How to evaluate training and certification goals to fit your career and employer objectives

How to evaluate training and certification goals to fit your career and employer objectives

Ken GonzalezWhen planning your ITSM career goals and trying to decide how to achieve them, one of the most important things a practitioner can do is an assessment of where you are now and how you got there.
Looking at the pathway you took to your current position – including your experience, education and choices – can help you make an informed decision about where to go next. Seldom do we deviate from the path we are already on and too many of us just remain in the same position; just because you've done it in the past doesn't mean you should do it in the future. It might be your time to change things up a bit and try something new!

A career is a journey and for ITSM practitioners the career-spectrum is rather large, so it's important to consider your goals, wants and needs for the future, as well as your options in the industry too.

Though, previously, many practitioners entered the industry without a career plan, ITSM has become a more popular career choice. I think this is probably based on more graduates wanting to enter the ITSM field having studied Management of Information Systems (MIS) or focused on systems development/engineering topics in university.

Setting realistic goals

You need to ensure your career goals are realistic. Consider the kinds of work that you currently like to do or think you might like to do in the future, what income you want and create a five-year plan for how you need to develop and what you need to learn.

To be objective about your own career options, you might imagine yourself as the character in a work of fiction and decide what the character needs to do in order for it to turn out well. This is a valuable way of approaching your goals without getting wrapped up emotionally.

Support channels

In educational institutions career counselling is the most obvious support but this tends to be very limited for careers in ITSM and so you must look elsewhere also.

Networking groups are a huge opportunity to understand the latest happenings in the industry and give you the operational intelligence of who is hiring and what skills they’re looking for. Also, training providers can “read the tea leaves” at the bottom of the industry’s cup; they know what skills are needed today and where the industry will be tomorrow.

In the workplace there are still too few organizations that are proactive in developing their people – instead they hire those who already have the skills they want. This raises the often-quoted concern of “what if we train our people and they leave?” versus “what if we don’t train them and they stay?!”

In terms of support at work, the HR department is your go-to place; they are probably best positioned to understand where the organization is going, how the company is configured and what skills are required.
Another support network is the recruitment community; they’re passionate about getting people hired, have the right connections and know what organizations are asking for.

The most important takeaway here is that you have many more resources available to you than you think you have. Don't get tripped up by your historical biases. Ask for assistance, get lots of different inputs, think about what that means in your life and then make a decision.

CPD

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is critical to people in the workplace. To a hiring manager, an interviewee who has invested time and effort into developing skills is very attractive; these people are displaying assets hiring managers want to see in candidates by showing initiative and a level of judgement that separates them from their peers.

AXELOS’ Professional Development Programme, launching later in 2015, will become an important tool in ensuring you remain relevant in your chosen industry and keep up with the fast-changing markets, businesses and technology.

Having accreditation in PRINCE2® or ITIL® and being engaged with the AXELOS Professional Development Programme makes good sense and I expect it will become an integral part of the credentials scheme moving forward, adding real value to your career.

Employers need to take ownership of the responsibility of encouraging training and development in their people just as much as individuals should. Having the right people with the right skills and knowledge is key to moving an organization in the right direction. Otherwise any change initiative within the business will soon fail, as people tend to dislike change and try to hold on to the past. If there is nothing to support them moving into the future, it's predictable that some will try to "wait out" the change. People aren't "bad people" for this – not liking or wanting to change is just part of being human.

With the right training, people buy in to change and begin to feel it’s achievable. It’s about giving people enough of a push and preparation for them to step out of their comfort zones, strive for their desired changes successfully and sustain them.

Find out about AXELOS' Professional Development Programme.

Read more AXELOS Blog posts from Ken Gonzalez

Managing the Customer Interface with Best Practice Guidance - and not only in ITIL®!

Project Management in North America - a Potential Still to be Fulfilled

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