Business Certification for IT

I'd like to see the creation of an independent group that would certify techies in common business practices.

June 9, 2003

2 Min Read
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Some of the people in the group were less confident than others about financial matters. For them, the No. 1 item on their wish lists was a way to gain a working knowledge of "business stuff" without having to sweat out an MBA.

We all know what TCO and ROI stand for (if you don't, pop on over to for a primer). We've heard of new models, popular with several consulting firms and your finance-buff colleagues, that are being used to build the financial basis for IT projects. But how many of you are truly budget-literate? Do you know, for example, the difference between finance and accounting? How about the difference between financial and managerial accounting? Do you have a working knowledge of statistics?

One business-savvy IT pro I know said that more IT folks need an appreciation for depreciation. Is yours accelerated or straight-line? The model your business office uses can help you decide when to make purchases.

For a few years now we've been preaching the need for techies to get as smart about business as they are about bandwidth. So why is it that there are umpteen courses for certifications in security, Microsoft products, Cisco products, Linux products, Novell products--the list goes on--but to become proficient in the business side of IT you need to enter a full-blown degree program?

Don't get us wrong--plenty of excellent colleges teach technology from a business standpoint, and a sheepskin in this area can be invaluable. But what if you lack the time, the cash or the inclination to go back to school?I'd like to see the creation of an independent group to certify techies in common business practices, specifically geared toward IT projects and problems, and then make them maintain those certifications in the same manner as technology certification programs do by, for example, requiring enrollment in continuing education workshops.

Bottom Line

Such a "Business of IT" certification program would not only help IT pros speak the business office's language, it would also let employers know that they have financial chops to match their technical skills.

Finally, this level of knowledge would help you know when you need help from the business professionals. You trust your business office to have enough technical know-how to make smart financial decisions about technology--and to know enough to defer to you, the technologist, when things get sticky. It's only fair that you should have a reciprocal level of knowledge about the business end of things.

How do you deal with these challenging issues? Would a business-certification program make sense for you or for your company? Do you have a similar, homegrown program in place? Let me know about it. Write to me at the address below.Post a comment or question on this story.

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