Should IT Industry Certifications Actually Matter?

Nathan MaxwellOur Insights

Comptia Certifications

CompTIA’s range of certifications (A+, Network+, and so on) are just a few of many IT-based certified credentials. You’ve probably had more than one Kansas City IT company mention to you that their team has such and such certifications – but do they actually matter?

Our Lead Help Desk Technician just updated their CompTIA A+ certification. Why did we (and why do other Kansas City IT services companies) invest in certifications like these? Should they matter to you?

Comptia Certifications

We’re big believers in investing in the number one resource available to a given business – it’s people. That’s why we’re taking this opportunity to recognize our very own Lead Help Desk Technician, Anna, for updating her CompTIA A+ Certification.

You may have heard that industry-leading, award-winning, unbeatable IT services come down to one specific thing; often it’s offering the latest, greatest, fanciest, tech gimmicks (which also tend to be the most expensive).

Depending on who you talk to, you’ll likely hear a lot of different reasons at the core of a business’ success.

Some will say it’s the quality of their products or services…

Others will say it’s their low prices that competitors can’t beat…

Still, more may tell you it’s their marketing strategies…

While that may be true for some, and it may be profitable for many, the reality is that all of those services features listed above? They’re fluff.

The Communication Concepts, Inc. team knows the truth – at the core of everything we do is our amazing staff. That’s why we commit the resources necessary to invest in our team’s skills, knowledge, and growth as IT professionals.

As a part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that our clients’ networks are truly optimized, we’re excited to announce that Anna, our Lead Help Desk Technician, has officially updated her CompTIA A+ certification.

“I do technical support,” says Anna. “As we get clients that have issues, I reach out to them to help them with whatever the issues may be.”

As the main contact for clients that need a question answered or a problem solved, Anna plays a vital role in the Communication Concepts, Inc. support process. That’s precisely why this certification is so useful to her in her work.

“I was certified back in 2010, but CompTIA didn’t really have a good continuing education program,” says Anna. “It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, to get recertified. My supervisor Nathan is always very onboard so far as continuing certifications, so he was excited when I brought up the idea.”

CompTIA A+ is the preferred qualifying credential for technical support and IT operational roles. It is about much more than PC repair.

  • Candidates are better prepared to troubleshoot and problem solve.
  • Technicians understand a wide variety of issues ranging from networking and operating systems to mobile devices and security.
  • A+ supports the ability to connect users to the data they need to do their jobs regardless of the devices being used.

“It’s important because, in the IT industry, the A+ certification is kind of the foundation for support, especially for my position,” says Anna. “It lays the foundation for software and hardware troubleshooting, problem solving, and any kind of problem you would have.

The update to the CompTIA A+ certification has also drastically changed in order to keep up with how the industry has changed as well.

“Back in 2010 it was much more fact-based,” says Anna. “I was able to take it very easily and just memorize facts. Now, there are some facts, but there are a lot of scenario-based questions, and a lot of process-based questions that one needs to learn. I appreciate that for the fact that it makes sure you’re not just memorizing facts, but that you also know the processes behind those facts.”

Do IT industry certifications actually mean anything?

There are a lot of certifications out there – A+ Certified Technician, Dell Certified Hardware Technician, HP Certified Technician, CompTIA A+, Net+, and Sec+, Cisco CCNA, Microsoft MCSA, and so on.

Do these actually make a difference in the quality of service?

Short answer?

Yes, they can make a difference.

As we explored in a recent blog, the skill gap in the IT industry is severe, and getting worse. Recent polling performed on behalf of Tripwire found even more troubling evidence:

  • 93% of polled IT security professionals say the skills required to be a great security professional have changed over the past few years, which is making it harder to find properly skilled cybersecurity professionals.
  • 85% report their security teams are already understaffed, and only 1% believe they can manage all of their organization’s cybersecurity needs when facing a shortage of skilled workers.
  • 96% say they are either currently facing difficulty in staffing security teams due to the skills gap or can see it coming.

That’s a key reason why structured, verified training as a part of industry standard certifications can make such a difference. When compared to whatever amount of a training an incoming technician may receive when they join a Kansas City IT services company, certifications can help form a foundation to the knowledge and skill set.

“I feel that it’s important because industry standards and processes are always changing,” says Anna. “If we don’t keep up with standards and processes, it’s easy to grow dormant and just put out fires, and not stay up to date so far as the latest technology goes.”

What does all of this mean for the IT services delivered to you?

After all, what really matters in IT? Why, people, of course. Both the end users in your business, and our team of continually growing IT service professionals.

At the root and core of the IT industry (and the industries of its clients) are people. Users trying to get work done on time. Users looking for a way to work from home with ease. Users that want their IT support to pick up the phone when they call.

While fancy new technology is all well and good, it’s only worth it if it meets the user’s needs and improves their experience.

Bottom line: the user experience is the single measurement for the quality of any given solution or service – and that depends entirely on the capabilities and skill sets of those ensuring the technology is operating properly.

That includes IT services.

After all, it wouldn’t mean much to say that people are important when it only means the client’s staff, right?

Just as an effective Kansas City IT services company would focus on their client’s user experience, they should also be concerned with their employees’ job environment. One influences the other, and vice versa – happy employees make for happy clients.

What does this actually mean? For one, investing in the employee. That means offering a competitive salary, providing benefits and time off.

Beyond that, a quality business (in any industry) invests time and other resources in their culture. From regular and constructive employee performance reviews to social events, culture is a big part of on-the-job satisfaction.

Investing in staff members also means recognizing that their knowledge and capabilities are an asset. Arranging for staff members to gain further education and certifications will only increase the quality of service, and the pride those employees take in their work.

“Everything is getting faster, whether it’s USB or firewire,” says Anna. “Everything is changing, they are always creating new processes and new security threats, so you have to learn how to troubleshoot and remove it. So, I don’t see there ever being a point where I should stop learning, because it’s always changing.”

Put simply? We believe that IT support providers need to back up their claim about valuing people. In practice, it becomes obvious when it’s just a hollow marketing plot.

This is foundational to everything that we do. It all adds up to a better culture in our workplace, and a higher quality of service delivered to your workplace.

“Communication Concepts, Inc. goes above and beyond in encouraging employees to keep learning and keep studying,” says Anna. “I appreciate tremendously about Communication Concepts, Inc. that they invest in and encourage their employees to keep learning and keep growing.”