How Professional Certification Counters the Increasing IT Talent Crunch – Part 1

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Would you rather hire a person who claims to be an expert in a field where you have a talent shortage, or someone who has a certification in that field from a world-leading technology firm?

The current IT talent crunch drives a strong argument for professional IT certification. Digital transformation has created new roles in IT that typically require new and increasingly complex skills. Without validation of a candidate’s abilities, filling those positions with qualified professionals becomes more difficult.

The journey to digital success encompasses new products, services, and solutions, therefore making technology transformation inevitable. However, businesses often face the risk that their digital transformation will be compromised due to insufficient skills. To avoid this, businesses need the acquisition of new and extensive skills by existing professional architects and administrators and the creation of brand new roles that require a very different profile or skillset. In Realizing 2030, Future of Work, 4,600 global business leaders forecast that 54% of the next generation of workers will arrive with ingrained digital skills and mindset. This catalyst will disrupt the workforce, causing organizations to upskill their seasoned, experienced workers in new ways of working and learning. Professional certification offers the most effective and successful way to validate such skills for IT professionals and their organizations, increasing the likelihood of a successful digital journey.

How Bad the IT Talent Crunch Can Be

At a recent company meeting, Michael Dell stated:

Transformation is a race with no finish line.

For many, the digital journey is turning into a digital race, with the degree and rate of change increasing exponentially. While the advances promised are exciting, the course adjustments required to get there are challenging.

It has never been harder to find the skills organizations need for their most important initiatives…organizations are facing critical decisions to postpone or even drop projects that could otherwise have resulted in more streamlined operations or in new or improved revenue streams. –IDC’s FutureScape: Worldwide Services 2019 Predictions

Leaders recognize the new, technically complex jobs being created in areas such as Cloud, Data Science, Infrastructure and Cybersecurity, and IoT. In a recent Korn-Ferry study, 1,550 corporate leaders from 19 countries shared a less-than-optimistic view of skill-readiness to take on these new roles (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Source Korn Ferry’s Future of Work.

By 2020, the gap between the number of IT jobs and skilled workers to fill them will be 1.1 million. Through 2030, that crunch will tighten: an almost 400% increase to a gap of 4.3 million per Korn Ferry’s Future of Work.

Translating those numbers into dollars makes the talent crunch even more alarming.

In 2030, the shortage of workers needed to fill newly defined IT positions will result in a projected revenue loss in the United States of $162 billion. Globally, the loss by 2030 will be $449 billion.

Figure 2: Source Korn Ferry’s Future of Work.

These new jobs will be in technology domains that are just emerging now – and potentially many that don’t even exist yet. The Institute for the Future conducted quantitative research with 4,600 business leaders from 40+ countries which concludes that Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (ER), IoT, Edge, and multimodal interfaces will revolutionize work, creating new ways to engage people in more rewarding careers.

How Certification Will Counter the Talent Crunch

What can organizations do to ensure they have the right talent to be successful with their digital transformations?

Leveraging technical certification along with a culture of continuous learning gets strong recommendations as a strategy to counter the threat of too few people to fill the growing number of jobs. IDC makes an emphatic statement:

[S]elect IT certification programs that are most aligned to support target needs. Leveraging relevant, well-constructed IT certifications from significant technology vendors can help IT leaders identify appropriate candidates for openings. — IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Services 2019 Predictions

Survey data from Microsoft and CompTIA suggest that IT managers agree.

  • 91% of hiring managers consider certification as part of their hiring criteria.
  • 86% give IT certifications high or medium priority in candidate evaluation process.
  • 91% believe IT certifications are valuable in validating expertise.

See other sample findings from both Microsoft and CompTIA reports here.

Bob Hall, Marketing Consultant for Dell Technologies Proven Professional Certification, says:

“The right certification programs develop and verify an IT professional’s up-to-date skills and the ability to apply those skills on-the-job. These skilled employees deliver performance speed, quality, and expertise to the organization. Our research also shows that these employees are more loyal, advance more quickly, and that organizations who invest in learning and certification are more likely to be successful with their digital transformation projects.”

Statistics indicate that certification holders provide consistently stronger, better results. Figure 3 offers data supporting that certified professionals reduce unplanned server downtime and are both more effective and efficient.

Figure 3: The Five Value Propositions of IT Certification for the Enterprise, 2018.

What does a well-constructed certification program look like? IT leaders should look for education programs that incorporate concepts, technology, and skills. Bob Hall explains,

“At Dell Technologies we know that our employees, partners and customers increasingly value the ability to apply and demonstrate their knowledge and skills. We are continuously evolving our certification program to ensure that our Proven Professionals demonstrate practical capability as well as knowledge. ensuring that both individuals and organizations have confidence that the certification truly represents the value they can bring.”


The IT talent crunch is already occurring and threatening to become worse. Professional IT certification can reduce the impact on shortfalls of qualified job candidates on business revenue and the journey to digital transformation.

To explore all aspects of this effective combination of technological and workforce transformation, contact Dell Technologies Education Services.

Part 2 of this series explores the specific benefits and values that professional certification provides to the customer, the organization, and the professional. Take a look at it and I’d love to hear from you with your comments and feedback!

TIm Wright

About the Author: Tim Wright

Tim Wright’s entire career at Dell has been in an education and learning communications role. He has developed and facilitated professional skills courses, facilitated leadership development courses, written internal and external blog posts, among other assignments. Currently, Tim serves the Education Services organization with internal and external communications responsibilities. Tim’s career has focused entirely on learning and education, from teaching in middle school through long-term assignments in the telecommunications, healthcare, and information industries. He earned his BA (English) at Washington & Lee University and his MBA (Business) at New York University.
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