Pondering the Latest PearsonVUE 'Value of IT Certification' Report
You would think that a company specializing in creating, managing, and delivering IT certification exams (and related IT certification training content) would be keen to tout the value of its offerings. And in the case of Pearson VUE, long-time source for a huge number and variety of such exams, you’d be right.
On Feb. 1, Pearson VUE released its most recent such report — somewhat cumbersomely titled 2023 Value of IT Certification Candidate Report — which covers results based on responses from more than 21,000 IT professionals spread across 170 countries around the globe. These people prepped for and earned IT certs in 2022 under the Pearson VUE umbrella.
Out of this work, Pearson VUE has prepared two reports (would-be readers must provide contact info to access either or both of them):
The Candidate Report (PDF format, 55 pages) covers things from the perspective of the 20,000-plus individuals who responded to this survey from the test-taker's and cert-earner's perspective.
The Employer Report (PDF format, 21 pages) covers things from the perspective of the companies and organizations that hire certified professionals.)
Please Note: I had some issues with an extension in Chrome, and ended up downloading the Employer Report in Firefox. I had to use the top right-hand menu entry "Save" to obtain a local PDF copy of that document. Be prepared to wade through similar oddities, if need be.
Survey Summary Highlights
If you’re so inclined you can use the foregoing links to see either or both report in all its glory. I’m going to summarize the key points from the related press release here:
1) Candidates obtain and maintain certs to land better jobs, or get a promotion. Results showed that 37 percent of respondents got a raise after earning some cert, with another 42 percent expecting same. In the same population, 27 percent also got a promotion out of the deal.
2) Candidates said that "credentialed employees" were "more empowered and contribute greater value." Fully 92 percent of successful cert candidates have great confidence in their skills, knowledge and abilities. 81 percent expressed higher confidence in checking out new job opportunities.
3) Skills gaps are shrinking faster, as younger candidates pursue certification. They also do so sooner on their career and learning paths. First-time candidates under 35 years of age increased, and those 55 and older decreased. Among respondents 42 percent of Gen Z-ers and 15 percent of Millenials expressed interest in certification, compared to 7 percent of Baby Boomers.
4) Pandemic disruption remains ongoing in a new workplace with technology skills as "baseline requirements." IT certification continues to provide important upskilling and reskilling to ensure current and future employability of candidates. 65 percent of cert-chasers and 55 percent of employers increased IT skilling investments in 2022.
5) Convenience (and personal protection) skews exam prep methods. Candidates now prefer self-study and online training over classroom attendance. They also use more online sources when prepping for and taking cert exams. This is entirely in keeping with the increasing proportion of workers, including IT professionals, who WFH either part of the time or all the time.
What This Means For the IT Profession
Certifications are only gaining value in today’s workplace as we progress into the future. Online training and certification is where the industry is headed, as Learning Management Systems (LMS) become integrated into collaborative environments such as Teams, Slack and so on.
Expect more individuals to pursue more certifications as part of their education prior to joining the workforce, and to continue in that vein throughout their working careers. Even older age cohorts (especially millennials and Gen Z) should expect to continue on with certification training, prep and testing as part of ongoing skills and knowledge maintenance going forward.
For the youngest generations this will be totally routine and expected; for those a little higher on the career (and learning) curve some adjustment to attitudes and expectations may be warranted. And indeed: Say hello to lifelong learning and skills development, especially in the context of acquiring and maintaining a future-forward certification portfolio.