IT Consulting: The Issue of Certifications
Certification has long been a tradition in the IT solutions industry. Specialized certifications exist so that business enterprises can have faith that the IT support company they contract with is staffed with personnel who already possess full expertise in their areas of interest. While there is much value to learning on the job, most business enterprises expect comprehensive experience and mastery from an IT consultant.
Asking about certifications, however, can sometimes produce answers that lead to more questions. This is because a given certification is only as reliable as the certification authority that issued it. One of the most common kinds of certification is vendor-based. That is, each different vendor of a given software or hardware product may offer training opportunities and/or objective tests to measure mastery over the usage or repair of the product.
One example of this would be the SMART Corporation, makers of the Smart Board interactive whiteboard and related products. This company provides certification training for many of its software packages and ensures that individuals marked certified have not only solid technological knowledge but also strong communication skills.
There also exists industry certifications from organizations not affiliated with a particular product. One popular example is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional. To obtain this certification, individuals must demonstrate a comprehensive and deep knowledge base regarding the principles and methods of providing information security. The CISSP certification is available through a non-profit consortium called ISC2.
When enterprises consider an outside IT consulting firm to provide support, it is appropriate to inquire about the certifications possessed by the individuals or teams who will be providing the services.