Education

Make an intelligent choice

Map personal interests and aptitude when choosing a certification in IT

When choosing between candidates with similar formal educational backgrounds, certifications are the competitive edge that draw a winner apart. When choosing a certification in IT, one needs to map personal interests and aptitudes that match the chosen course.

Careers in IT will still entail the four building blocks of a digital organisation: applications, infrastructure, database, and security.

Sunrise sector

Information technology continues to transform the way we live, entertain, and do business. IT is still the fastest growing career field. It is expected to cross the threshold of $2 trillion by 2020 by market size. The digital sub-segment is the fastest growing sector in India at a growth rate of 30% annually. To support and implement the development of digitalisation across industries, network technicians, administrators, and security experts play a crucial role.

IT certifications, today, are numerous and diverse. One must be careful when choosing one because many courses are vendor-specific and have their limitations when an employee needs to change jobs and discovers a different system at work. Before one can begin preparing for a course in IT, one needs to check whether the individual has an aptitude for the field. It is always wise to choose a career that hones your natural skills.

Next, the most basic certification that gives one a general ability to fix, install, and troubleshoot computer systems. This will help a prospective job-searcher get a foot in the door. The CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ exposes the candidate the the above mentioned blocks and imparts knowledge on each of these disciplines. Beyond this, one can move on to a deeper practical understanding of wired and wireless networks, learn how to configure IP addresses, DNS servers, different types of cable and wireless networks, security protocols, and implementing permissions for different levels of users.

IT security

One of the most sought after skills in today’s era of massive data availability and ease of access to unsecured systems is the implementation of security protocols. But there are many levels of IT security professionals. To become a cybersecurity analyst, for example, one needs to be able to perform data analysis, interpret the results, and identify vulnerabilities, threats, and risks to an organisation. He/she should also be able to configure and use threat-detection tools protect applications and systems within the organisation. Once the candidate has the fundamentals clear, the next step would be to gain experience in the defensive security area within a SOC (Security Operations Center) environment. In this level, they are expected to have practical knowledge of SIEM (Security Information and Event Management Tools) along with data analytics and incident response.

On the other side of the line is offensive security professional. Vulnerability Management and Penetration testing (VAPT) is another vital mid-level security skill that is used to determine the resiliency of a network against attacks and communicate them via reports and best practices.

Hardcore technical experts who are concerned with operations and architecture of systems and networks and on improving upon current designs, anticipating risks across platforms and form-factors and implementing cryptographic techniques and block chain technology need more specialised training for greater job-relevance and can opt for courses such as the CASP. There are various aspects that security experts need to deal with including integrating clouds and other virtual servers with an enterprise system, which call for a holistic approach to running IT systems.

IT administrators

Similarly, novice system administrators need to be able to implement vendor-neutral servers and open operating systems such as Linux. They also need to be able to versatile enough to pre-empt shifts to virtual servers including cloud systems.

Business users and non-IT staff that need to get familiar with aspects of managing a project for an organisational purpose may also opt for vendor-neutral certifications such as Project+ or Cloud Essentials.

Clearly, IT careers extend to various comprehensive and challenging domains that are very pertinent to current skill requirements of all organisations. To sustain oneself through changing times and technologies, one needs to constantly upgrade relevant skills through an intelligent choice of certifications to cover the broadest ground.

The author is a Regional Director at CompTIA India.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:51:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/make-an-intelligent-choice/article25345413.ece

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