Certification Program

LittleBITLittleBIT Member Posts: 320 ■■■■□□□□□□
Hello TE!

Hope everyone had a good weekend, today's Monday, so hopefully no one is miserable.

I have been blessed upon by the powers that be (being the only certified person in the company) to design, implement and improve a certification program for our tech's. Biggest issue is: The mentality of "Certs don't mean $hit" is abundant.

The tech's dont feel the drive to push themselves towards certs... It's never been a requirement for the jobs. But if we are to secure contracts, attract clients and such, this is what needs to be done.

A few things I thought about and would like some input on:
  • Helpdesk techs should move towards MCSA: Win 7, Win 8. CompTIA A+/Net+ at a minimum.
  • PC Repair Dept: A+ at a minimum.
  • Servers: Obviously MCSA: Server 2012, or Server 2008. Minimum of CompTIA A+.
  • Certs obtained receive incentives: $250 - $300 and reimbursed the exam cost. However, if you fail, the cost is on you. It can also count toward end of year bonuses or raises.
  • Obviously, our company is trying to obtain silver level partnership with Microsoft as we want to market ourselves better. So that's a plus to the certification program, gives the techs something to reach for, it's a team effort.
  • All video's, material will be provided at a best efforts availability. (Books, subscription to CBT Nuggets, Pluralsight, etc)
Any other thoughts on this format? What does your company do? Should we make it mandatory? Incentives? What is realistically expected of techs in a Helpdesk position, PC repair position, Tier 2/3 positions.
Kindly doing the needful


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    SephStormSephStorm Member Posts: 1,731 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Incentivise it would be the best bet, but not directly, offer reimbursement and favorable looks when it comes time for advancement. You'll quickly find out who is dedicated and a self-starter. but here is something important. If you do go this route you need to aggressively fight against anyone ho uses test ****. When you talk about the program, mention it every time, make sure they arent in your enterprise, have stiff penalties for anyone caught in possession of them or using them, including reporting to the certification body.

    Certs really can increase the knowledge of your team, but when people take shortcuts, it becomes laziness.
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    NersesianNersesian Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 96 ■■□□□□□□□□
    - Biggest issue is: The mentality of "Certs don't mean $hit" is abundant.

    This is going to be one of your biggest issues and I would advise having a conversation with senior management ensuring they have your back when push comes to shove, if you haven't already. I hate that confrontational, argumentative, anti-education mentality and it needs to be nipped in the bud. They mean a whole hell of a lot when its the difference between you and a breadline.

    I think you're on the right track, so I don't have any relevant feedback on the breakdown of certification requirements. I would however add some sort of mechanism in case one or two of your hard cases either ignore the certification requirement or don't pass. What good is spending departmental cash on someone who is going to run it into a ditch either way? I would also allow some leeway in what certs they complete beyond the base minimum. I would be irritated if I was "forced" to certify in something that didn't directly tie into my daily job duties but would embrace the opportunity to make a choice out of say three options for professional development.
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    colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,569 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Agree w/ the above, but I would also tie certification baselines into annual performance reviews to further incentivize them to get certified. (i.e., if they don't want to bother with a cert, then it reflects poorly on their review, since they would not be meeting the standard. MUST have senior level buyin for that.)
    Working on: staying alive and staying employed
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    LittleBITLittleBIT Member Posts: 320 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I really appreciate the feedback and giving a little better light on the situation. Luckily, the CEO is backing this, and he fully supports this.

    Just communicating it to the team will be difficult, as I said they are in the mentality of 'Certs don't mean $hit'. But you guys given me some really good input. Especially the yearly review portion. I will just need to sit down with senior management and talk about how we can tie certifications into yearly raises or bonuses.

    I will also be on the lookout for brain **** or test depo's. You're absolutely right about that. It won't even benefit us if we allow that. We will have all paper tigers and no experience.
    Kindly doing the needful
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    ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    For each position, pick a minimum level and then go up from there. Develop a time line and goals. Make sure they are realistic. Take into account that people have commitments both at work and in their personal lives.

    When will they be studying? When will the take their exams? Is it on company time or personal time? If they are mandatory, give people time on the clock.

    About this: Biggest issue is: The mentality of "Certs don't mean $hit" is abundant.
    You have already addressed it: "But if we are to secure contracts, attract clients and such, this is what needs to be done. " and " our company is trying to obtain silver level partnership with Microsoft as we want to market ourselves better."

    Be careful how this is presented. Don't go with the attitude that people who do not want certifications are lazy and do not want to learn. Some of the most knowledgeable and hardest working people i know, do not have any certifications. If any company would take the wrong attitude about this, they would lose some of those people.

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
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    fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    Certs obtained receive incentives: $250 - $300 and reimbursed the exam cost. However, if you fail, the cost is on you.

    That will just make people use **** to a greater extent than they otherwise would, especially if they aren't interested in certs in the first place. I would reimburse exam costs regardless of pass/fail, and not have any bonuses for passing. Reward actually applying knowledge to real life problems instead.
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    LauraMalaveLauraMalave Member Posts: 52 ■■□□□□□□□□
    An option is to only provide vouchers to individuals that score a certain percentage on a practice test. This should lessen the rate of failure.

    Some things to think about:

    What is the time period current employees are given to pass the certs?

    Are they mandatory for new hires?

    Will employees have time during work hours for studying?
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    LittleBITLittleBIT Member Posts: 320 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I like the voucher idea. I appreciate that Laura.

    I worked for an MSP where professional development was crucial. They would align your intended career path with certifications. And it was a pretty tough standard to meet. In order to promote from helpdesk into Servers or Consulting, you had to be MCSE. Helpdesk only required MCITP, MCTS.

    Yeah, I'm leaning towards end of year bonus or something. maybe raise increase? Probably add some stipulation like "Must have cert for atleast 6 months for it to be applicable" so people arent earning certs last minute for the raises. It'll also deter ****, since you will still need 5 months and raise season to see any kind of 'bump'.

    AJS, the guys who don't have them are stupid smart braniacs. But thats why they have the mentality of certs are garbage. Yes it's all about knowledge and experience, I agree, but have some alphabets after your name or on your resume is nice also. It'll also help us when we bid.

    I am going to propose for 1 hour a day to dedicate to studying for certifications. It's tough to factor that in... with us being an MSP and tickets are abundant. But than again, how bad do you want it?

    Appreciate all the feedback.
    Kindly doing the needful
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