Interestingly, my latest blog entitled “Can Virtualization Certs Get Real?” has prompted a flurry of e-mail into my inbox. I’m seeing IT professionals weigh in more or less evenly on both pro (8) and con (9) sides of this divide. All are agreed that virtualization technology is important and inescapable, but not all are convinced that certification is the right way for IT professionals to come up to speed in this technology area.
In a way, this is a microcosm for the whole question of the relevance of IT certification to IT job activities, skills, and knowledge. Most of the cons stressed the importance of hands-on experience with the tools and technologies in the context of a particular company’s or organization’s platforms and applications. Most of the pros stressed the importance of virtualization itself, and argued for certification as a good way for IT professionals seeking to improve skills and knowledge in this area–especially for those who are interested in the technology, but not yet using it in major ways.
If I understand VMWare’s classroom requirement for their VCP credential correctly, it’s primarily included to provide some hands-on exposure to virtualization technology as part and parcel of the certification itself. But the ways in which I see virtualization popping up all over the place, and in some very interesting forms, argues that IT professionals will have to learn and use this technology going forward, simply to do all the routine administrative and infrastructure tasks they’ve been doing all along.
Other bloggers have argued that the VCP certification is extremely valuable, which may make my reservations about the training requirement entirely moot. Simply from an ROI perspective, if IT professionals can get the kinds of payoffs that Joe Foran reports in his blog from earning a VCP, it doesn’t really matter if they have to shell out $3K to take a class to earn this certification.
It just goes to show you that even in a down economy, market forces still trump most other forms of analysis, even when it comes to certification topics. At any rate, it looks like virtualization is here to stay, and a good bet for IT professional development. And because I’m a firm believer in the notion that demand correlates with higher pay, particularly as use and interest of emerging technologies is on an initial steep climb, before attaining “checkbox” or “commodity” status, it looks like virtualization certification is a good investment for IT professionals for the next few calendar quarters at least. I predict the VCP and Microsoft MCTS Hyper-V/Virtual DataCenter certs will continue to boom, as will other related offerings mentioned in this Datamation article.