Lean Times Bring New Opportunities

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“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt

The past three years have not been kind to the IT industry. Layoffs due to downsizing and mergers have left thousands of capable professionals unemployed. From those who still have jobs, employers are demanding more accomplishments in less time, with fewer resources.

These are indeed difficult times, but before giving way to pessimism, consider the fact that every day, organizations and consumers across the world rely on IT technology. In this 21st century, IT will only become more essential, not less. Certifications can create opportunities during lean times as well as being ideal career builders when the economy is booming.

Help Your Company Succeed and Increase Your Career Value
When sales are slow, companies seek to improve financial performance by becoming more productive. Earning a certification can make a difference to you and your employer because certifications are based on standards and best practices, which can increase productivity. Ask your supervisor where he would find the most value in your department from productivity improvements. Invest in a certification that will support your efforts to make those productivity improvements happen. Explore the potential benefits of improved project management. From the feedback CompTIA is receiving, IT Project+ certification can play an important role. And there is no reason you can’t gather a group of like-minded IT personnel to focus on improvements on a broader scale. What a powerful difference you can make!

Using IT certification to enhance productivity is an appealing message both inside and outside the organization. Companies do what they can to keep good people. You will also improve your marketability by adding a certification or two. And describing your effort on your resume and quantifying productivity improvements will serve you in good stead when talking to prospective employers. All in all, you could make some sharp career moves.

Stay Close to Certification Communities
Stay in touch with the sponsoring organizations for your key certifications. They offer a wealth of insights and connections with other certificate holders. The sponsors have a vested interest in keeping the value of their certifications high, so they offer tips, suggestions and new developments. Magazines, message boards and Web sites all form around groups of certifications. These can be great sources for networking and career ideas, as can teachers and former classmates.

By being involved in a number of certification communities, it is possible not only to identify new productivity-enhancing strategies and solve some persistent problems, but also to bring potential customers and partners to the attention of your employer. Taking the initiative benefits everyone.

Certifications Open Doors
Industries outside of IT are looking for certified professionals to help support their systems. Network professionals, database experts, those with software application expertise and others are in demand in finance, health care, education, insurance, government, aerospace, manufacturing, the military, telecommunications, consumer products and more.

Go to Google and type in a certification you hold and the word “openings.” I think you will be surprised at the variety of companies and situations you discover. IT departments have evolved job roles around certifications. Use your certifications as homing devices to jobs, to customers, to partners, to clients, to creative career ideas.

Certifications as Credit Toward Degree Programs
Many colleges and universities grant college credit for certifications. You may be closer to a degree than you realize. How does holding a bachelor’s in network technology or a master’s in information security sound? Many employers would agree that a candidate holding one of these degrees is definitely worth a look.

Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote, “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” Cast away your doubts about a career in IT and set free your realization of tomorrow’s possibilities.

John A. Venator is president and CEO of CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, the largest global trade association supporting the IT industry. CompTIA has 9,600 corporate members and 10,500 individual professional members.


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