Enlisting in IT: Free certifications help vets fight unemployment

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Creating Futures also provides job placement assistance, but only about 40% of participants have gotten jobs since 2007, Venator says. He acknowledges that that percentage reflects today's economy and says the job placement success rate is higher for people who obtain the two higher-end certifications, Security+ and Network+. "The A+ certification used to be golden for help desk and internal support positions," Venator says. "But a number of companies are on hiring freezes or have downscaled." Of the four veterans interviewed for this article, all have found some IT-related work.

To help Creating Futures participants find jobs, the foundation works with placement firms such as Robert Half Technology and Bender Consulting Services Inc. The foundation interviews South Carolina veterans through Fast Forward, a Columbia, S.C.-based organization that provides technology education and access to people who have been underserved through traditional programs. It also works to match participants with openings for internships and entry-level jobs at CompTIA member companies such as Citibank, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Disney and Barclays Bank. "We can't guarantee a hire for the participant, but at least we can get them connected with members and their HR departments," says Lisa Fasold, the foundation's communications director.

Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology and a Computerworld.com columnist, concurs. Two of CompTIA's certifications in particular help people master skills that are in demand, he says. "Our clients in general are seeking professionals with strong networking and security skills," he notes.

Veterans will also have an advantage if they have security clearance. "The combination of security skills and clearance is huge," Willmer says. At the same time, "we don't want to sugarcoat it; it's tough times out there," he says. "It's highly competitive, and while certifications don't take the place of on-the-job experience, if you have certification in an area of demand, it's definitely a leg up."

Although Adams got his start in computing before obtaining certification, he credits the CompTIA program with solidifying his career. Without that opportunity, he says, "I most likely would have been working at Wal-Mart."

Brandel is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at marybrandel@verizon.net.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon