Originally posted on the Canadian Developers’ Connection blog by my colleague Susan Ibach. 

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ICTC logoThe traditional view of the developer or system administrator is that of a nerd. A complete geek with no social skills whatsoever (Big Bang Theory anyone?) But those of you who have a successful career in IT understand that even though we work with technology, we also work with people. We have deadlines to meet, we have priorities to balance, we have new staff to train, we have users with requirements.

I am a big believer in the value of certification. I think it is well worth the effort to become Microsoft certified in the technologies you use. But that is a blog for another day. Microsoft Certifications test your technical skills. If you are a hiring manager, you want to hire someone with a combination of technical and business or soft skills. This has generated demand from the industry for a certification that demonstrates business skills. How do you know an applicant has the necessary business skills for the role. Enter I-ADVANCE Certification! The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) has developed certifications that validate your business skills for different IT roles. There are six professional designations you can earn:

  • Business Management
  • Technical Leadership
  • Software
  • Infrastructure
  • Hardware
  • Quality Control

In order to offer certification, you need some form of validation that an individual has the necessary skills. ICTC has developed a set of multiple choice exams for each designation with questions to test your knowledge of the competencies. Competencies might include decision making, risk management, business analysis, analytical thinking, or planning and organizing.

Here’s the really good news! They are ready to beta test the I-ADVANCE certification exams and they are looking for subject matter experts (ie YOU!) to do the beta testing. The results of the beta testing will be used to establish the cut score for the exams. Beta testers will take an online exam for one of the six I-ADVANCE designations in order to test the test items difficulty and quality. The time commitment is two and a half hours. Based on the results of this exam, beta testers can receive one-year certification, once the cut-score has been determined and the I-ADVANCE program becomes operational. A great opportunity for you to help ensure the quality of this new certification and possibly earn a new certification in the process.

To register contact Gesine Freund at i-advance@ictc-ctic.ca

My 5

5 non technical skills I think are important to succeed in IT

  1. The ability to evaluate a tool or technology– Users have problems that technology can help solve. As IT professionals it is up to us to determine which technology is best suited to solve each problem. We need to be able to answer questions like what services or parts of our services are right for the cloud? What should we continue to host ourselves? What do we gain by moving to Silverlight or IE9? Knowing how to evaluate a tool’s strengths and weaknesses so you can pick the right tool for the job is a skill every manager and stakeholder will appreciate.
  2. A desire to learn – One of the challenges of working with IT, is the technology we work with is always changing.  So the most successful IT professionals are those who are are curious about new technologies and make and effort to learn about them. Read a blog, attend a conference, listen to a podcast. See what you can find out about Office 365, or what new features will be offered with Windows Phone 7 Mango.
  3. Persistence – There will come that day when your code just doesn’t work! And you can’t figure out why! Never give up never surrender! Well almost never Smile there does come a point where the answer is, we can’t do it this way (refer to Number 1)
  4. Research skills – You can’t know everything. You need to know where to get resources on new technologies or new features, like say the Canadian Developers blog Winking smile
  5. Willingness to ask questions – Although researching yourself is important, if it takes you half a day to figure out something that someone else could have told you in 5 minutes, you are not using your time effectively. Sadly, on some teams, asking questions is seen as weakness. I believe it is a strength, as long as you have made *some* effort on your own before you ask.