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    Developing a Global ICT Workforce Fit for the Future

In the current digital era — in which Information and Communications Technology (ICT) pervades every area of our personal and professional lives — the key to maintaining the rapid pace of digital transformation will be a long-term focus on developing skills that support business growth and innovation.

As organizations across a range of vertical sectors have developed ICT infrastructures and embraced new technologies, we have seen improved delivery of public services, including education, health, public safety, and transportation. Recognition of how digital skills have become critical tools in national as well as global development has led to necessary investment in growing the right talent and providing new opportunities for professionals working in a range of ICT roles.

Many organizations were already prioritizing digital transformation before COVID-19 impacted the pace of industries all over the world. While some sped up efforts already under way, others implemented digital capabilities for the first time to adapt and be better equipped for the 'new normal.' Even before the pandemic, research indicated that in the next decade there will be new ICT roles that have not yet surfaced. These roles are set to become some of the most sought after and depended upon.

A 2018 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, titled 'Skill shift: Automation and the future of the workforce,' identified that "the fastest rise [will be] in the need for advanced IT and programming skills, which could grow as much as 90% between 2016 and 2030." To effectively apply advancements in technology and to develop more efficient business solutions, organizations will need to evaluate their existing business processes, to consider the talent they already have and the talent they need.

Unlocking the Potential of IT and ICT Skills Through Certification

The validation of skills through certification is increasingly relevant in our skills-driven economy, particularly in the ever-changing ICT industry. But what is certification? And why is it so important in the current digital era? Certification is about providing validation for skills and knowledge. In this industry, professionals' credentials are coming under greater scrutiny than ever before. With new types of cyber-attacks emerging every day and threatening business continuity, there is an increasing emphasis on security and data privacy. With this constantly evolving dynamic, certifications are essential for obtaining certain roles in Information Technology (IT) security and for advancing in other specialist areas. As the sector has evolved with greater virtualization and advanced cloud computing technologies, new IT certifications have been launched by leading companies in this space, boosting the credentials of professionals while simultaneously addressing real business challenges.

As the backbone of nearly every industry, ICT requires agile assessments to keep professionals certified on the latest advances in their fields. Employees of leading technology companies are increasingly required to upgrade and update their skills based on the project they're working on or the role they wish to progress into next.

Through innovative computer-based testing, Pearson VUE delivers high-stakes exams that empower professions to certify and license individuals who safeguard and advance their organizations and communities across the globe.

Over the last 25 years, Pearson VUE has worked with many leading players in the information technology and ICT space, delivering exams that validate the skills required for the ICT workforce of the future — skills that support sustainable digital transformation.

From online practice tests to proctored exams that require the industry's most secure testing environments, we deliver more than 16 million exams across 180 countries every year.

Pearson VUE sees first-hand how advancements in technology are shaping the range of certifications pursued by professionals and the pace in which new exam programs are being rolled out by the world's most-respected IT brands.

Computer-based exams present a wealth of opportunities for the ICT industry while providing candidates with flexibility and convenience around verifying their skills. With such a wide array of certifications available to help professionals advance their careers, they can ensure their skills and knowledge remain relevant to both their personal and professional growth and to the requirements of employers. And with the growth of 'the contingent workforce' — professionals who work with companies on an on-demand basis, such as freelancers, independent contractors and consultants — the need to demonstrate skills through credentials in order to stand out in the market is paramount.

According to our most recent bi-annual 'Value of IT Certification' report (which revealed detailed insights from 29,000 candidates around the world), although the global pandemic widely disrupted employers' budgets for staff training, IT professionals remained committed to upgrading skills to enhance their employability and pay. In fact, in 2020 IT certification grew 16% over the previous year.

Those surveyed experienced a range of professional benefits from completing their certification: 73% upskilled to keep pace with changing technologies and 84% agreed their new credentials gave them greater determination to succeed professionally. Meanwhile, 61% earned a promotion after pursuing a certification, and of those reporting a salary or wage increase, 55% were rewarded within three months of earning their credential. Within six months, that figure jumped to 77%.

As well as attaining a certification, these professionals reported earning greater professional credibility — 76% identified increased respect from peers as a benefit, the same figure (76%) reported increased job satisfaction, and 91% felt their certification increased their confidence in their skills and abilities.

With the continued emphasis on talent development backed by our own research, we are certain of the increased relevance and efficiency of certification in cultivating future talent. Individuals who embrace certifications will drive forward their own careers and help shape the future course of their organization or even their industry.

Growing Global ICT Talent

As part of its 'Platform + Ecosystem' strategy, Huawei works with many different technology partners all over the world. The company has developed customer-centric and innovative technology solutions that support digital transformation and has made steady progress in nurturing up-and-coming talent.

Since 2018, Pearson VUE has been Huawei's exclusive global testing service provider, delivering its certification exams through a network of 5000 test centers around the world.

Following revenue growth of more than 15% in 2017, Huawei required a more accessible way for its engineers and technical experts to pursue certifications.

By offering professionals the convenience of computer-based testing at significant scale, Huawei is able to meet the requirements and changing demands of the ICT industry. Its investment in a global certification program has delivered on its key objective: developing and growing ICT talent on a global scale.

User experience has also significantly improved as a result of its testing partnership with Pearson VUE; professionals don't have to travel to another city (or perhaps even another country) to take their exam. Candidates benefit from a consistent testing experience wherever they are, and by being able to certify a large cohort of professionals, quickly and seamlessly, Huawei has the capabilities it requires to build a healthy ICT talent pipeline for the future.

Pearson VUE continues to help Huawei to align its ICT certifications with international standards, so that its emerging talent can gain recognition in the global ICT industry after obtaining their certifications. For example, Huawei's global certification program has been mapped against the Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals (equivalent to the first two years of a UK undergraduate degree). By the end of 2020, Huawei had certified over 400,000 professionals — talented ICT specialists ready to respond to the increasingly complex challenges facing businesses today.

The sector's recognition of Huawei's high standards and commitment to encouraging and empowering employees to pursue certification is very encouraging. With the impact of the ongoing pandemic, the need for upgrading technical skills will continue to be a priority for many types of organization. We look forward to expanding our partnership based on our mutual understanding of the significance of lifelong learning, supporting Huawei's global workforce, which is always looking for ways to improve and to stand out in one of the fastest-growing and most exciting industry sectors.

Pull quote:

"Over the last 25 years, Pearson VUE has worked with many leading players in the information technology and ICT space, delivering exams that validate the skills required for the ICT workforce of the future — skills that support sustainable digital transformation."

—Dr. Gary Gates, Managing Director, Pearson VUE