Continuing the Convergence of IT Education and Certification
by Ed Tittel
I've been watching and reporting on the increasing tendency for IT education programs to incorporate elements of IT certification for years now, and have noticed the pace of convergence picking up over the last three years. Along those lines, there's a fascinating story from Ray Kelly, the CEO of entry-level certification program oriented company CertiPort (about which I've also reported repeated in that same period, by no coincidence whatsoever) up on GoCertify.com entitled "Foundational IT Skills Certification on the Rise."
"In high schools, technical schools, and community colleges, students are increasingly turning to certifications to prove they have the basic IT skills employers now expect."
The story caption from GoCertify captures its basic thesis nicely
Of course, the source of the story — one of the biggest purveyors of so-called "foundational" IT certs around, perhaps second only to CompTIA, but perhaps also the biggest in the world thanks to the size and popularity of the Microsoft Office Specialist credentials which program CertiPort operates for Microsoft — means its author clearly has a vested interest in getting the word out about this kind of thing, too. Nevertheless, I've observed the same kind of thing happening with the Cisco Academy and the Microsoft IT Academy programs as well, both of which enjoy stellar penetration into North American high school and community college systems, with increasing adoption and uptake outside of North America as well.
What do I think this means? I think it means there's going to be an increasing IT certification-based component in ALL IT education and training in the not-so-distant future around the globe. I also think that makes the incorporation of ANSI and ISO training-related standards in such programs (already a requirement in the EU for many certification programs and increasingly for certifications deemed acceptable to the US Government, as with the US FISMA and related FIPS-199 and FIPS-200 documents) will make this kind of thing more routine and commonplace as well.
Do I think it means that my 8-year-old son might encounter certification training before he graduates from high school in 2022? Absolutely, yes. In fact, I'm already aware that my local school district operates Cisco and Microsoft Academy programs itself, as do numerous other school districts here in central Texas. And our community college system (Austin Community College, aka ACC) does likewise, and then some.