With competition for top talent in the IT field being fiercer than ever, many companies are exploring new options to help with recruitment and retention. One such benefit involves paying for employees’ certifications.


While the benefit to workers is clear, as having a business cover the cost of any form of continuing education is seen as a boon, some organizations struggle to see the value it provides to them. However, paying for employee certifications can actually be a very smart move when handled wisely. Here’s what you need to know.


Fill Skill Gaps

Even in today’s tech-oriented world, it can be hard to find candidates who possess the skills you need to round out your team. And, with unemployment among IT professionals remaining well below the national average, it may only become more challenging.


Choosing to pay for employee certifications can ultimately help you overcome any existing skill gaps as you can sponsor the training of your top employees, giving you access to their new skills. Essentially, you can mold your current staff into an ideal team, covering all the competencies you need to move forward towards your goals. And, by selecting truly talented workers for the task, you can almost guarantee they’ll come back with the level of understanding you need.


A Win-Win

Many businesses turn to traditional offerings, like raises, to keep talented employees on staff. While a larger paycheck is likely to have a positive impact on workers and may improve retention rates, the direct benefit to employers isn’t necessarily as high as with paying for certifications.


Most IT professionals see the value in additional certifications, as it can help them move forward in their career, and companies can benefit from their increased skill level, helping them achieve their goals as well. In some cases, offering certifications in lieu of salary increases can have a similar effect on retention, won’t necessarily cost more than a raise, and gives your company access to skills that may otherwise be unavailable.


Boost Morale

Having an employer support professional growth can be seen as a substantial benefit for workers. Not only does it save them from having to pay out of pocket for additional training, but it also proves the company is invested in their forward progress and various personal goals.


In the end, this can lead to a happier workforce, increasing productivity and improving retention. In addition, employees who are satisfied with their employer are more likely to stay for the long haul, and may also share their appreciation with others, making recruitment efforts easier as well.


Offering to pay for employee certifications does require a strong plan, as you need to exude a level of control over which options are supported and who would qualify for such a program. However, by investing in this area and creating a strong guiding structure, your company has a lot to gain from the arrangement.


If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT professional to join your team, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.



Published in Staffing News

The Difference Between Certificates and Masters Degrees in Computer Security

The requirements for a career in information technology are pretty flexible. While a bachelor's degree in computer or information science is typical, lots of jobs are available without that diploma. Programming skills are easy to pick up as a hobby and there are industry-standard certifications, like Sun Certified Java Developer, that confirm qualifications.

When it comes to computer security, though, businesses don't want to take a chance on a hobbyist. Security breaches are too common, and the costs too high, to take the risk. While some undergraduate programs cover security threats and countermeasures, a graduate program is more likely to provide the specialized skills security engineers need. There are two types of programs: a graduate certificate or a master's degree.

Graduate Certificate in Computer Security

Certificate programs are short and focused. They are often intended for working professionals and don't take too long to complete. Some programs are online, making them even more convenient. This makes certificate programs a good choice for those who are already in the workforce and need additional qualifications for a more senior position.

Typically, these programs require 2-3 courses plus possibly several electives. They cover material like network security, intrusion detection software, and encryption. Electives are related to areas like mobile and Web threats or e-commerce security concerns. The material is generally entirely practical, with little attention to current research.

At some schools, the credits earned while studying for a certificate can be applied to the requirements for a master's degree, if the student later decides to complete that program.

Master's Degree in Computer Security

Students with master's degrees complete a longer, more in-depth course of study. While certificates typically require 12-18 credits, the degree programs require up to 36 credits. Students may have the chance to participate in research activities. Students may need to complete a thesis presenting original work in order to obtain the degree.

The program can take several years to complete. Studies cover a wide variety of cybersecurity topics, possibly including computer forensics, malware, and cryptography. Programs often offer exposure to real-world cybersecurity incidents.

At some institutions, it's possible to combine studying for a master's in computer security with studies for a second master's degree, such as business administration.

Published in Staffing News