“How many of you are familiar with CompTIA?”
This is typically the first question I ask when I give a presentation. I’m often speaking to solution providers or business executives that might lie outside of CompTIA’s membership, so I like to get a feel for the room and tailor my description of the organization. At the TechITOut event in Springfield, MO last week, there wasn’t much need for a description. The vast majority of the hands in the room went up, mostly thanks to the fact that so many were CompTIA certification holders. And that is exactly why CompTIA’s merger with AITP is so exciting.
For years, CompTIA has served IT professionals with certifications like A+, Security+, and Cloud+. With over 2 million certification holders worldwide, CompTIA has played a major role in helping build technical careers and helping close the skills gap as businesses accelerate technology strategies. At the same time, we have built a powerful membership organization within the IT industry, primarily serving the vendors, distributors, and channel partners that have driven tech products and support. By joining forces with AITP earlier this year, we are connecting those two pieces. Our goal is to be the voice of the IT industry, and by including IT professionals in our membership programs, we are able to serve this segment beyond technical certifications.
TechITOut was my first time participating in a CompTIA AITP event, and it demonstrated the value of bringing the two organizations together. The conference was hosted by the Ozarks chapter of CompTIA AITP, and it drew 600+ IT pros and students from the nearby area. With so many people already familiar with CompTIA through our certs and with CompTIA AITP through the local chapter activities, we had the perfect platform to describe additional benefits we are building. Members can now access career resources, build their resume using our TechTalent tool, or download research on industry trends.
My job at TechITOut was to show off the research. In the morning, I spoke on Trends in IT Security, sharing our view of a modern security approach that includes technology, process, and education. In the afternoon, I presented our data on Digital Organizations, focusing on the structural changes that businesses must make as technology becomes more strategic. Both sessions had great attendance, with people asking questions that clearly reflected issues they wrestle with back at the office.
In fact, that’s my biggest takeaway from this event. With our channel membership, we talk a lot about selling. Whether it’s the vendor-partner relationship or the steps to building a managed service or the challenges that come from new platforms, most discussions center on building revenue from products and services. Technology trends are part of the equation to help companies understand where the market is headed. For IT pros, though, the conversation is about doing. Their responsibility to their company is to provide the best business systems possible, and they crave practical information that will help them in their job. Technology trends are interesting because they highlight areas for skill growth.
We also had an opportunity to meet CompTIA AITP members at our booth during the event. We discussed member benefits, offered a discount on membership to event attendees and hosted two giveaways - a free CompTIA certification exam voucher, and a Raspberry Pi. The winner of the Raspberry Pi, active CompTIA AITP member Brian Lloyd, shared, "being an AITP Ozark member is very important to me as I am new to the geographic area. Making peer connections and having access to industry information is core to my ability to develop my career. It is also great to make friends that share your common interests!"
We had a chance to celebrate while we were at the event—we crossed 5,000 members for the new combined effort. As great as it is to know that so many students and IT workers are already enjoying our benefits, it was even better to see all the positive momentum from those who were just learning about all we can provide. We have learned a lot over the past year—about the challenges IT pros face, the ways that they plug into their business, and the aspirations they have for their career—and we are looking forward to even more success in the future.
Seth Robinson is CompTIA’s senior director of technology analysis.