How Professional Certification Counters the Increasing IT Talent Crunch – Part 2

Tim Wright By Tim Wright Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell Technologies Education Services August 29, 2019

As discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, the global IT industry faces a talent shortage of 4.3 million jobs by 2030 – 4.3 million! Increased utilization of professional certification, however, can effectively counter that crunch. In addition to providing more qualified professionals to fill those jobs, certification delivers further benefits for three distinct audiences: Customers, Organizations, and Professionals.

Professional Certification Benefits for the Customer

The coming era of “human-machine partnerships,” reported in Dell Technologies’ Realizing 2030: Future of Work, already requires increased expertise among IT professionals. Emerging technologies—machine learning and AI, cloud computing, robotics, AR/VR—will generate customers’ demand for skills in forecasting, planning, designing and configuring transformational solutions.

The customer experiences a great degree of confidence from the validated expertise that certified professionals signify. Knowing the IT architect has qualified for certification assures the customer that he or she will receive more than mere competency and technical knowledge. The customer can be confident in the professional’s experience with real-life applications of technology, deployment, configuration and customization.

The additional knowledge and skills base from which a certified professional works also ensures greater efficiency. Work is completed in a timelier and cost-effective manner. The customer whose new solution is configured, deployed and tested with minimum delay returns a higher NPS, invariably. Similarly, a customer whose system requires troubleshooting and potential repair wants a resolution that is both efficient and effective. If satisfied, the customer looks more favorably on the professional and their servicing company.

The professionalism which accompanies certification goes a long way with the customer. The greater store of technical knowledge and business integration increases the technician’s ability and recognition as one who comprehends the customer’s issues and concerns, to express alternative solutions clearly, and to validate the most valuable solution explicitly. The process of achieving certification generates such professional interaction.

Professional Certification Benefits for the Organization

Certainly, the above values that an organization’s customers experience also benefit the organization. There are several pragmatic benefits that no organization would logically dismiss.

The International Data Corporation’s The Business Value of IT Certification reports:

While the technical infrastructure to meet these [digital transformation] objectives is important, equally important are the management practices to enable a high-performing IT organization and a well-skilled IT workforce. A well-skilled IT workforce is the combination of people, skills, and competencies that play a role in IT-enabled operations.

Managers increasingly realize the value of hiring candidates whose qualifications are literally certified. Global Knowledge generated a report in 2018 that states “95% of IT decision-makers believe a certified team member brings added value above and beyond the cost of certification.”

That is a significant increase in the organization value of IT certification over a 10-year span, as shown in Figure 2:

Figure 2: Stats Regarding Increased Appreciation for Certification.

As Figure 2 indicates, the attention to and appreciation of professional IT certification has increased continually since 2008. The number of IT Professionals holding at least one certification has increased by more than 50%. Further, training now targets certification as the desired result of training 39% of the time, as opposed to only 9% in 2008.

Professional Certification for the IT Professional

Whether we call it enthusiasm, contentment, or happiness, it is increased by the opportunity to develop one’s professional skills. The benefits of this enhanced positive attitude, no matter the name, are several:

  • Almost 67% of happy employees consistently exert extra effort in their work. enable a high-performing IT organization and a well-skilled IT workforce
  • On-the-job satisfaction results in higher levels of volunteering for optional tasks, helping others, and cooperating in mutual tasks.
  • Engagement flows from this attitude, and productivity results from engagement. Engaged employees are typically 21% more productive than their counterparts.

Given those facts, we need to discover if certification contributes to the positive attitude. Robert Half’s report, It’s Time We All Work Happy: The Secrets of the Happiest Companies and Employees specifies six factors that influence employee happiness, listed in Figure 3.

I suggest that professional certification is a form of each of those factors.

Figure 3: Factors that Influence a Worker’s Happiness.

  • Right fit for the job and the company begins with hiring the right person in terms of qualifications and technical abilities. Certification increases the likelihood of a “right fit” for a forward-thinking IT organization.
  • Sense of empowerment enhances decision-making, career advancement, and confidence. Certification is proven to improve one’s business skills and ability to perform at higher levels.
  • Feeling appreciated by managers and teammates motivates further performance improvement. The opportunity to pursue and achieve certification tangibly demonstrates appreciation.
  • Interesting and meaningful work increases employee’s happiness potential 2.5 times. Industrial psychology has proven that the better one knows one’s job and how to perform it, the more interesting the work becomes.
  • Sense of fairness regarding opportunities and challenges relieves and reduces workers’ doubts about their value to the company. Being encouraged to seek certification demonstrates fairness of opportunity.
  • Positive workplace relationships are the glue to an organization. As previously stated, certified professionals are more sought out and are eager to share their skills and knowledge.


We need increased appreciation of IT certification as a meaningful device immediately so that the number of qualified individuals for the industry can be increased in order to be prepared for the future skills shortage. Such attention will not only help offset the already existing talent crunch, but will also provide specific benefits to our customers, our organizations, and our professionals in our IT departments.

Has a member of your team benefited from IT Certification? In what ways? I’d love to hear from you to learn how your organization is preparing to counter the talent crunch.

Other Resources on Professional Certification and Workforce Transformation


Horizons Workforce Consulting, “Employees’ Personal Lives Are Critical to Business Success

Seth Kaplan, Jill C. Bradley-Geist, Joseph Nicholas Luchman and Douglas Haynes, “On the Role of Positive and Negative Affectivity in Job Performance: A meta-Analytic Investigation

Gallup, “State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide

Tim Wright

About Tim Wright

Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell Technologies Education Services

Tim Wright joined Dell EMC, now Dell Technologies, in 2013 as Consultant-Professional Development in the then GSD L&D organization. His focus initially was on providing professional/personal skills improvement resources for members of the training delivery organization. That soon expanded to Tim’s development of a series of virtual instructor-led professional development courses that ran successfully for the SDS organization.

After teaching middle school for 13 years—to individuals now in their late 40s and early 50s!—Tim navigated to corporate training and development. He’s been at it as the industry’s changed its name from “corporate training” to “training and development” to “corporate learning” to “L&D” to “digital learning”….. His focus has always been in the area of interpersonal skills: professional development, soft skills, generic training. Whether communication skills or team building or leadership development or problem-solving and decision-making, Tim’s passion is helping people discover ways to improve their performance while increasing enjoyment of what they do.

As much as possible, Tim enjoys a 40-40-20 approach to his work. Ideally, he spends 40% of his time interacting with stakeholders to engage in the observation-interview-empathize segments of Design Thinking. The next 40% continues DT practices of prototyping, sharing with stakeholders, testing. The last 20% is the delivery or iteration where failure is discovered as the fastest step to improvement. He even envisions a project that allows him to fit that formula into a 5 day week: M-T is design, W-T is development, F is delivery.

Tim’s pretty much given up running for long-distance walking/hiking. His golf game is improving. He journals like crazy and is always working on another poem.

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