Because obtaining an IT certification, at Linux Professional Institute or another vendor, takes a lot of work, it’s important to hear how certifications improve both individual careers and corporate goals. At the company where I am Senior Talent Consultant, HR, Avinton Japan, LPI certifications are required for all our engineers. This article shows the advantages of a bold approach to using certifications to hire staff and assign them to engineering projects.
Avinton Japan is an engineering firm with strengths in AI, data analysis, infrastructure, and back-end development. Many of the projects we work on are developed in a Linux environment, and it is very important for us to acquire Linux know-how when doing engineering in any field.
Therefore, it is strategically important for all Avinton Japan engineers to fully handle Linux. Data scientists can build data stores, AI engineers can deploy models, and web engineers can build cloud servers on Linux. Linux skills are the common foundation that allows us to contribute to society without being restricted to a specific field.
(You can read more about what a Linux beginner needs to know to become an engineer on our blog.)
For the reasons given in the previous section, Avinton needs our engineers to learn Linux, but there is one problem in doing so: It is difficult to find opportunities to work with Linux outside of their work at Avinton. To overcome this problem, Avinton Japan has set the LPIC-1 certification as a condition for employment. LPIC-1 is represented by the best Linux learning material, and at the same time it is extremely reliable as a proof of Linux skills. This choice as a recruiting strategy is important to maintain our guarantee that all of our engineers can handle Linux and to strengthen our sales force.
By having engineers obtain LPIC-1 as an entry-level qualification, you too can create an opportunity for all engineers to work with Linux, learn Linux skills, and have an objective way to prove to clients that they have mastered the skills.
From an HR perspective, the most difficult part of hiring engineers is measuring skills. Personality can be assessed in an interview. However, it is very difficult to assess an engineer’s skills, especially delivery skills. Some may be experienced and have a great skill sheet, but have poor technical skills in real-life environments. We cannot ask them to show us the deliverables they have produced at other companies, and in many cases, they have been developing deliverables as a team, so even if they tell us what the previous company has achieved, it does not give us an insight into their individual skills and contribution to the project.
Therefore, the most reliable indication of an individual’s skills is one or more of the many IT-related certifications. Having a certification proves that you understand the content of the certification as an individual. When assigning an engineer to a project, it is important to match the person to the team and the skills to the job. When matching skills, having qualifications to prove competence provides HR with a great sense of security when hiring and assigning engineers.
The same can be said for hiring and post-assignment evaluations. It is not difficult to evaluate a person’s contribution to a project. However, when working in a team environment, it can be difficult for HR to estimate the level of technical contribution and growth because of the impact of team matching and communication. In such cases, acquiring a new IT-related certification can be a sure sign that you have improved or broadened your technical skills, which can lead to a solid evaluation.
With boundary-crossing concepts such as CI/CD and DevOps becoming more widespread, and the boundary between infrastructure and development becoming thinner, it is increasingly important to broaden engineers’ scope of coverage to include new fields and software development stages. However, there are very few ways for an engineer to prove that they have learned enough. Therefore, qualifications such as LPI certification are effective not only for people entering the discipline of software engineering, but for those trying out new skills such as DevOps.
IT certifications are becoming increasingly important because current engineering careers tend not to follow a straight line of specialties, but aim for a higher level by passing through many fields in a spiral fashion. At Avinton, we provide maximum support for certification acquisition by our staff, and promote it by reflecting the acquired certifications in personnel evaluations.
Our experience at Avinton Japan shows that it pays an engineering firm to be alert and forward-looking when it comes to professional certifications. For our needs, LPI certifications are a crucial part of our strategy for recruiting software engineers and training them on new skills. Both our staff and our services benefit from a smart use of certifications.