My Learning Certification
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Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated…


Is it because certifications are viewed as money-making opportunities for the sponsoring organizations versus  real learning programs with tangible business and career value?  Could be. 


Is it because the economy has tanked and a certification doesn’t mean as much as it once did in terms of job compensation?  Possibly.


More likely it is because today’s IT certifications prepare people for the skills needed for yesterday’s IT environments.   Demands on IT have exploded, forcing IT professionals to think more creatively and more broadly about how the decisions they make impact the entire data center, not just a particular technology silo.  In my view (and remember, my opinions are not necessarily those of my employer) today’s certification programs have content gaps, relevancy gaps, and delivery gaps.


First, content gaps.  According to the 2010 IDC Worldwide IT Education and Training Vendor Report, certifications tend to be product focused and the corresponding certifications are used by vendors to “indicate market readiness for a product.”    No wonder there is a content gap.  IT professionals need to learn about technology solutions that are evolving rapidly to improve enterprise outcomes, not about siloed products as a demonstration for the vendor of market-readiness.


Second, relevancy gaps.  I’ve heard that up to 65% of certifications are paid for by employers.  What company wants to pay for their IT professionals to take certification programs that require them to either a) waste valuable time retraining or retesting on knowledge their employees already possess just to meet certification program requirements, or b) try to utilize a “one size fits all” model of IT education that doesn’t meet their specific business requirements.  Neither of these options is appealing, yet this is exactly what today’s IT certification and training programs do.


Finally, delivery model gaps.  IT certification programs have also lost their allure because they have not kept up with the rapid pace of how information sharing, informal learning, and formal learning have changed with the introduction of new delivery modalities and venues.  Few IT professionals have the time required to complete certification programs in “traditional” ways (e.g. F2F environments), yet the majority of self-study and elearning programs don’t provide the deep technical engagement, simulation, or real-world application that actually promotes learning.


Over the past year and a half, the HP Certification and Learning team has been listening to customers, partners, and our certified community to determine the best next steps for the HP Certified Professional program and how to address the content, relevancy, and delivery model gaps.


More about that next time….

Cert Doctor
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About the Author


Rebekah leads the Global Product Development team for the HP ExpertOne program and has an extensive background in training and human performance improvement. In addition to her work experience, Rebekah earned her Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Training and Performance Improvement in 2006.

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