The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is developing a new, vendor-neutral certification program. CompTIA is working with industry leaders such as Canon U.S.A., Konica Minolta, Lexmark International, Pitney Bowes, Sharp Electronics, Specialized Solutions and Xerox in developing the certification. It hopes to have the exam available to the public by the end of the year.
The certification will be geared toward entry- to midlevel technicians with six months to a year of experience in the installation, connectivity, maintenance, repair and support of devices in the printing and document imaging industry.
It will validate technical skills related to printers (including inkjet, laser, dot matrix, thermal and solid ink), multifunctional printers, scanners, faxes, copiers, networking, connectivity and color theory.
The impetus behind this certification came from discussion forums sponsored by CompTIA, in which printing and digital imaging companies expressed an industry need for such an exam.
Richard Rysiewicz, CompTIA vice president of services, said that in discussions on this certification between the association and industry, which began several years ago, the concerned parties identified a merging of sorts between the copying, printing and document imaging industry and its technical support base.
“There were two different skill sets out there: one on the network and printing side and the other one on the electromechanical side,” Rysiewicz said. “Those two were merging together with multifunctional devices and things of that nature. So, we took a device agnostic approach to it and said, ‘Realistically, you can’t look at this as a printing or copier or fax or multifunctional device-type certification — it really is about the core technologies behind putting ink to paper, document imaging and digitizing the input and output technologies and support mechanisms you need to understand from a technology, support and service standpoint.’”
For years, the print industry has been seen as in decline, as the easy access of so much information on the Internet, as well as home desktop publishing technology, diminished the need for print and imaging products and services. But Rysiewicz asserts printing is not wholly in decline.
“If you look at the research on the printing and document imaging industry, it’s one of those industries where certain products are in decline, and other products are growing,” Rysiewicz said. “Legacy technologies — fax machines, traditional-type black and white copiers and things of that nature — are obviously starting to slow down. But the high-end stuff: color copiers, multifunctional devices and specialized printers — those areas are actually growing. There is a lot more growth there than people realize.”