Historically, developing nations have tended to be more passionate about the benefits of IT certification than the more mature economies of the West. Emerging countries have led the way in driving programme adoption and in the results achieved by candidates. As a result, employees in these regions have competed for jobs on a more equal footing with their peers in mature Western economies and are now often at a competitive advantage.Emerging markets set the pace
The United States still has the largest IT certification market in the world. And the developed world still has a measure of control over the process generally. Internationally, businesses and their employees are still implementing technology services and products that originate primarily from western countries. This in turn helps to create an international market for certifications that are accepted in the West.
Nevertheless growth in certifications is rapid in the BRIC economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China and in Eastern Europe – regions where the overall expansion of the IT market has accelerated dramatically over recent years.
When Autodesk’s own scheme got under way in China, 89,000 people were certified in the first year. Enthusiasm in Poland, where Autodesk certification was recently launched is also high.
Enthusiasm for IT certification is also strong in many of the tiger economies of South-East Asia, where exam passes and qualifications of all types are highly sought after and seen as fundamental to the hiring process. As all of these countries continue to ramp up their IT services and applications development markets, growth in the demand for IT certification is expected to continue to climb.
Businesses in mature economies need to respond to this threat and ensure employees have fully validated their skills. Engaging with training and certification schemes now will help win a competitive edge against companies from emerging regions that endorse certification and have large numbers of employees registered on these schemes. Businesses that engage can guarantee that when they tender for large projects potential customers will take certifications into account.
We are seeing a positive change. Western enterprises and their staff are becoming proactive in countering the threat 19from emerging markets as competition has intensified and the economic pressures caused by the downturn have started to bite. There is a growing understanding that certification can provide a key validation that individuals have the core skills they need in the products that they use daily.Mature economies fighting back
Economic conditions, pressure from developing markets and from large corporates bidding for business are just part of the explanation for the renewed interest in certification shown by mature markets. Today, universities and colleges are becoming more sophisticated in terms of the technical courses they run. Many offer a practical range of vocational and industry oriented programmes. As a result, students graduate with higher levels of technology skills, putting greater pressure on the existing workforce to be competitive and further fuelling interest in technical certification.
There is also, particularly among more experienced users, a strong element of competitiveness that drives uptake of certification schemes – especially where groups of colleagues attend the same event. Candidates enjoy the kudos, the sense of personal satisfaction and pride that goes with exam success and like to compare themselves favourably with their peers.A global perspective
While the battle between companies operating in emerging and mature markets continues, many companies today operate in a global context. They may be off-shoring work or they may be multinational corporations with many international operations. So while employees can play their role in the struggle between businesses from mature and emerging economies, they are also part of the global economy.
That global consistency benefits employers by giving them a measurement of a member of staff’s technical expertise but it also has significant advantages for employees. An individual passing a certification exam in India has the same qualification as an employee passing the scheme in the UK and the same benefits apply wherever in the world that member of staff is based. This is where international certification programmes score points over national, locally branded schemes. Holding your own
Ultimately, many of the benefits of IT certification programmes relate to enhanced competitive edge. This extends far beyond corporations from mature markets battling for advantage over businesses based in emerging economies. It is just as much about employees competing for advantage over their peers in the job market whether as part of an international battle, or experienced staff taking on the challenge offered by university graduates with all the latest technical skills.
The growing success of certification schemes and associated training programmes across the world demonstrates clearly how key the achievement of excellence is and that the need for certification will become ever more critical.Don Carlson
Don Carlson is drector of Strategic Education Programs at Autodesk, a role which he has held since early 2010. In this post, his key objective is to use Autodesk’s innovative programs, communication and scalable delivery methods to help improve the awareness and increase the use of Autodesk technology by students and educators worldwide. He aims to support the company’s vision to inspire and prepare more students to imagine, design, and create a better world with Autodesk technology than any other brand in design, engineering, and entertainment.Autodesk Inc
Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries use Autodesk software to design, visualise, and simulate their ideas.
For further information, visit: www.autodesk.co.uk