Stop and think for a minute — where would mobility be today without the developer revolution?
Without the miraculous combining of almost the entirety of humanity’s knowledge, creativity and understanding with a sleek, portable and amazingly navigable key to experience it all, you might as well be holding a garage door opener in your hand. Enter those who code.
Features exclusive to HTML5 and soon-to-arrive 5.1 give even more power to web developers, including better support for graphics and media, which will be critical as the battle for consumers’ eyeballs intensifies.
Producers of app development tools now offer programming environments that enable programmers to employ these languages to create other types of software, such as mobile and desktop computer apps.
Web programmer, meet the new you: app programmer
The result? A clear shot for web developers to become app developers, and the emerging possibility app programming — along with its potential for more lucrative and exciting job opportunities — is within reach of a larger audience of developers.
Today’s app developer is forced to develop against multiple platforms. Gone are the days of universal demand for a single operating system (Windows in the world of desktop; iOS in the initial mobile world). The ability to develop a single app across iOS and Android operating systems is now a bare-minimum requirement. The most sought-after developers possess skills that can easily translate to other platforms (like Microsoft or BlackBerry) on demand.
Setting forth from IT’s ivory tower
One fact hasn’t budged since the founding of the first for-profit venture: Employees who wear suits usually take home the most money.
Ironically, as lean operations and doing more with less have become mantras in growth’s pursuit, those who thrive in this setting — e.g., insightful, decisive managers — receive bigger paychecks than at any time before.
App developers who improve their abilities to observe, analyze and reference a continually expanding knowledge base by obtaining a project management professional (PMP) certification will claim the lion’s share of leadership roles in their organizations’ most promising initiatives.
Many will also earn the right to strategize with the C-suite.
Up-to-date training in CRM software deployment and functionality yield similar IT career advances, thanks to the growing rewards — and lowering costs — from placing this crucial business intelligence operation on mobile devices linked to cloud services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) models.
For example, Salesforce.com offers certifications on its products for administrators, developers, implementation experts and architects, reinforcing CRM training’s outstanding benefits to today’s IT specialists.
A coda for coders
A complete evaluation of any IT certification ought to encompass what the courseware itself contains and how instructors deliver it and students access it. Here are two recommended attributes and the reasons why each can maximize your training investment:
Vendor-neutral training emphasizes general principles that transfer across product lines and product versions, giving students a solid framework for adapting to the myriad of today’s software programs.
This emphasis also leads to a longer shelf life — a sensible precaution against frequent upgrades that sometimes render vendor-specific certifications obsolete far too quickly.
Migrating to the cloud gives heft to the argument for vendor-neutral certifications, since those who select this approach can more readily qualify multiple suppliers and avoid vendor lock-in. (Fortunately, this isn’t an all-or-nothing deal; you can mix vendor-specific with vendor-neutral training in whatever proportions make sense to your organization.)
Extended live environment access
According to a recent and notable study by CompTIA, increasing numbers of IT managers and human resources departments want to screen potential hires for how well they perform on the job as well as the depth and reach of their learning. In response, the certification industry revised its assessment model toward a performance-based approach.
By definition, performance-based testing requires candidates complete a task or solve a problem within a simulated work environment rather than simply answer questions. The certification, in turn, becomes a better indicator of real-world behavior.
The best way to prepare for hands-on performance exams, arguably, is to practice via hands-on class activities and lab time that cover a range of challenging scenarios. Extending that live environment after instruction ends gives students precious extra hours to rehearse, and rehearse again, smart planning under pressure.