Many of you pointed out that numerous college IT programs now provide business courses for techies in training. But that's a moot point for those who haven't had the opportunity to attend one of these schools and aren't in a position to do so now. Some of you said an IT business certification program is just the ticket--you're ready to sign up. Others said such a program would be utterly useless.
Some of you suggested tiered programs, with varying levels of certification, la associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees. Others said anything below MBA level wouldn't suffice in terms of career payoff.
Perhaps most important, though, some of you alerted me to the fact that several "business for IT" certification programs already exist. The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (www.iccp.org), a longstanding organization with more than 55,000 certificate holders, offers a Certified Computing Professional (CCP) title to technology professionals who have four years of relevant work experience (or two years plus a technology-related bachelor's degree) and have passed a series of exams administered by the ICCP, covering a variety of business and technology topics. This is a rigorous program, according to those who wrote to me about it, but one they feel is worth the effort. The Project Management Institute (www.pmi.org) offers a Project Management Professional program, with similar options and requirements.
A related concern several readers raised: We need to develop our verbal and writing skills just as much as we need to develop our other business skills. How can we expect corporate execs to take our technology proposals seriously if we can't explain our reasoning clearly, in well-organized, thorough documents? These abilities don't come naturally to everyone, so we should lobby to get our employers to spring for on-site training or to reimburse us for courses we take at local colleges or trade schools.
It Works Both Ways