IT Certification - University of Houston

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THE VALUE OF IT CERTIFICATION:
PERSPECTIVES FROM STUDENTS AND
IT PERSONNEL
Mohammad A. Rob & Auklesh Roy
Introduction
• Significant growth and attention to IT
Certifications over the past few years.
• IT magazines like Computerworld, Certification,
and NetworkWorld have been suggesting that
IT certifications can boost a candidate’s profile
to land a job, promotion or salary increase.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Introduction
•
IT graduates are finding that in addition to a
degree, they need experience - which cannot be
achieved by fresh graduates.
• Research suggest that getting certified is the
best way to prove technical skills and get
attention to hiring managers.
•
Educationists have been suggesting to integrate IT
certifications into traditional computing curricula
in colleges and universities; however, few have
done so.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Introduction
• The MIS program at the University of HoustonClear Lake (UHCL) has integrated IT
certifications in several of its graduate core
courses.
• We briefly discuss the steps of integration,
issues encountered by the faculty members,
and the results of integration from the
viewpoints of past and present students.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Why Certified?
• Many government agencies now require
personnel to hold one or more IT certifications.
• Certification establishes a standard of
competency in specific IT areas and job roles in
a company.
• It provides a greater sense of confidence in
graduates’ abilities and a measure of
professional expertise.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
An Overview of IT Certification Industry
• Almost all IT companies and organizations offer
certifications for their products or services.
• There are several thousand certifications and
millions of people are certified worldwide.
•
GoCertify.com provides an alphabetic listing of vendors
offering certifications: Apple, Cisco, Google, HP, IBM, IEEE,
Linux, Oracle, McAfee, Microsoft, Nortel, Novell, PayPal,
PMI, SAP, SAS, SEI, Teradata and etc.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
An Overview of IT Certification Industry
• IT certifications can be divided into two general
groups: vendor-specific and vendor-neutral.
•
Certifications related to products and services of IT
companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, and
Novell are in the first group.
•
Those related to IT professions such as project
management, security, and business intelligence
offered by organizations such as CompTIA, (ISC)²,
PMI, and SEI are in the second group.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Demanding Certifications
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
PMI: Project Management Professional (PMP)
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
CompTIA: A+ certification
(ISC)2: Certified Information Systems Security
Professional (CISSP)
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Integration of IT Certifications at the MIS Program @ UHCL
•
•
•
•
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Certifications from Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco
are implemented into MIS courses over six years.
It is also part of the Quality Assurance of Learning
requirement of AACSB.
A maximum of 10% of overall grade comes from
the certification score.
Certification materials are integrated within the
course curriculum.
All certifications are completed within a semester.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Latest List of IT Certifications Implemented in MIS Program
Course Name
Level
Company Exam Number and/or Name
Advanced Internet Applications
UG
Microsoft
Exam 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript
Advanced Spreadsheet Applications
UG
Microsoft
Exam 77-882: Microsoft Office Excel 2010
Advanced Database Applications
UG
Microsoft
Exam 77-885: Microsoft Office Access 2010
Advanced Visual Basic Programming
G
Microsoft
Exam 70-511: Windows Applications Develop. with .NET 3
Microsoft
Exam 98-361: Software Development Fundamentals
Advanced Internet Applications
G
Microsoft
Exam 70-515: Web Applications Development with .NET 4
Information Systems Project Management
G
Microsoft
Exam 70-178: Microsoft Project 2010, Managing Projects
Advanced Database Applications
G
Oracle
Exam 1Z0-147: Introduction to Oracle 9i: SQL
Oracle Database Administration
G
Oracle
Exam 1z0-052: Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified
Advanced Computer Networking
G
CISCO
CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate
Information Systems Audit and Security
G
ISACA
CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
Management of Information Technology
G
ITIL
Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Challenged Encountered and Success Story!
•
•
•
•
•
•
No overall plan of implementation.
Some faculty members showed resentment.
Too many certifications implemented at the
beginning.
Enthusiastic faculty members implemented
sequence of certifications, but gave up soon.
Biggest challenge: Certifications change too often
like the technology almost every two years.
But all faculty members are certified themselves.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Perspective from IT Professionals & Students
• Surveyed past and present students about the
value of IT certification and satisfaction in their
preparation from our MIS program.
• A 10-question survey was posted in
SurveyMonkey.com and distributed through
social media, e-mail and web links.
•
Eight-four students completed the survey.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result:
Can IT Certification Build a Better Career?
No
5%
Yes
95%
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result:
Number of Certifications held by the Number of People
Average
Number of Certifications
No. of
People
0
44
1
11
2
7
3
9
4
6
5
5
6
1
2.74
•
Only the people who have one or more certifications
are used in Average calculation.
•
There are 44 new students, but almost all value
certification.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result:
Number and Percent of People Holding Various Certifications
% of People No. of People
Type of Certification
25
Oracle (PL/SQL Expert, OCA, OCP, etc.)
70%
22
Microsoft MCTS (70-511, 70-515, etc.)
61%
11
Cisco (CCENT, CCNA, CCNP, CCDA, etc.)
31%
5
Novell
14%
Others: 16 people hold certifications such as MCP, ITIL, EXIN, SCJP, SAP,
IBM DB2, GIS, Scrum Master Certified, Salesforce ADM 201, ADM 401,
Workday and HCM. These are obtained by working people.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result:
Number of Certifications One Should Hold
Average
Number of Certifications
No. of
People
0
2
1
5
2
20
3
17
4
8
University of Houston
5
16
6
4
Clear Lake
7
1
10 3.45
2
Result:
Preferred Certifications by the Respondents
No. of People Total Responded
First Choice
Oracle (SQL, PL/SQL, SQL Expert)
Microsoft (MCSA, MCSD, MCTS, .NET, C#)
Cisco (CCNA, CCNP)
Others: ITIL, BW, SAP, PMP, CAPM
31
19
15
7
72
Note: Second and Third choices are similar as well.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result:
Did you know about the IT Certification program
before joining MIS department?
No
Yes
0%
10%
20%
30%
University of Houston
40%
50%
Clear Lake
60%
70%
Result:
Do you believe that IT certifications in the MIS program
prepared you as a better candidate for IT career?
Yes
No
Do not Know
75%
University of Houston
5%
Clear Lake
20%
Result: Overall How satisfied are you about the
preparation of Certification Exams provided by the MIS
Program?
Not Satisfied at all
Somewhat Satisfied
Moderately Satisfied
Very Satisfied
Extremely Satisfied
0%
10%
University of Houston
20%
30%
Clear Lake
40%
50%
Result: Student Comments & Suggestions
• Certifications help an individual to add value to
his or her profile besides gaining knowledge.
• These help a person to be unique when he/she
is among a group of people or when he/she
attends an interview.
• Certification is good for anyone with an IT
career and I think it gives an idea about
someone’s future or career.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result: Student Comments & Suggestions
• It is really a good idea for the MIS program to
include certifications in its program. This
program gives an awareness of all areas where
an IT professional needs to have.
• MIS Certification preparation at UHCL provides
one with structured and focused training. You
really get to learn the material instead of just
focusing on the test.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Result: Student Comments & Suggestions
• Do not make the Certifications as part of
the course grade or do not require them to
be taken by the end of the semester. Allow
an additional month after the semester to
really prepare for the exams.
• Certification has value when we do it in one
field and gain more knowledge in that one.
There is no use having many certifications
and have zero knowledge.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Conclusion
• We have discussed the value of IT certification
in perspective of student preparation for future
IT career.
• Literature says it gives a competitive advantage
in the job market with an educational degree.
• Educationists have suggested to implement IT
certifications in the computing curricula.
• MIS program at UHCL integrated several IT
certifications into various courses.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Conclusion
• A survey of past and present students shows
that almost all students believe that IT
certification can help them build a better career.
• Certifications from Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco
are found to be prevalent among the students
and desired by them as well.
• The majority of the respondents also suggested
that one should have about three IT
certifications.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Conclusion
• Survey also shows that about two-thirds
of the students knew about the
certification program before joining the
university.
• It also shows that the majority of the
students have been satisfied the way they
are being prepared for the certification
exams.
University of Houston
Clear Lake
Final Conclusion
• We can conclude that educationists who have been
facing the dilemma of whether or not to adapt IT
certifications in their computing curricula, should take
the steps and do so.
• It may not be a smooth ride at the beginning, but once
few hurdles are crossed, faculty members will find
satisfaction through student success stories as well as
their own professional achievements.
• It will attract new students in the program and they will
be ready for the job market with the latest technological
knowledge. It will also keep IT departments up to the
par with IT industries.
University of Houston
Clear Lake

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