Hail to the Chiefs

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Journalists are supposed to detach themselves and report things from afar, keeping opinions to themselves and personal beliefs at arm’s length. Often that’s an easy hurdle to clear, but sometimes something happens, and humanity closes the gap of journalistic distance.

That being said, let me tell you about CompTIA and the President of the United States, and what they’re doing for you.

As I’m sure you know, CompTIA is the Computing Technology Industry Association, the organization behind such successful certification programs as A+ and Security+. CompTIA has been a good friend to the IT industry in many different ways, not the least of which has been putting a face and name on the phrase “IT professional.”

Now let me tell you about two influential men. Well, three actually.

John Venator is president and CEO of CompTIA, and also a CertMag columnist, writing the “Perspectives” piece in alternating issues. Then there’s Martin Bean, the CertMag “Final Thoughts” columnist whose day job is chief operating officer of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. And finally, there’s President George W. Bush, no introduction necessary.

Three executives stationed around the country, each with missions to accomplish and responsibilities to meet. What’s the connection? You are.

The three leaders came together, virtually at least, in late January, on the heels of Bush’s State of the Union address. Bush winged to Mesa Community College in Arizona the following day, where he joined Martin Bean to unveil the National IT Apprenticeship System (NITAS), a joint effort of CompTIA and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Venator, wrapped up at a CompTIA conference, watched proudly from Florida. It’s only right he did; NITAS represents the latest effort by CompTIA to grow the IT industry. In this case, Bush is proposing an allocation of $250 million in funding for community colleges and other organizations to help develop future IT professionals. That’s good news for everyone, even those who’ve already developed their skills. Right now, government estimates put the IT workforce at 10.3 million people, and some IT specialties are expected to double in demand by 2010. Speaking metaphorically, today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s workforce and next week’s business leaders. (For more on NITAS, visit www.nitas.us and read Bean’s “Final Thoughts.”)

Fourteen years ago, Venator told CertMag, CompTIA set out to get involved in public policy and create a presence in Washington for the needs of computing professionals. With this latest example, that’s just what they’ve done.

Keeping journalistic distance? A good thing, by and large. But sometimes, it’s only fair that you stand up and applaud.

Tim Sosbe

Editorial Director



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