By Graeme Phillips, Autodesk program manager, EMEA, KnowledgePoint.

When you are already in work – is it really necessary to spend time gaining Certification in key skills? When OnePoll asked design engineers this question on behalf of education and training distributor KnowledgePoint, 50% of respondents said that their organisation actively encouraged them to pursue qualifications. The same figure said they would be interested in taking a Certification course themselves.

 There is increasing evidence that interest in Certification is growing fast among design and engineering employees. In fact the number of people taking Autodesk Certification exams at the software vendor’s annual Autodesk University event has increased by around 50% over the past decade.

 This surge of interest is not just coming from the young wanting to get a foot on the career ladder, but also from experienced professionals who find it a useful way to get up to speed with new ideas and methods.

 Economic conditions, pressure from developing markets and from large corporates bidding for business are just part of the explanation for this upsurge in interest. Today, many universities and colleges offer a practical range of vocational and industry-oriented programmes. As a result, students graduate with higher levels of technology skills, putting greater pressure on the existing workforce to be competitive, and further fuelling interest in technical Certification.

Design and engineering employees are simply becoming more aware of the vast range of benefits that Certification can bring in forwarding their professional career. Simply preparing for Certification helps improve performance by strengthening existing skills and developing new ones. It can lead to accelerated professional development, improved productivity, and enhanced credibility. After all, Certification is often seen as a validation that the employee concerned has the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively meet the needs of their company The best training provides immediate diagnostic feedback, helping candidates to identify areas where they can improve their application skills, and performance-based testing. With the latter, rather than simply answering questions about how they might accomplish an objective, candidates actually perform the task itself using real-life applications such as Autodesk Inventor.

 The ongoing globalisation of IT Certification schemes helps design engineers become active players in the international jobs market. An individual passing a Certification exam in India, for example, has the same qualification as an employee passing the scheme in the UK. This is where global Certification programmes score points over national schemes. 

 Ultimately, many of the benefits of IT Certification programmes provide enhanced competitive edge. This extends far beyond corporations from mature markets vying for advantage over businesses based in emerging economies. It is just as much about employees competing for advantage over their peers in the job market or experienced staff taking on the challenge offered by university graduates with all the latest technical skills.