The only thing faster than the pace of change in the information technology realm is the figurative spinning motions inside the heads of beleaguered professionals trying to adjust their thinking — yet again — to account for the latest new sensation. No matter what IT discipline you hail from, it's relatively certain that your workday in two or three years from now will be radically different from what it is today.
Given the rapid and ongoing evolution that is everywhere present in IT, there is a constant need for new thinking to address and incorporate all of the changes. In the IT certification realm, advances in computer-based testing that requires exam candidates to demonstrate mastery of actual IT processes (instead of just checking box A, B or C) has test providers scrambling to adopt and implement new methods and tools.
So it's perhaps not surprising that the winner of the IT Certification Council's Innovation Award is a team of testing professionals from The Linux Foundation. The ITCC bestows the award annually in recognition of achievements or inventions that benefit the advancement of IT certification. The 2016 winner was announced in March at the Innovations in Testing Conference held in Orlando, Fla., by the Association of Test Publishers.
This year's award-winning innovation is a secure remote testing platform that developers at The Linux Foundation created to both improve the security of online exams and facilitate communication between test administration officials and exam candidates. The aim of the team that developed the platform was twofold: The developers wanted to improve access to testing for exam candidates in far-flung locales, but also improve both the caliber of the exams and the level of exam security.
Clyde Seepersad, General Manager of Training and Certification for The Linux Foundation, said in a media release announcing the award that his team was motivated to improve Linux testing because of ongoing hiring shortages. "Linux is the most adopted software platform in the world in everything except desktops and laptops. The downside to that is we see a talent gap emerging," said Seepersad, "where there is a lot more adoption of Linux than there are people trained to do it."
By building a new platform to securely deliver advanced Linux exams online, Seepersad and his team hope to extend the reach of The Linux Foundation into the furthest corners of the globe in search of new and emerging Linux talent.
Jim Lucari, Secretary-Treasurer of the ITCC, said that ITCC officials were impressed by the dual achievement of The Linux Foundation in addressing its goals. "Not only does their new performance-based remote testing platform make certifications accessible to IT professionals across the globe," Lucari said, "but they have gone above and beyond to make sure that every individual who completes a Linux certification is doing so under their own merit."
This is the second year that the ITCC has bestowed its Innovation Award. The program began last year, when the winner of the inaugural award was Microsoft Learning product manager Larry Kaye.