Struggling Economy Increases Competition Among Job Candidates

Dear Techie,

Do certifications such as MOS and IT certifications in general help in an economy like this? How do you make sense of jobs going to India? I think getting a MOS certification would help me. However, my company does not seem to honor that. The problem is I have not used much of what I learned.

–Cynthia

Ken Wagner:

I will answer your questions one at a time, based on my own experiences and views.

“Do certifications such as MOS and IT certifications in general help in an economy like this?”

Any certification or credential will help in this or any economy. Coupled with experience, soft skills and personality, they will give you an edge over an unqualified person.

“How do you make sense of jobs going to India?”

I cannot comment on specifics; however, generally, there are both pros and cons organizations face when dealing with offshoring.

Some of the pros are: Pay rates can be cheaper, and therefore more competitive, due to the lower cost of living abroad. Also, in a lot of developing countries — especially when unemployment is high — people are pushed to gain more skills and certifications in order to gain employment. So their technical knowledge and skills are higher.

Some of the cons are: A company needs to control its quality standards, and with offshoring, a lot of companies can’t. It will see an increased language barrier, not only with general communication but also regional. There are also security issues. There have been a few cases recently in which companies that offshored have lost confidential data.

If you’re going to stay with your current employer, then first of all, I would recommend doing a certification track that it recognizes as a benefit, especially if you want promotion in that company. If you’re going to leave in the near future, then go ahead and get qualified with certifications that are more likely to benefit you with other companies.

Wayne Anderson:

As with any certification, the value of the certification at the company you are applying to or already working for depends on the recruiting process and your level of experience and credentialing in the industry. If you are at the top of the competitive pool for a promotion or to be hired at a company, then certifications become a differentiating factor. If you are not yet at the top of the pool, certifications can put you higher on that list but may not make you the ultimate candidate to get the promotion or the job.

Outsourcing to India has been a mixed bag, and a lot of its impact depends on where you are in the industry. If your job is as first-line help-desk support or office specialist, something of that nature, your position may be more vulnerable to pay reductions because market forces have to balance, and the demand for your role onshore may no longer sustain a higher salary. In some industries, it has allowed more senior professionals to focus more granularly on being an expert. In the training arena, for example, I have seen much of actual course production at Microsoft and similar vendors go overseas. The folks who used to have that job in the U.S. often end up becoming onshore liaisons between the experts and organization supporting the content and the folks developing it. Through outsourcing some of the old work, these folks have found a more capability-focused position.

Wayne Anderson is a highly certified instructional consultant and the certification lead for Avanade, a global Microsoft consultancy. Ken Wagner is an IT network manager and part-time IT lecturer in the United Kingdom. He has lived in the United States, Asia and Europe. To pose a question to Ken and Wayne, send an e-mail to DearTechie@certmag.com.

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Wayne Anderson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wayne Anderson (@NoCo_Architect) is an Infrastructure Managed Services Architect with Avanade, a company that helps customers realize results in a digital world through business technology solutions and managed services that combine insight, innovation and expertise focused on Microsoft® technologies. He has completed more than 30 Microsoft certifications in his career alongside credentials from CompTIA and other industry vendors. Mr. Anderson’s past roles include management of global certification with Avanade, as well as focus in information security and architecture.

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