Human Resource (HR) management can be a delicate process, especially if your business relies on highly-technical skill sets. Especially in the Information Technology (IT) and Computer Science (CS) fields, there are specializations that can be both helpful and harmful when it comes to holding out for the perfect fit versus getting a potential superstar who just needs to read a few manuals to convert their existing skills. Here are a few traits to look for in a HR team that can make the right choices in IT staffing.
Certification Versus Degree: Does It Matter?
Within the IT industry, a unique battle of education and qualification continues to rage on. Because of the IT industry's relatively young age and highly accessible unexplored frontiers--as well as consistency issues with certificate holders and college or university graduates alike--there is still no clear winner in the battle.
Both IT certifications and college degrees are accepted for specific tasks. The tech bubble is one of the more modern, noticeable examples of smart, skilled people making not only fortunes, but boosting from poverty to the middle class and beyond with provable skills.
This level of innovation and performance did a lot to change opinions about people who haven't attended college, but it wasn't a simple issue of certificate-holders defeating the academic world; the same superstars were rising from the academic world at the same time.
To many professionals, it doesn't matter. Certificates for reputable vendors and training organizations such as Cisco, CompTIA, Microsoft, Juniper, and Apple perform the same job as a college transcript: showing that a person has proven their worth against a test asking specific questions.
HR professionals need to understand this to make sure that a wide selection of candidates are available while still having the power to narrow down their selections. Certificates simply make matching a skill to a cert name easier, while degrees represent a well-rounded potential that can be expanded upon by looking at specific classes and grades.
Of course, a college graduate who also holds certifications will make an HR professional's job easier--a goal that many technical colleges at the 2- and 4-year level have worked towards in recent years.
When Specialization Becomes Too Broad
One issue with the IT industry is that some skills are highly technical to the point of being inaccessible by anyone who hasn't already had entry level experience, but a large number of experts can become certified within a matter of months.
It's an issue of familiarity and high work load, where a skilled IT professional can just as easily find limitless work in a specialization and still swap to another deep specialization with the same amount of skill. One reason that this becomes confusing for non-technicians is because the technical terms and workload can be so severe that it doesn't make sense to swap out a good performer, but the worker could just as easily change jobs as easily as pouring a bowl of cereal.
With any position that seems extremely specialized and limited, begin a study and training program to detail the common and hardest parts of the job. Figure out which skills are necessary for a job well done, not necessarily the deepest academic and hobbyist depths that may look good when trying to impress interviewers and board members.
Contact an HR consulting and talent acquisition professional, like one from HR Elements, LLC, to discuss ways to fit IT-based HR practices into your business.