Technology Dojo: Why Certifications Matter to DPCI

DPCI President Joseph Bachana considers them an invaluable –and mandatory -- aspect of DPCI’s success. To Bachana, certifications are measurable standards of achievement and capability. For example, anyone can call himself a project manager, but far fewer can say they are certified Project Management Professionals. Many claim to be software architects, but few have the industry certifications to back up the assertion. Although certifications are not a guarantee that a person will be a high-achieving resource, they can serve as another indicator against the backdrop of a person’s education and previous job experience.

As a small business, DPCI places great emphasis on the importance of these certifications. The company needs tangible evidence for its clients that DPCI employees are better, brighter and more comprehensively trained than those at larger competitors. “We need to be technical Navy SEALs,” Bachana said. “Our clients expect us to be at the forefront in project services like development, integration, training, project management and the like.”

Having such certification requirements speaks to the standard of excellence DPCI demands of its staff. “Certifications show a certain discipline, a commitment to the profession, and a commitment to oneself to be the best you can be,” said Bachana, a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). As a result, employees are constantly at the head of their fields.

“As your career grows, so does your responsibility for professional growth,” said Joozer Tohfararosh, VP of Technology. “You are expected to know more and be able to do more.” Certifications provide employees with direction for learning as well as documentation of their growth. Vice President Tracy Gardner (also a PMP) said she feels this direction helps employees understand how they can improve professionally.

“ Certifications give employees something to strive for,” she said. “Without them there is no substantial start or end to their goals.” And although résumé boosting is not the primary motivation for getting certified in a field, the documentation of their development definitely doesn’t hurt.

DPCI’s clients also reap the benefits of employees’ expertise. Customers can have more confidence in DPCI’s ability to fulfill their specific needs if employees are certified in the area in which they seek service. In this way, clients are able to minimize their risks.

There is, however, a greater purpose served by getting certified. Bachana believes it provides a firm foundation on which to acquire wisdom. He equates certifications with the different colored belts received as one learns the requisite skills to move toward a black belt in karate. “They are milestones that build your ability and understanding along the way to reaching the highest level,” he said.

According to Bachana, achieving professional certification doesn’t necessarily demonstrate intelligence, talent, or even expertise, but rather serves as one indicator of the individual’s willingness to strive toward excellence.

Furthermore, the process serves as a base from which employees can develop new approaches to their work. “They [certification courses] are a jumpstart into a mindset of exploring, studying, learning, and discovering,” said Tohfafarosh. With a smile he added, “Also committing to deadlines.”

Some staff, however, originally resisted attending these courses. “A lot of the staff is young,” Tohfafarosh said. “They’re just out of school, just finished classes and don’t want to take more.” He says he is glad, though, that he has gotten in the habit of attending courses and says he continues even if it were not required. He said he especially appreciates that obtaining the certifications has kept him in the classroom frame of mind and forced him to learn things he would not have otherwise.

Gardner added that getting a certification also helps improve the staffers' self-assurance in their abilities: “It gives you a boost of confidence to pass a test, especially one from the authority on a technology, service or product.” She said she feels this confidence translates into better work.

“ Certification really is a winning situation for everyone involved,” said Bachana. “DPCI garners more impressive credentials, the individual employee improves their abilities as a multi-dimensional worker and the clients can have more confidence in the company.”

Certifications are often viewed merely as framed pieces of paper hanging on the wall. At DPCI, where employees must acquire at least one certification within their first year of employment and continue accruing more every year, they are held in much higher regard.