Tag Archives: skills and experience

T-Shaped people

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

We recently had an exhibition stand at the HR Directors Business Summit, which took place in Birmingham, UK. One of the main reasons for us attending this event was to find out the role HR plays in developing an internal IT profession, particularly for their IT Specialists.

On the second day of the conference there was a keynote presentation from Jill McDonald, the CEO and President of McDonald’s UK, who was talking about the CEO’s viewpoint of what is required from the strategic HR Director. Part of this presentation discussed the need to find t-shaped people within the organization. This is something that we often hear from both vendors and corporate organizations when they talk about what they are looking for from their IT staff.

T-shaped people are individuals who are experts or specialists in a core skill but also have a broad range of skills in other areas. A t-shaped person combines the broad level of skills and knowledge (the top horizontal part of the T) with specialist skills in a specific functional area (the bottom, vertical part of the T). They are not generalists because they have a specific core area of expertise but are often also referred to as generalizing specialists as well as T-shaped people.

A generalizing specialist is someone who: 1) Has one or more technical specialties […]. 2) Has at least a general knowledge of software development. 3) Has at least a general knowledge of the business domain in which they work. 4) Actively seeks to gain new skills in both their existing specialties as well as in other areas, including both technical and domain areas. – Scott Ambler, “Generalizing Specialist: A Definition

T-shaped people work well in teams because they can see a situation from a different perspective, can reduce bottlenecks, fill skills gaps and take on new skill sets quickly. This then leads to higher team productivity and greater flexibility.

The Open Group IT Specialist (ITSC) program measures an individual’s core competence in a specific stream or domain. However, it also covers a broader range of skills and competencies related to people, business, project management and architecture. In addition, the program looks at an individual’s work experience, professional development and community contribution. The conformance requirements of the program are mapped against your skills and experience rather than a body of knowledge and we assess people skills as well as technical abilities. Therefore, if it’s t-shaped people that you are looking for, then hiring somebody with ITSC status is a good place to start.

Find out more about the ITSC program by joining our webinar on Thursday, March 3.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined the Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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New year, new certification

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

At the beginning of every new calendar year, many organizations discuss with employees specific job-related objectives and career development plans for the next 12 months and beyond. For many individuals, certification is highlighted as something that they should be working towards during the course of the year.

Until recently, virtually all IT certifications have been based on an individual’s recollection of a body of knowledge and his/her ability to pass a computer-based test. Unfortunately, these certifications do not prove that you can apply this knowledge successfully in practice. To achieve certified status you usually have to attend the relevant training course or read the appropriate self-study material before taking the examination. However, knowledge in itself is not an accurate measure of competence and, while question-based tests are practical and objective, they are also more susceptible to fraud.http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1152

Perhaps a better method of evaluating competence to carry out a specific role is to examine the skills and experience that an individual has demonstrated in his/her work. This type of certification usually requires you to prepare some form of written application followed by either an individual or panel interview which may or may not involve a formal presentation as part of the process.

In recent years, The Open Group has developed the IT Architect Certification (ITAC) and IT Specialist (ITSC) programs that are based entirely on skills and experience, and that assess an individual’s “people skills” as well as their technical abilities. There is no test-based examination but instead, applicants must complete a comprehensive application package and then be interviewed by three existing certified board members. Each of the interviews last for one hour and gives the candidate the opportunity to explain to the interviewer how they have met the conformance requirements of the program.

Many organizations around the world have identified this type of skills- and experienced-based program as a necessary part of the process to develop their own internal IT profession. These certifications can also be used in the recruitment process and help to guarantee a consistent and quality-assured service on project proposals, procurements and on service level agreements. As a result, the benefit of achieving this type of IT certification often proves to be much more rewarding for both individuals and organizations.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined The Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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Filed under Certifications, Enterprise Architecture