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IT Fundamentals Skills Assessment (Hands-on training)

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By: Cybrary Staff

February 24, 2022

Why IT skills assessments are essential in the modern workplace Businesses must ensure the best candidates occupy their IT positions, so skills assessments are vital to acquiring and nurturing talent.

Summary: When hiring new employees or developing and promoting existing ones, running skills assessments can save valuable time while helping managers better understand the skills of individuals and teams. This way, they are better positioned to foster a culture of continuous learning and high engagement.

Given the constantly evolving nature of information technology, it is no longer enough to hire employees based on formal higher education alone. Resumes and interviews can only reveal so much. When evaluating candidates for IT job roles, it is vital to consider their formal education and their demonstrable skills and experience in the space.

For those wanting to start a career in IT, learning the basics, such as networking and security fundamentals, is almost always necessary. Earning an entry-level certification, such as CompTIA IT Fundamentals, can also validate and demonstrate the skills and experience required to start a career in IT.

What is an IT skills assessment?

Another principal starting point, particularly for those who already have some experience, is an IT skills assessment. A skills assessment is ideal for testing a candidate’s fundamental knowledge of key computing concepts, such as managing application software, security fundamentals, and setting up basic infrastructure.

Skills assessments can either be conducted in person by a hiring manager or alone ahead of pursuing a formal certification. These tests take various forms, such as hands-on simulations, multiple-choice tests, or simple questionnaires. Sometimes, hiring managers incorporate skills assessments in their application processes.

IT skills may be assessed using proficiency levels that align with industry-standard credentials, like Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) or Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP). Such assessments are also ideal for candidates to assess their readiness to take a particular certification exam.

When to run IT skills assessments

Some people are naturally more academic, while others excel in hands-on activities. As far as HR managers are concerned, the latter is far more salient. A skills assessment pays no heed to how someone learned what they know – only what they know and what they can do. In a fast-changing area like IT, that is what counts.

Managers can run skills assessments as part of hiring and employee development programs. For example, running tests on new job candidates can save time and help hiring managers narrow down the list of candidates. For existing employees, skills assessments are essential in the career development process. In this respect, they can assess an employee’s readiness for promotion and identify skills gaps in the organization.

The latter point is perhaps the most important, not least, because the IT skills gap continues to widen in many parts of the world. Skills assessments help managers better understand how the skills of their employees and teams align with current business needs. As such, they play a central role in reskilling or upskilling initiatives.

By having everyone on a team take a skills assessment, managers can create employee skills matrices that clearly illustrate the strong and weak points. That way, they can invest strategically in the most suitable training programs and make progress needed to foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning.

Benefits of IT skills assessments

The objective nature of skills assessments means they can eliminate intrinsic biases in hiring and employee development initiatives. The more weight put into skills assessments means less attention to areas that aren’t as relevant, such as previous employers and demographical attributes – either of which can unfairly sway managers’ decisions. Appropriate assessments are especially important for closing the skills gap and cultivating an inclusive yet skills-based workforce.

Skills assessments can also improve employee engagement by laying the foundation for personalized development plans. For example, just because an employee does not have all of the necessary skills for a particular promotion should not mean their career stagnates. A skills assessment can make assigning the right training materials and programs easier by pinpointing the areas needing improvement. Suitable training keeps employee morale and productivity high while also helping managers overcome some of the biggest recruitment challenges in the space today.

Cybrary for Teams is an all-in-one workforce development platform that helps organizations develop stronger cybersecurity skills, prepare for new certifications, and track team progress.

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