusted with more work autonomy and independence

PART II: The Employer Benefits of Certification

When individuals within an organization pursue certifications, the organization as a whole benefits, too. In general, these benefits come from three main areas where organizations benefit from improving skills and knowledge:

Timeliness

Well-trained cloud migration teams meet nearly 90% of their business and project milestones. Compared with less than 50% of milestones met by cloud migration teams at only "average" skill level.

Insight

Nearly all (90%) of the organizations with well-trained teams are satisfied or very satisfied with their ability to monitor, forecast, and optimize server, storage, and network resources. Compared with less than 10% of the organizations with undertrained teams being satisfied with their ability to optimize resources.

Business impact

Of the organizations with teams well trained in automation and orchestration tools, 80% report being satisfied or very satisfied with the business impact of the move to cloud. Only 20% of the organizations without sufficient skills were satisfied with the impact of cloud.8

More specifically, IT teams overwhelmingly report other benefits including:

And it helps when the organization pays. When employers covered the costs for certification, employees were less likely to seek new opportunities outside of the company (74% compared to 87%).9

Finally, what’s the net promoter score of certifications?

When individuals are willing to advise others to do something, they are putting their own reputations on the line. The net promoter score measures participants’ willingness to recommend the service to others—a high bar for any action. Certification earners are remarkably enthusiastic about their experience with 89% of candidates are likely to recommend certification to someone hoping to begin or advance in a technology-related career.10

Sources

  1. IDC White Paper, sponsored by Microsoft, Business Value of Digital Transformation and the Contribution of a Growth Mindset in IT, doc #US46245620, May 2020
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. 2021 Value of IT Certification Report, Pearson Vue, 2020
  5. Ibid
  6. ECA International’s 2020-2021 Salary Trends Survey
  7. Op cit, Pearson Vue
  8. IDC White Paper, sponsored by Microsoft, Leveraging Microsoft Learning Partners for Innovation and Impact, doc #US47225021, January 2021
  9. Op cit, Pearson Vue
  10. Ibid, Pearson Vue

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