Information Technology Certification: A Student Perspective - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Title: Information Technology Certification: A Student Perspective


1
Information Technology Certification A Student
Perspective
  • Tanya McGill and Michael Dixon
  • Murdoch University
  • Australia

2
IT Industry Certification
  • Industry certification involves passing
    recognized standardized tests to establish
    competency in defined areas.
  • IT industry certifications are designed to
    provide targeted skills that have immediate
    applicability in the workplace.
  • Increasing numbers of job advertisements specify
    a preference for those holding certifications
  • Vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems
    dominate the certification market worldwide
  • There are over 300 IT certifications available
    and over 1.6 million people have earned over 2.4
    million certifications

3
Potential Benefits of Certification
  • Benefits to employers - more capable employees
  • Greater knowledge and skill gt increased
    productivity
  • Reduced training costs
  • Higher morale and commitment
  • Benefits to students (i.e. potential employees)
  • Marketability
  • Higher salaries
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Benefits to educational institutions
  • The opportunity to extend program content
  • Increased assessment capability
  • Attractiveness to students

4
Potential Risks of Certification
  • Heavy involvement of vendors
  • absence of unbiased neutral groups for
    determining content, creating exams and
    authorizing examiners.
  • The rapidly changing knowledge base might mean
    that certification is not of lasting value.
  • Some certifications don't require practical or
    real world experience, thus limiting the claims
    of usefulness.
  • Loss of control over content (by academics) that
    arises when certification exams determine the
    content of courses and academic programs
  • Pressure on academics to maintain their own
    proficiency levels and certification status.

5
Purpose of the Study
  • There has been little research to date on IT
    certification
  • Given the increasing pervasiveness of
    certification in the IT profession, more research
    is needed to verify the benefits of IT
    certification and to determine the importance of
    the proposed risks
  • This exploratory study investigates the
    perceptions of students of both the benefits and
    risks of certification and its importance in
    obtaining employment.

6
The Study
  • Participants in the study were students enrolled
    in several ICT courses. Students who have
    successfully completed these courses are
    qualified to pursue Cisco certification.
  • They were recruited during class and completed a
    questionnaire on the spot.
  • The questionnaire included items relating to
  • Background of students
  • Perceptions about the importance of different
    industry certifications for employment
  • Perceptions of the relative importance of the
    proposed benefits of seeking certification
  • Perceptions of the relative importance of the
    concerns about certification

7
Participant Background
8
Benefits for Employment
  • Certification was perceived as very important
    both for those not currently employed in IT
    (4.09/5) and for those currently employed in the
    IT industry (3.75/5)
  • Student perceptions of the importance of
    certification appear to be consistent with
    Industry perceptions
  • In general, participants believed that obtaining
    certification would lead to clear financial
    benefits. Eg
  • Those not currently employed in IT anticipated
    on average a 25 increase in starting salary for
    a CCNP certification and a 20 increase for a
    MCSE.
  • Those currently employed in IT anticipated on
    average a 17 increase in salary for a CCNP
    certification and a 9 increase for a MCSE.

9
Anticipated Certification Salary Increases
10
Benefits for Employment (ctd)
  • Students who were not currently employed in IT
  • Varied greatly in terms of salaries they
    anticipated
  • Expected higher financial gains on average than
    did those currently employed in IT
  • Expectations of many are not realistic
  • Students who were employed in IT
  • Expectation were realistic
  • Showed less variability in financial expectations
  • Expected lower financial gains on average than
    did those not currently employed in IT

11
Relative Importance of Benefits
  • All benefits were ranked relatively highly
  • The most important benefits related to gaining
    experience with real tasks and real equipment
    consistent with participants undertaking Cisco
    certifications. Obtaining knowledge also rated
    highly.
  • The middle ranked group of benefits related to
    the role of certification in improving
    opportunities to obtain jobs having a widely
    recognized, formal, marketable qualification
    that many employers demand.
  • Higher salaries, credibility and self-confidence
    were less important

12
Relative Importance of Benefits
13
Types of Benefits
  • Factor analysis suggests the existence of three
    underlying dimensions
  • marketability benefits which relate to
    desirability in the eyes of employers
  • personal benefits which relate to the impact of
    the certification on the way in which the student
    perceives themselves and to the ease of their
    study
  • learning benefits which relate to intrinsic
    fulfillment from the type of learning.

14
Relative Importance of Risks
  • Whilst the participants were conscious of the
    potential risks, they did not appear to be overly
    concerned about them.
  • The highest ranked risk was that the rapidly
    changing knowledge base might mean that
    certification is not of lasting value. If regular
    recertification is required, the costs and
    investments of time can become prohibitive.
  • The middle ranked group of risks relate to the
    potential for bias in certification.
  • Lowest ranked risks related to the impact of
    certification on instructors

15
Relative Importance of Risks
16
Conclusion
  • Certification was perceived as an important
    factor in achieving employment and students
    anticipate that it will lead to substantial
    financial benefits.
  • Salaries are not seen as the most important
    benefit of certification. Real world experience
    is valued more highly.
  • But students with no IT experience overestimate
    the potential financial benefits. Instructors
    should ensure that they have current information
    about salaries and employers skill requirements
    so that they can help guide their students.
  • Students are aware of the possible risks of
    certification but are not overly concerned about
    them.
  • The issue considered most important was the
    potential for the rapidly changing knowledge base
    to mean that certification is not of lasting
    value.

17
Conclusion
  • More research is needed to understand the
    benefits of IT certification and to determine the
    importance of the proposed risks.
  • The study reported on in this paper has provided
    a starting point, but future research should
    extend it to holders of IT certifications and to
    employers.
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Information Technology Certification: A Student Perspective

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Title: Information Technology Certification: A Student Perspective


1
Information Technology Certification A Student
Perspective
  • Tanya McGill and Michael Dixon
  • Murdoch University
  • Australia

2
IT Industry Certification
  • Industry certification involves passing
    recognized standardized tests to establish
    competency in defined areas.
  • IT industry certifications are designed to
    provide targeted skills that have immediate
    applicability in the workplace.
  • Increasing numbers of job advertisements specify
    a preference for those holding certifications
  • Vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems
    dominate the certification market worldwide
  • There are over 300 IT certifications available
    and over 1.6 million people have earned over 2.4
    million certifications

3
Potential Benefits of Certification
  • Benefits to employers - more capable employees
  • Greater knowledge and skill gt increased
    productivity
  • Reduced training costs
  • Higher morale and commitment
  • Benefits to students (i.e. potential employees)
  • Marketability
  • Higher salaries
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Benefits to educational institutions
  • The opportunity to extend program content
  • Increased assessment capability
  • Attractiveness to students

4
Potential Risks of Certification
  • Heavy involvement of vendors
  • absence of unbiased neutral groups for
    determining content, creating exams and
    authorizing examiners.
  • The rapidly changing knowledge base might mean
    that certification is not of lasting value.
  • Some certifications don't require practical or
    real world experience, thus limiting the claims
    of usefulness.
  • Loss of control over content (by academics) that
    arises when certification exams determine the
    content of courses and academic programs
  • Pressure on academics to maintain their own
    proficiency levels and certification status.

5
Purpose of the Study
  • There has been little research to date on IT
    certification
  • Given the increasing pervasiveness of
    certification in the IT profession, more research
    is needed to verify the benefits of IT
    certification and to determine the importance of
    the proposed risks
  • This exploratory study investigates the
    perceptions of students of both the benefits and
    risks of certification and its importance in
    obtaining employment.

6
The Study
  • Participants in the study were students enrolled
    in several ICT courses. Students who have
    successfully completed these courses are
    qualified to pursue Cisco certification.
  • They were recruited during class and completed a
    questionnaire on the spot.
  • The questionnaire included items relating to
  • Background of students
  • Perceptions about the importance of different
    industry certifications for employment
  • Perceptions of the relative importance of the
    proposed benefits of seeking certification
  • Perceptions of the relative importance of the
    concerns about certification

7
Participant Background
8
Benefits for Employment
  • Certification was perceived as very important
    both for those not currently employed in IT
    (4.09/5) and for those currently employed in the
    IT industry (3.75/5)
  • Student perceptions of the importance of
    certification appear to be consistent with
    Industry perceptions
  • In general, participants believed that obtaining
    certification would lead to clear financial
    benefits. Eg
  • Those not currently employed in IT anticipated
    on average a 25 increase in starting salary for
    a CCNP certification and a 20 increase for a
    MCSE.
  • Those currently employed in IT anticipated on
    average a 17 increase in salary for a CCNP
    certification and a 9 increase for a MCSE.

9
Anticipated Certification Salary Increases
10
Benefits for Employment (ctd)
  • Students who were not currently employed in IT
  • Varied greatly in terms of salaries they
    anticipated
  • Expected higher financial gains on average than
    did those currently employed in IT
  • Expectations of many are not realistic
  • Students who were employed in IT
  • Expectation were realistic
  • Showed less variability in financial expectations
  • Expected lower financial gains on average than
    did those not currently employed in IT

11
Relative Importance of Benefits
  • All benefits were ranked relatively highly
  • The most important benefits related to gaining
    experience with real tasks and real equipment
    consistent with participants undertaking Cisco
    certifications. Obtaining knowledge also rated
    highly.
  • The middle ranked group of benefits related to
    the role of certification in improving
    opportunities to obtain jobs having a widely
    recognized, formal, marketable qualification
    that many employers demand.
  • Higher salaries, credibility and self-confidence
    were less important

12
Relative Importance of Benefits
13
Types of Benefits
  • Factor analysis suggests the existence of three
    underlying dimensions
  • marketability benefits which relate to
    desirability in the eyes of employers
  • personal benefits which relate to the impact of
    the certification on the way in which the student
    perceives themselves and to the ease of their
    study
  • learning benefits which relate to intrinsic
    fulfillment from the type of learning.

14
Relative Importance of Risks
  • Whilst the participants were conscious of the
    potential risks, they did not appear to be overly
    concerned about them.
  • The highest ranked risk was that the rapidly
    changing knowledge base might mean that
    certification is not of lasting value. If regular
    recertification is required, the costs and
    investments of time can become prohibitive.
  • The middle ranked group of risks relate to the
    potential for bias in certification.
  • Lowest ranked risks related to the impact of
    certification on instructors

15
Relative Importance of Risks
16
Conclusion
  • Certification was perceived as an important
    factor in achieving employment and students
    anticipate that it will lead to substantial
    financial benefits.
  • Salaries are not seen as the most important
    benefit of certification. Real world experience
    is valued more highly.
  • But students with no IT experience overestimate
    the potential financial benefits. Instructors
    should ensure that they have current information
    about salaries and employers skill requirements
    so that they can help guide their students.
  • Students are aware of the possible risks of
    certification but are not overly concerned about
    them.
  • The issue considered most important was the
    potential for the rapidly changing knowledge base
    to mean that certification is not of lasting
    value.

17
Conclusion
  • More research is needed to understand the
    benefits of IT certification and to determine the
    importance of the proposed risks.
  • The study reported on in this paper has provided
    a starting point, but future research should
    extend it to holders of IT certifications and to
    employers.
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