In 2007, George W. Bush was president, the crime drama The Departed won the Oscar for Best Picture, and an exciting young NBA star named LeBron James played in the NBA Finals for the first time, leading his Cleveland Cavaliers against the juggernaut San Antonio Spurs, who brushed aside Cleveland in a resounding four-game sweep.
It was an exciting time for IT. In January 2007, the book-driven social network Goodreads set sail on the way to an eventual acquisition by Amazon (in 2013), tech giant Apple released a slick new gadget known as the iPhone in June, and TIME magazine closed out the calendar by rating Microsoft's purchase (for $240 million) of a 1.6 percent stake in some trendy-yet-unproven web thing called Facebook as the fourth-worst business deal of the year.
The IT world is a varied and interesting place, of course, and not every new development from 2007 ranks alongside the iPhone in terms of razzle and dazzle. You don't have to make a big splash to have a big impact, and 10 years after its low-key establishment in October 2007, the IT Certification Council is standing tall in pursuit of its mission.
In the beginning, the IT Certification Council had just a handful of member companies and industry groups, including the likes of IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, and CompTIA. The initial forum for conducting business was conference calls, and the vision was limited to sharing ideas about improving the certification programs of member organizations.
IT folks are nothing if not dedicated and inventive, however, and both the ambition and membership of the ITCC grew in subsequent years. After all, when you bring a bunch of smart people together and give them a few shared challenges to overcome, good things tend to happen.
In looking back across his involvement with the ITCC, newly retired IBM certification guru Chuck Cooper wrote in an ITCC blog post that teamwork and idea-sharing have always been hallmarks of the ITCC's drive to improve certification. In a word, Cooper says, the ITCC is about collaboration:
"To meet and share monthly with my peers — experts in the IT certification industry — is of immeasurable value. Even more, it's the access to these same experts for an ad hoc, quick 10-minute call, to ask a question and get an opinion that helped me in my program."
Over its first decade, the ITCC has pushed for better methods of securing exam content and proactive methods of addressing certification cheating. Members have also been influential in promoting the adoption of digital badges to replace the ink-and-paper credentials of yore. The ITCC is also dedicated to sharing its accumulated knowledge via white papers and other publications.
You can't accomplish all of that without the energetic participation of many helping hands, and the ITCC is continuing to seek out like-minded individuals from certification entities everywhere. Membership has grown to include more than 20 different IT industry partners (including Certification Magazine).
That spirit of partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation is still driving the ITCC forward in pursuit of new projects. In coming months, the ITCC will tackle the ambitious undertaking of creating a complete directory of all IT certifications, including both vender-specific and vendor-neutral credentials.
After the ITCC convened for its annual member meeting recently in Seattle, director Kristin Wall Gibson said the group is proud of what it has accomplished and remains committed to bettering certification. "We've covered topics ranging from exam item security, all the way through to badging and versioning within the certification process," Gibson said, promising that the group will "continue to work with our member organizations to get ahead of the next set of important topics within our industry."
Facebook and the iPhone are likely to still be with us in 2027. If its first 10 vigorous years are any indication, so will the the IT Certification Council.