Many certification programs and pathways available today help enhance the knowledge and skills of practicing IT professionals. The problem is, there’s so much demand for IT workers at every level and in every industry that the pool of candidates with necessary skills to plug into these programs simply isn’t sufficient.
A lot of companies right now are struggling to find people with tech talent. The IT Specialist Certification helps broaden the pool of people with the qualifications and basic IT skills to start or switch to a career in the tech space.
— Shawn Moon, a director at Certiport, a Pearson VUE business
That’s where the IT Specialist Certification comes in.
The program was developed specifically to help fill the IT pipeline with entry-level qualified candidates, even those with zero experience in IT.
“A lot of companies right now are struggling to find people with tech talent,” says Shawn Moon, a director at Certiport, a Pearson VUE business. “The IT Specialist Certification helps broaden the pool of people with the qualifications and basic IT skills to start or switch to a career in the tech space.”
Most credentials on the market today, he says, are based on teaching higher-level skills for specific platforms like Microsoft Azure or AWS, among others. But the industry is so desperate for skilled entry-level IT workers that a “vendor agnostic” certification like IT Specialist has been embraced by credentialing organizations all over the world. These include:
CertNexus - This vendor-neutral certification body provides technology certifications and micro-credentials for business, data, developer, IT and security professionals. The CertNexus mission is to help close the global tech skills gap with certification pathways in emerging technologies such as cybersecurity, data science, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Its certifications have been IT industry standards for many years.
Cisco Networking Academy - Through its public-private partnerships, high-quality curriculum, and workforce development programs, the Cisco Networking Academy has offered digital skills training for more than 25 years. Its popular Skills for All program provides free online learning opportunities that help connect learners to entry-level jobs and career resources.
ISTE Seal of Alignment - Adopted in 50 U.S. states and many countries around the world, ISTE Standards are a trusted guide for using technology effectively in schools worldwide. Grounded in learning science research and practitioner experience, ISTE standards reflect the latest research-based best practices for using technology to learn, teach, lead and coach.
Business Professionals of America (BPA) - The largest Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) in the country, BPA provides skill development for students in business management, information technology, finance, office administration, health administration and other business-related fields. The organization supports business and information technology educators with co-curricular exercises based on national standards.
Pearson - With more than 20,000 employees in 70 countries worldwide, Pearson is the world’s leading learning company. Its world-class educational content and assessment systems have been developed over a long history of working closely with teachers, employers, learners, researchers, authors and thought leaders.
Filling the pipeline
"There are 15 IT Specialist Certifications available today,” says Moon, “reflecting the diverse needs of the industry.” These span the following topics:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cloud Computing
- Computational Thinking
- Data Analytics
- Device Configuration and Management
- HTML5 App Development
- HTML and CSS
- Network Security
- Software Development
In addition to the certification, learners also earn a digital badge they can post on their online and social profiles.
The IT Specialist Certification is a great way to find talented people without formal educations, Moon says. People with the certification have proven they have the skills and knowledge to handle the basic requirements of a typical IT environment.
“It proves they’re worthy of a shot,” says Moon.
Right now, that’s all the IT industry is asking for.