Tag Archives: IT certificates

What IT managers look for in new graduates

From SAP to ITIL, to business analysis and Oracle, what certifications are IT managers looking for when hiring?

For graduates looking to enter the work force, an SAP (Systems, Applications and Products) certificate is often a good choice for junior consultants. Focused on business software applications, SAP is related to enterprise resource planning, which includes management knowledge in supply chain and product life-cycle.

“On the other hand, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) foundation is open for all IT professionals who are interested in understanding the ITIL framework,” explained Linying Dong, Associate Professor of Business Management Technology at Toronto’s Ryerson University. “Also, some schools offer certifications such as Business Analysis at the University of Toronto that helps show the student has possessed knowledge and skills in a certain area.”

However, Dong noted not all certifications are suitable for new graduates when experience is taken into account. For example, a Business System Analyst certificate requires a candidate to acquire more than 5,500 hours of working experience in the areas related to business analysis, which is nearly impossible for new graduates to acquire.

“As a result, IT managers know about the difficulty for entry-level candidates to obtain an IT certificate, so any IT-related certifications would help a candidate in his/her job search,” said Dong.

Depending on the position a person is applies to, Google keeps an eye out for computer science degrees as well as experience with Java, Java Script, or C++, Google spokesperson Wendy Bairos said.

“It’s as much about what degrees and certifications a person has, and how well they fit in with a team,” she said. For example, a software engineer position in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada requires the minimum requirements of a B.A. or B.Sc. in lieu of a degree or equivalent experience.

“Both are looked at equally, but depending on the role, it may require experience with at least one of Java, Java Script, or C++,” said Bairos. “There are some preferred qualifications, but they’re not necessary. Job postings give people a sense of what we look for, and it gives the employee a sense of what we may expect of them under an engineering team.”

Bairos added that certificates and diplomas are always welcome, but a key element IT managers look for is a good fit with the culture of the company and the ability to work in a team environment.

“In order to be successful you need to be able to work together,” she said. “We do look for people who can work and collaborate with a team, not just people who have very specific skills for a job.”

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Should you look for IT certificates when hiring?

The ongoing discussion of the relevance of IT certificates during the hiring process can simply be broken down to the demand in a marketplace for a product.

Of course, whether or not an IT certificate is considered relevant depends on the demand in the market and area of focus, said Carlos Chu, a senior manager at Tata Consultancy Services, a global IT consultancy firm. “One way to look at it is from the perspective of a service or software lifestyle,” he explained. “If we look at the process of creating a new IT product such as a new functionality or a new system roll-out, we will see there are many roles in this cycle of design/build/test/deploy/run, where IT certifications are good indications of a person’s expertise with a given product.”However, Chu finds that when looking at project management or quality management through the software development lifecycle, certifications like PMP and ITIL become less relevant.

“The value of an individual in these roles is determined by his or her past project management experience and other soft skills that are required to be successful in these roles,” he said. “Also, companies tend to have their own adapted frameworks for project and quality management that they will expect their projects to comply with.”

During a recruiting process, framework based – or vendor neutral– certifications are usually the sixth or seventh item Chu looks for from an applicant.

“Where it does make sense for individuals to have certification are things is when it is very specific to a product or vendor,” said Chu.

An individual who goes into specializing in one niche that is associated with a product, such as SAP or Oracle, must also keep those certifications updated. That said, Chu noted the demand for a highly specialized skill set associated with a product depends on the popularity of that product in the market place.

Corey Martella, a developer with Full of Design, also believes the IT certification for software-based developing is less relevant.

“The big things that are heavy on certification are security, investing and network infrastructure,” said Martella. “Generally, people who are entering university or college look to get a solid background in the field, whether its web applications, mobile applications, or general consulting.”

For recent graduates, Associate Professor of Business Management Technology Linying Dong at Toronto’s Ryerson Universitypointed out not all certifications are suitable for new graduates entering the workforce.

“For example, Business System Analyst certificate requires a candidate to possess over 5,500 hours of working experience in the areas related to business analysis, which is difficult for new graduates to acquire,” she explained.

However, Dong notes an IT certificate does help a student stand out from the crowd and earn a chance to prove what he or she knows.

The bottom line is that certification for an individual is only relevant if that person wants to continue driving into that particular niche or product, and specialize in it.

The focus and relevance of IT certifications depend very much on the field of interest and direction of application, concluded Chu.

Originally posted in TechPageOne, aNewDomain.

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