Engineers spend much of their time learning technical skills. However, they may not be as invested in learning the communication and business knowledge needed to ascend to leadership positions. These skills are becoming especially important as digital transformation is forcing traditional workforces to evolve.
While technical certifications can certainly make an impressive addition to your resume, a mix of technical and non-technical certifications is even better. Consider these insightful tips from IT leaders on how to obtain and make the most of professional certifications, originally published in CIO (magazine).
Seven Tips to Help You Grow Professionally
- Get certified in areas where your skills are lacking:
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at big technology organizations tend to have excellent IT skills but often lack good communications skills. CIOs from customer-facing business to business organizations often have the opposite problem, according to Saurabh Chandra, managing director at Boston Consulting Group. “These technology leaders need to get certified in areas that they lack. While CIOs push their team to get certified, they need to come out of their comfort zones and follow suit,” Chandra said.
- Establish your own way of learning:
Rather than going along with professional learning trends, you should establish a personalized list of certifications that you can finish within 18 months, advises Puneesh Lamba, CIO of Shahi Exports, an apparel manufacturing company. “The courses should be shortlisted, keeping in mind both the individual’s interest and the organization’s need,” Lamba said.
- Obtain certifications that expand knowledge of your industry:
“If I have to remain in the insurance industry, I have to continuously build on my knowledge base,” said Mayank Bhargava, chief technology and data officer at Pramerica Life Insurance.
- Make sure the certifications you are obtaining are meaningful:
Look for certifications that will add real value to your skills, advises Sunil Mehta, senior vice president and area systems director for Central Asia at advertising agency WPP. “Getting certified after attending one to two hours of a local online course doesn’t add true value,” Mehta said.
- Implement your knowledge:
“At the end of the day, it is the content, faculty, and case studies of a course that cumulatively open the mind,” said Sourabh Chatterjee, president and head of technology, digital sales, and travel at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. “Without implementing the knowledge thus acquired, a certification will only serve the purpose of self-gratification.”
- Immerse yourself in projects as if you are a non-manager:
Sourabh Chatterjee, president and head of technology, digital sales, and travel at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, said he takes a hands-on approach to projects, whether it is coding, designing, process flow, testing, or architecture. “This not only helps me to put into practice what I learned in a certification course but also enables me to stay relevant by getting insights into crucial aspects of a project such as human behavior, technology, content, and motivation,” said Chatterjee.
- Match your technical certifications with business certifications 50:50:
“For every AI and data science certification, I also undertake a business certification that helps in enhancing my behavioral and influencing skills, enables me to build a business case for technology, and aids me in transforming the IT department,” said Lamba.
As an engineer, growing your leadership skills is essential. Do you have the skills necessary to take on a leadership role and compete in a constantly evolving job market?
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Singh, Yashvendra. (17 June 2022). 3 certification tips for IT leaders looking to get ahead. CIO.