The Evolution of the IT Specialist - Page 2

Jul 7, 2008

James de Raeve

Companies today need the flexibility to respond to market conditions regardless of geography, time zones and organizational structures. They need to increase the performance of both systems and personnel so they can collaborate with each other. They need infrastructures that are supported by open and interoperable standards. In order to achieve these things, companies need a guarantee that they’re hiring IT specialists who possess the proper abilities, experience and skills.


A CIO or enterprise architect building a team needs to be able to look for IT specialists whose experience meets an accepted set of professional standards. When hiring accountants or lawyers, a business looks at certain credentials from educational background to board certification. CIOs and HR are just now beginning to exercise the same kind of rigor for IT specialists. For example, large IT consulting firms like IBM and Capgemini and their clients are increasingly looking to certification programs for their IT specialists.


Why Certify?


While industry certification programs do offer some level of assurance, the vast majority aren’t a good indicator of one’s ability to execute because they measure book knowledge, not job experience. Joe Certification might look great on paper, but lack the real world experience and communication skills to get the job done right.


Standardized skills and experience based certification, on the other hand, benefits both IT specialist practitioners as well as the companies that employ them. For the IT specialists themselves, certification against an open, global standard can help provide a path for career development and credentials that will be recognized and accepted worldwide. This class of certification also allows IT specialists membership in a community of peers that share the same skills and background, values and standards within their profession— akin to a certified accountant or licensed MD.


Business and IT people can’t afford to work in situations where there are distinct divisions between the “suits” and the “geeks” anymore. Today, both systems and people must be interdependent, collaborative, and interoperable. The success of IT-enabled business depends on the skills and experience of certified IT specialists who can work on both sides of the aisle.


James de Raeve is the vice president of Certification for The Open Group, overseeing all certification and testing programs, including the popular TOGAF certification, IT Architect Certification (ITAC) and the new IT specialist Certification (ITSC) program.


Brian Mitsuki is Americas IT Specialist Profession leader for IBM. In this role he is responsible for the development, growth and vitality of the IT specialist profession across both Latin America and North America which has an IT specialist population of over 17,000 people.


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