Why Certifications Matter

by Granville Triumph

In many industries, a professional certification or license shows that you have the minimal educational background and experience necessary to offer a service. It’s a basic legal requirement.

IT is not one of those industries. First, unlike legal, medical, financial and many other professional services, no certification is required by a government agency or industry association. Many types of certifications do exist, but the responsibility lies with IT companies to educate and train their employees.

In the world of IT, A+ certification indicates general installation and customization knowledge, but it’s usually the software and hardware vendors – Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and others – that offer certification to companies that install, maintain and service their products. More than basic competence, IT certifications are proof of true expertise.

Other companies may provide these services, but only certified IT professionals have completed the highest level of training on these specific products and services, enabling them to solve more problems more quickly and more effectively. This is critical when choosing an IT firm to help you with such a critical part of your business strategy.

Not only is it important for your IT firm to employ certified professionals, but those certifications must be kept up to date. Computer hardware and software are constantly evolving, as are the business uses for this technology.

For example, someone who is certified on a 2007 Microsoft product may not know everything there is to know about the 2013 version. In 2007, the iPhone was just being introduced and there was no iPad. In 2013, the BYOD movement is making mobile devices a staple of every corporate network. Keeping certifications current is imperative.

Current IT certification is more than a piece of paper that documents a certain level of knowledge. It shows a professional is committed to a career in IT and has the initiative to stay up to speed on the latest technology. It also shows a commitment from that professional’s employer to offer the best possible services to its customers and valuable growth opportunities to its employees.

While certification is a critical part of the IT equation, it’s not the only part. Passing tests and performing in the field are two very different things. A successful IT professional must look beyond the technology and understand how it affects real businesses and real people. Similarly, the IT firm as a whole must embrace a culture centered on customer service and problem solving.

To empower the employees in my IT firm to excel at customer service and reward outstanding achievement and dedication to our “Always Clients First” model, I recently instituted new training and awards programs. Our business is built on customer service and satisfaction, and these programs reinforce that core belief and our investment in career advancement for our employees. This investment only enhances how we serve our customers.

The right IT firm can dramatically improve how you do business. Just make sure the firm you choose has the right combination of up-to-date certifications and a genuine commitment to customer service.

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