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Competence certification as a driver for professional development: A IT-related case-study

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1 Author(s)
Coelho, J.V.P. ; CIES-ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal

Human resource managers have typically used certifications as an indicator of an individual skill set suitability for a specific position. Certifications act as a signal to hiring managers that a job candidate has achieved a level of knowledge and skill necessary to perform in a particular job role. In the IT (Information Technologies) sector, a recent study sought to determine if human resource managers (HR) and IT professionals perceived certifications differently in the context of the hiring process. The purpose of this exploratory case study was to determine how IT professionals perceive certification programs as a professional training alternative, when compared with more traditional education settings, and the kind of effect the effective participation in one of the programs has in that judgment. The data for this exploratory study was gathered from a 58 employee sample of a Portuguese-based multinational software engineering company. An experimental Competence Certification Effects Scale (CCES) was used, and after a consistency analysis, the original 22 items were reduced to 17, grouped in a 4-factor structure: “Intrinsic Value”; “Certification as Training”; “Career Management”; and “Effort Trade-off”. Cronbach's alphas were .81, .81, .83, and .81, respectively. In short, the findings of the study indicate that there is a significant difference in the perceived usefulness of a certification, if an employee participates or not in a dedicated certification program. This difference is more significant in more senior, management-related roles, as for junior engineers that don't participate in a certification program, this participation isn't seen as a professional development anchor or a valid education driver. The paper presents and discusses the study's main results in points III to V, after describing methodological aspects and the underlying theoretical framework.

Published in:

Education Engineering (EDUCON), 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

14-16 April 2010