In the middle of Star Wars, as the Millennium Falcon speeds toward Princess Leia's home planet of Alderaan, Obi-Wan Kenobi takes time to teach young Luke Skywalker some basic principles about sensing and wielding the Force. The elderly Jedi master reaches across both a vast generational gap and a deep gulf of experience to help his befuddled companion begin to unlock new truths.
In the here and now, we don't have gallant space wizards who manipulate the chi of the universe to bring enlightenment to the downtrodden and resist the dark designs of scheming oppressors. Information technology (IT), on the other hand, can certainly seem like arcane interstellar magic to the befuddled newcomers who sense its power but haven't yet learned to access it.
This perhaps explains why there has been a sudden preponderance in recent years of IT certifications that teach foundational IT skills. CompTIA has the IT Fundamentals (ITF+) credential. Certiport is launching its Information Technology Specialist certification later this year. TestOut offers the IT Fundamentals Pro certification for high school- and/or college-age beginners.
Now cybersecurity and IT governance professional association ISACA is joining the party. Effective immediately, ISACA is offering a brand new certification that will help budding technologists get a broad-based introduction to IT. The Information Technology Certified Associate (ITCA) credential is designed to "ramp up career advancement with performance enhancement."
To achieve full ITCA certification, candidates must complete five stackable certificates, each of which addresses a different overall IT knowledge domain: Computing Fundamentals, Network and Infrastructure Fundamentals, Cybersecurity Fundamentals, Software Development Fundamentals, and Data Science Fundamentals.
That leaves plenty of room for pick-and-choose specialization. If you're not feeling up to full ITCA certification, then you can drill down on the specifics of one knowledge domain, walk away with a certificate in your pocket, and come back later (or not) to add different domains to your quiver of IT fundamentals mastery.
ISACA is one of the longer-lived professional associations in the entire IT industry, and its certification program, up until now, has included only expert-level credentials designed to validate the skills and knowledge of�highly experienced IT professionals. The ITCA could therefore serve as a valuable funnel to attract young up-and-comers, some of whom may then seek the likes of CISM or CISA.
As noted by ISACA Chief Product Officer Nader Qaimari in a post to the ISACA Now Blog, ISACA brass are aware of the intimidation factor associated with their certification program. Qaimari observes that the rigorous nature of ISACA's advanced certification exams is intended to deliberately narrow the field of potential certification candidates.
On the other hand, ISACA's intention is not to drive people away from IT entirely. Ideally, the ITCA will provide a middle ground for students and entry-level professionals to gain valuable foundational skills and build a relationship with ISACA in the process. "We view it as a gateway certification that will be a stepping-stone to any technology field (newcomers) want to pursue," Qaimari writes.
It only helps aspiring IT professionals to have another entry-level skills certification available, especially one backed by a group with ISACA's prestige. Now there's one more path for befuddled young moisture farmers to step up and join the ranks of seasoned space sorcerers.