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Talent Development Training And Certification

Talent Development Training And Certification
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What is talent development and how does it relate to IT professionals? Today, we explore some options for talent development training and certification along with some key ingredients to making it a success for your IT organization.

In the overall field of training and certification, there's a growing role for Human Resources (HR) and learning professionals within organizations in the area of what's sometimes called "talent development." Talent development refers to various means whereby current employees or contractors can enhance, extend or develop their skills and knowledge.

Given that our focus here is on IT jobs and roles, we will explore how talent development relates to IT professionals (and those who work with and support them in their job roles), but this field covers the entire range of job roles within any given organization. That's why you'll encounter some programs, for example, that specialize in or include talent development that also cover executive coaching or mentoring and leadership development or training. Keep this in mind as you peruse this article, understanding that talent development ultimately applies across the board.

Keys To Talent Development: Training And Learning

Within the HR function, talent development is a growing and increasingly important subdiscipline. Companies and organizations of sufficient scale to warrant a fully-fledged HR department—which usually means medium-to-large sized businesses and enterprises in both the private and public sectors—understand that attracting talent is just the start of the process of developing and nurturing the best employees. Talent development proceeds from an understanding that, no matter how good or capable an employee may be at the present time, with training, coaching and growth opportunities, that employee can always improve and enhance his or her capabilities and prospects. The payoff for employers is that by investing in employee development, organizations can enhance the productivity and value of employees, thereby improving their own overall value and financial performance.

Within the talent development function, learning, mentoring and coaching are all regarded as important tools to help employees realize their fullest potential over time. For IT professionals, especially in the early-to-mid phases of their careers, learning with a general goal of creating, enhancing and extending technical skills and knowledge is paramount. Later on, coaching and mentoring (usually one-on-one activities or encounters) focus on high-value employees being groomed for increasingly higher and more responsible team lead and/or management roles within their organizations.

Thus, we see an increasing focus on learning-related topics in the talent development arena. This has lots of interesting implications and entailments. First and foremost, it means that organizations and individuals who take on talent development responsibilities understand that learning is a key ingredient in that equation. Further, this brings a more professional approach to learning inside organizations across the board. Thus, acquiring learning inputs—such as assessment, training, testing and other qualifications—and managing learning delivery must now adhere to some kind of talent development goals and strategy.

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This means that that the same HR people who recruit and hire new employees, with the follow-on onboarding and training processes that bring new staff up to speed, must continue to develop and improve current and new employees going forward. Consequently, a great many more companies and organizations are looking for learning environments, often called learning management systems (LMSs), so they can provide, assign and track learning progress and accomplishments within an organization framework that dovetails with management's goals for employee acquisition, retention and development over time.

This a different ballgame from the scenario so beloved of IT professionals, where they work with their bosses to use up a training budget, and pick their own training providers, topics and venues. There are big changes to the whole "training at or through work" game coming, as training companies that understand the value proposition of LMS-based training and staff development begin to extend offerings to small-to-medium sized companies. Those smaller outfits may not want to spend enough time and resources to implement an LMS in-house, but they have no objection to cultivating a relationship with a training company that meets their training and development needs. An increasing number of such companies make access to their LMSs (with tracking and progress reports to management, and access to learning materials, labs, and both practice and real tests for employees) part of their training offerings.

Talent Development Training And Certification

There are numerous training and certification programs available for HR and management professionals who want to get involved in talent development. A brief online survey turned up no less than seven organizations that offer training and certifications or professional certificates in this area, so there are plenty of opportunities for those interested in working this patch to improve their own skills and knowledge. For most IT pros, however, this is probably more of tangential than direct interest, so I provide some pointers to programs and leading credentials or offerings in the table below.

Training Companies And Associations Serving Up Talent Management

Sponsoring Organizations
Key Certifications
Other Credentials
Institute of Organization DevelopmentTalent Management Certified Professional (TMCP)5 other certs
Association for Talent Development (ATD)Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)None
Human Capital InstituteHuman Capital Strategist (HCS)4 other certs
Training Industry Inc.Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM)None
Canadian Society of Training and Development (CSTD)Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP)1 other cert
Langevin Learning ServicesCertificate programs: Training Generalist8 offerings
International Society for Performance ImprovementCertified Performance Technologist (CPT)None

What Can IT Pros Do About Talent Development

At first glance, it might not seem like IT pros can do much about talent development inside their own organizations. But for one thing, it never hurts to ask if this is a practice already in use where you work, or looming on the planning horizon. For another thing, if your company or organization has an HR department and they don't know about or aren't active in this area, it won't hurt to offer them some information and some pointers to go along with it.

Given that unemployment in IT is at a current low point of 2.9 percent or thereabouts (as per the figure for the "Information" sector in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation news for January 2016), HR organizations (and the companies or organizations that put them to work) are going to have to start thinking about employee retention and development. Why not give them a hand with some potentially useful information? At the same time, you may very well open some doors for your own professional growth and development.

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