Demand for IT certifications rises during global pandemic, study finds
As the world slowly begins to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and the IT industry is well positioned to help businesses adjust to the ‘new normal’, Pearson VUE is in its latest ‘Value of IT Certification ”shows that the global pandemic has made it not hinder the pursuit of certifications. In fact, more and more professionals are realizing that IT certifications can help them quickly acquire and validate valuable skills in their field that will advance their careers.
Needless to say, in just a few months, the pandemic transformed the job market and accelerated the request for all kinds of technical skills. The most recent results were surveyed of 29,000 candidates who took IT certification exams between November 2019 and October 2020 – a time of seismic changes around the world. Respondents came from 160 countries, including India, and ranged from those seeking certification for the very first time to seasoned IT professionals with multiple IT credentials.
The global pandemic has not hampered the pursuit of certification
The report reveals that validating skills through certification continues to be important to professionals wherever they are in their career path. The global pandemic has severely disrupted employers’ budgets for staff training and, although certification programs were inevitably affected, IT specialists remained committed to upgrading their skills to improve their employability and pay.
In 2020, IT certification increased by 16% compared to the previous year. With global lockdowns in play, candidates turned to Pearson VUE’s online monitored solution, OnVUE, to continue their search for certification. Online test delivery has increased by over 300%. Among respondents who said the impact of COVID-19 was a motivator for getting re-certified (30%), these people were more likely to look for credentials in cloud computing than other certifications computer science.
Growth of cloud certifications aligned with the shift of enterprises to remote work models
As COVID-19 accelerates the adoption of digital tools by organizations, the survey found that the demand for cloud computing skills increases dramatically. With nearly all businesses moving to some form of remote working, many businesses have had to scale cloud-based platforms (and use developers with an understanding of these technologies), so their workers can access the resources they needed to work effectively from their homes during the pandemic. According to respondents, 28% of all the certifications they achieved in 2020 were in cloud computing (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) – which is an increase of 164% (compared to the previous one from Pearson VUE ”“ Value of IT certification ” survey).
Certification leads to advancement
Sixty-one percent of candidates who hoped to progress or be promoted after passing their IT certification exams were promoted by the time they took the survey.
As technologies continue to evolve and IT professionals strive to find even more effective solutions to move businesses forward, the need for skills upgrades is a top priority. 73% of respondents applied for an IT certification in order to acquire specific knowledge and skills that would help them develop and keep pace with changing technological trends. When asked if they had met their certification goal, candidates most concerned about improving skills (82%) had the highest success rate.
Certification improves self-esteem and is a lifelong activity
Candidates benefited from many intrinsic benefits of certification, such as increased confidence in their abilities (91%), greater determination to succeed (84%), feeling more respected by their colleagues (76%), greater job satisfaction (76%) and greater work autonomy (74%).
Certification is clearly most valued when it is transferable to real-world work situations, and the emotional benefits of achieving certification are a driving force for professionals to continue to develop throughout their careers. The average number of certifications held by interviewed candidates under the age of 24 is four, while those over 55 have 10 certifications. 86% of candidates who achieved certifications in 2020 plan to pursue additional certifications in the next 12 months.
Employers who support IT accreditation see a more productive, efficient, and loyal workforce
Employers who support employee certification programs see significant improvements in their workforce, with employees being more productive, more efficient, more fulfilled and more loyal. When employers covered certification fees, employees were less likely to be interested in finding new opportunities outside the company (74% vs. 87%), which ultimately reduced employee turnover.
“2020 has undoubtedly been a difficult year, but the global IT industry has proven to be resilient. Our research shows that organizations trust certification to address specific business challenges, in addition to providing opportunities for personal growth, ” said Bob Whelan, President of Pearson Assessments.
“We are very encouraged by these ideas from IT professionals around the world; people who, despite difficult circumstances, have vigorously adopted new certifications and are ready to continue the rapid pace of the digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic, ” he said.