IT contractor training courses - what's hot in 2013

An IDC study recently forecast the creation of seven million additional cloud-related IT jobs globally by 2015, while simultaneously there is a reported shortfall in qualified candidates from hiring managers. IT contractors would therefore be forgiven for thinking that Cloud ‘skills/services’ are the in-demand qualifications for 2013, writes Edward Jones of Firebrand Training.

Although 'Cloud-only' courses continue to experience growing interest, they still appear to be lagging well behind mainstream project management, server and networking certifications such as PRINCE2, CCNA and MCSA Windows Server 2012.

Here, exclusively for ContractorUK, I will reveal the five most-sought after certifications which IT professionals and hiring managers have expressed to Firebrand Training interest in between Jan 1st 2013 and May 31st 2013 (across the EMEA region).

The top five

Fifth place:

(ISC)2 – CISSP (certified Information Systems Security Professional)

With increased coverage of cybercrime in the media and the coalition government recently announcing plans to build two new cyber security units, it comes as no surprise to see an IT security certification in the top 5.

Globally recognised as the standard of achievement confirming an individual’s knowledge in the field of information security, CISSP certification is hot on the list of many an IT contractor seeking work in the field of information security.

In the period of 2013 leading up to the end of May, we experienced interest from 12,800 individuals for the CISSP certification. That’s roughly 3.9% of all individuals looking at our full portfolio of courses.

Fourth place:

Six Sigma – Green Belt and Black Belt Certification

Six Sigma is a business management strategy focussed on improving the quality of process outputs, suitable for anyone looking to generate business improvements in the area of customer satisfaction, service delivery, cost control, process performance and new product introduction.

The Green and Black belt certification combined has proved hugely popular. In fact, they represent 4.6% of total interest, with more than 15,000 individuals checking out the course.

Third place:

Cisco Certified Network Administrator – CCNA

In at number three, the CCNA continues to be the stalwart amongst networking certifications. A recent study from Synergy highlighted Cisco’s dominance of the routing and switching world, estimating their current market share at 65-70%. That dominance is reflected in the popularity of their networking certifications.

The CCNA has long been considered the benchmark certification for many an IT contractor considering a career in the field of networking, and demonstrates the holder’s ability to install, operate and troubleshoot a small-to-medium enterprise branch network.

The CCNA received interest from more than 18,000 individuals over the first half of 2013, making up 5.5% of interest in our certifications.

Second place:

PMI – Project Management Professional - PMP

The Project Management Institute’s flagship certification continues to be popular among IT contractors. It’s not just the £65,000 average salary commanded by holders of the certification, but PMP’s long-standing association with project success.

The PMP certification focuses on the skills and knowledge required by the project manager to take a project through its lifecycle.

At number two in the list, PMP received interest from over 20,000 individuals, approximately 6.2% of total course interest

Grand first place:

APMG – PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner

It’s a one-two finish for the project management certifications, with PRINCE2 crowned as the number one in demand certification for 2013.  In contrast to PMP, PRINCE2 focuses on the framework through which to manage projects.

Since its creation by the UK government in 1989, PRINCE2 has been hugely popular with the IT and Management community. In early 2013, APMG announced that 1 million PRINCE2 exams have now been taken.

PRINCE2 was by far the most popular certification, receiving 7.7% of total course interest expressed by more than 25,000 individuals.

So what’s the future of IT contractor training?

So there we have it, the top 5 courses for 2013 so far, and not a Cloud in sight.

That said, this summer will see the release of Microsoft’s MCSE Private Cloud certification for Microsoft System Center 2012. Although not yet available, the cloud-specific MCSE is already generating much interest. As an increasing number of organisations adopt the System Center 2012, contractors looking to move into the rapidly expanding Cloud space might do well to consider this certification.

Other Cloud-centric certifications receiving a growing interest are CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials certification and VMwares Cloud Audit Professional certification. The Cloud Essentials cert is a vendor neutral technical qualification for those interested in getting a rounded knowledge of Cloud computing concepts. The Cloud Audit Professional course focuses on identifying and mitigating the risk presented to businesses entering the Cloud environment. Expect a growing interest in security-related certifications surrounding the Cloud, specifically Public Cloud. Many CIOs and security professionals are concerned with existing security shortfalls when storing sensitive data in Public Cloud environments.

So as we look to the future, the trend seems to be ‘continue with the old and prepare for the new.’


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Monday 24th Jun 2013
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