Whatever industry you work in, you are probably guilty of sometimes using jargon and technical detail that is completely unintelligible to people outside your profession. Those of us who work in certification are no different. We love to get into the detail of psychometrics and different test construction methodologies.
It’s great to be passionate about what we do. However, we must be careful to remember that not everyone understands what we’re talking about. Take online proctoring for example. When a certifying organization has been through the process of making the move from physical test centers with in-person proctoring to secure remote testing with online proctoring it’s a big deal. Online proctoring is convenient, it’s flexible, it’s secure – what’s not to like? Of course organizations want to tell their test takers and potential new customers about it.
But do the people they are talking to even know what online proctoring is? And more importantly, do they know why they might benefit from gaining a certification in the first place? We partner with several organizations to deliver IT certification testing, so let’s take this as an example.
Back to basics
If you assume the people you are communicating with know and understand the value offered by your IT certification, you are likely to miss out on new customers. By going straight to the detail – whether it’s course content or test delivery options – you are losing a valuable opportunity to promote your programs and the advantages they offer. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with the basics and clearly explain the benefits.
Even if your audience doesn’t know about your specific IT certification, they will be aware of the credibility that a certificate, designation, or badge conveys. Among professionals within the IT industry, for instance, a certification has been a long standing and very visible demonstration of competence, knowledge, and skills. Demonstrating this value is a good place to start and there are plenty of statistics to back you up:
84% of IT business partners believe certified IT consultants provide better service and support and are more valuable to their clients than non-certified colleagues.i
85% of IT consultants agree that certification represents validation of extensive product and process knowledge.ii
55% of IT managers said certification increases the credibility of IT consultants.iii
Credibility and reputation are of course important, but the value of an IT certification extends to more practical outcomes. The benefits start during the hiring process, where a certification can be a compulsory ticket to entry for many jobs. As a minimum, a certification helps an individual stand out from the crowd and provides a visible point of value to support hiring decisions. Again, statistics back this up. Nearly 78% of certified IT professionals agree they have experienced greater demand for their skills since becoming qualified.iv
The value of a certification continues when an IT professional is in the role. An important benefit for many individuals will be the bonuses and pay raises that often come with an IT certification. In one survey, IT professionals who obtained a new certification saw salary increases of $13,000.v And even if the impact isn’t immediate, in a survey of those who earned an IT certification, 61.9% earned a raise within the first five years and 47.8% received a bonus or incentive pay.vi
Stability and growth
People with an IT certification also tend to remain in that role for longer and experience more job security. Despite the instability seen in many careers during the pandemic, a recent survey of early skills certification holders found that 64% expect to stay in their job, nearly 93% don’t expect a layoff, and 92% don’t expect a pay cut.vii
An IT certification delivers development opportunities beyond the experience an individual is likely to acquire on the job. This leads to enhanced opportunities for career growth and progression, whether someone is new to the profession or more experienced and seeking advanced certification.
An ongoing relationship with a certifying organization also brings opportunities for learning and development. This includes continued access to work-related tools, proprietary information, and peer support networks. It is also a means to keep pace with new technologies and the skill requirements that come with them. IT is a fast-changing industry and staying current is an important benefit for both certified individuals and their employers.
The value of certification extends to organizations that employ certified IT professionals. This is important because the source of funding for an IT certification is often an employer. If a business understands that certified team members are more likely to complete projects, solve problems, and deliver high customer satisfaction, they will see that any financial support or study time is well worth the investment.
Once more, evidence from multiple sources supports a strong business case for organizations to sponsor IT certification:
Fully certified teams met 95% of the clients’ objectives and have an average net promoter score (NPS) score that is 36% higher than partially certified teams’ projects.viii
Almost 70% of IT partner organizations agree that certifications accelerate the implementation of technology and result in higher staff productivity.ix
Market the benefits
There are a whole range of options to get the message out there about the benefits of your IT certification. Think about where your target audience hangs out and target your marketing and advertising efforts in that direction. For example, these could be popular websites or publications for those interested in IT, relevant social media platforms, and professional networks you can tap into. And don’t forget to communicate with existing certificate holders using email, social media, and your website.
This is a great example of a short film from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) that promotes the benefits of their IT certifications, which is shared on the HPE website and across their social media platforms. HPE tests are performance based and assess a test taker’s practical skills without the need to travel to a set location. They are delivered using PSI’s secure remote testing.
Prove the value
There’s a lot of research and evidence out there that proves the value of an IT certification. And there may well be additional benefits specific to your programs. Consider conducting your own research to investigate how your certifications positively impact test takers, their teams, and their employers. And use the results to market, improve, and develop your programs.
Digital transformation is already underway across many industries and those lagging behind are quickly realizing they need to catch up. This is a growing market. Qualified and trusted IT professionals are already in demand and a career in IT is highly regarded and sought after. By demonstrating to existing and new customers the value your IT certification has to offer, you’ll place your organization in the best possible position to take the many opportunities this presents.
i IDC Research, Benefits of Certification for IT Partners and Consultants, 2021.
iii IDC, Four ways Certifications Help Organizations Achieve Their IT Strategies, October 2020.
iv Certification Magazine, January 2021.
v Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report.
vi IT Certification Council, Why Get Certified? The Value of an IT Certification, 2021.
vii Certification Magazine, January 2021.
viii IDC Research, Benefits of Certification for IT Partners and Consultants, 2021.