By Paula Bernier
CompTIA today announced plans to launch its first IT professional organization. At the same time, it revealed it has acquired the Association of Information Technology Professionals to move the effort forward.
Technology Marketing Corp. did an interview with Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president of industry relations for CompTIA, to learn more.
What is the Association of Information Technology Professionals?
Hammervik: Founded in 1951, AITP advances the IT profession through professional development, support of IT education, and national IT policies. Its robust student-focused activity is particularly noteworthy.
How does AITP fit in with CompTIA’s interests?
Hammervik: As CompTIA's overriding aim for establishing this new organization is nurturing the long-term career development of IT professionals, AITP is an excellent fit. Both organizations have a keen focus on attracting and supporting the next generation of the technology workforce and narrowing the technology skills gap. Both organizations have a strong member volunteer base dedicated to sharing, exploring, and creating industry opportunity. AITP, self-evidently, has deep historical roots, as well as established networks, which will certainly help us build a strong foundation for success with our new professional association.
CompTIA today launched an IT pro organization. Why this effort now?
Hammervik: Just to clarify, we're announcing our plans to fully activate the organization in the spring, likely in late April or early May. That's when it will be fully open for business, so to speak. However, we will be allowing IT pros to register for membership between now and then, and offering a reduced early bird membership rate of just $79 (a discount of $20).
As to why this effort now, the short answer is that IT skills development is a very big challenge for our industry right now. America truly faces a severe shortage of skilled IT workers to fill existing positions.
The IT services sector is already unable to fill 15 percent of vacant positions, and this problem may only worsen when millions of IT workers retire in the next eight years. In the crucial area of cybersecurity, alone, there are 128,000 positions open for information security analysts, but only 88,000 now employed in those positions.
While the creation of this IT pro association is new for us, investing in workforce and skills development has long been a top priority for us – as evidenced by us being the world's leading issuer (2 million+ ) of vendor-neutral IT certifications, and other training, and STEM initiatives. So this new organization represents a ramping up of what we've been doing for many years.
What IT skills are most lacking today?
Hammervik: Skills and knowledge in such key high-growth areas as big data, cloud computing, predictive analytics, data security, and data center management. Just about any fast-emerging or advanced IT area today is likely to be facing a critical skills shortage.
At whom is the IT pro organization targeted?
Hammervik: This will truly be a big-tent organization: Membership in the new CompTIA professional organization will be open to anyone who works in a tech role and for students aspiring for IT careers. Existing AITP members will be automatically enrolled. CompTIA certification and continuing education alumni will be a highly important prospect group for us. We'll want them to also join and contribute significantly to our new organization's success. But we also will be looking to attract as members IT professionals outside of the areas that we typically deal with for our certifications.
What about non-IT folks. Do you offer some training for them related to digital transformation as well?
Hammervik: CompTIA currently offers a dues-free level of engagement where any individual can become a registered user and consume a significant amount of education, research and industry insight.
Speaking of talent and training, TMC is working to raise awareness of such issues through its Tech Culture Awards program. This Technology Marketing Corp. awards program is dedicated to recognizing companies that are creating positive change in the workplace.
TMC is now accepting candidate applications for the Tech Culture Award, the Tech Diversity Award, and the Social Responsibility Award. For more information visit: http://techculture.tmcnet.com.