Information Communication Technologies & Digital Media Sector Team

As anyone who has worked in IT knows, certifications are key to a successful career. The earlier someone can obtain them, the better equipped they’ll be to meet the demands of the IT and cybersecurity workforce.

However, certifications are expensive and the process to earn them is complicated for students and instructors.

A new train the trainer program has already given more than 300 instructors the tool they need to bring CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification into their classrooms. In addition, a voucher program is providing an opportunity for 1,000 students to take those certification exams for free.

The training program is delivered in a series of nine webcasts on ITProTV delivered over the course of five weeks. Linthicum guides participants through the exam objectives which test students’ foundational knowledge in information technology, databases, and cybersecurity.

John Craig, an instructor at Long Beach City College, completed the training this summer and said what he learned will prove valuable in the classroom this fall.

“For me, a very important feature of this training is understanding how the different knowledge domains break down,” Craig said. “Knowing what percentage of the certification will focus on specific areas of study, and having Steve specifically address these different areas, maps exactly to what I want to do in my class.”

On the student side, about a quarter of the 1,000 available vouchers have been utilized by everyone from middle school students to cyber coaches and instructors. More than 80 percent of all participants passed the CompTIA certification exam, and more than 75 percent passed it on their first attempt.

Establishing the importance of certifications early on is essential for getting students to buy into the idea that they are important for success in IT and cybersecurity. In fact, certifications can lead to a high-paying job that does not require a college degree — especially when combined with apprenticeships and other professional experience.

“We have introduced students to industry-recognized certifications, and most of them now have their first certification, a recognized key to success for IT/cybersecurity careers,” Linthicum said. “Entry-level positions do not require an associate or bachelor’s degree. Students entering this career path can obtain additional higher level certifications through courses offered by California’s community colleges.”

Moving forward, Linthicum plans to continue promoting the exam vouchers this fall and focus on helping students pass a new version of the CompTIA exam.

The IT Fundamentals exam is the only one that can be proctored outside of a testing center. The ITProTV training videos and Practice Labs exercises can be accessed anywhere, which makes it ideal for teachers to utilize in their classrooms as a supplement to cyber competition activities.

To learn more about the train the trainer webinar series or watch the sessions on-demand, visit bit.ly/2KQrsw7.

Read the CompTIA case study featuring the company’s partnership with California Cyberhub to offer cutting-edge educational resources and certifications to students.