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IT credentials must meet demand of 'mobility zealots'

More mobile administrators are seeking IT certifications to show off their expertise. Security is a critical part of learning the ins and outs of enterprise mobility.

When it comes to understanding enterprise mobility management and strategy, what you don't know will hurt you.

IT credentials help recognize administrators' areas of expertise, and they can even help them find jobs. With enterprise mobility becoming an increasing focus among IT departments, mobile certifications can ensure that admins are building the right skillsets. One of the most important skills is securing mobile devices, apps and data, according to Peter Coddington, president and founding member of the Maryland-based Certified Mobile Device Security Professional (CMDSP) organization.

The CMDSP is a vendor-neutral mobility certification that focuses specifically on security. Candidates must take a training course that builds skills in BYOD policy management, wireless network administration, mobile device and OS management and more. After passing a 75-question test, certificate holders earn the CMDSP for three years, at which point they must renew the credential. 

Here, Coddington shares his views on the mobile certifications market and explains what IT pros need to know about enterprise mobility.

Why do administrators today need mobile IT credentials?

Peter Coddington: With BlackBerry going away and iPhones and Android really coming on strong, and eventually Windows phones ... there has to be a person at a company that can run effectively the fleet of mobile devices that employees use for work.

Peter CoddingtonPeter Coddington

There is a growing number of mobility zealots at all corporations. They are the architects of enterprise mobility management programs, which is taking the value of these devices and fitting them into the workflow of a company. There are people that are pushing that forward and then there are the administrators that actually have to do the nuts and bolts of making it run. So the credential helps either of those two positions.

What are the major skills and topics mobile IT admins need to be familiar with?

Coddington: The first is ... understanding the hardware of an iPhone, Android, a Windows phone and BlackBerry phone. One of the differences between a laptop or a desktop and a mobile device is a mobile device has 17 sensors in there ... that can do everything from detect heat to light to humidity to whether you're walking, where you're located.

On-the-job credentials are growing while people are starting to question the four-year tuition thing.

The second pillar is the operating systems -- [for example,] understanding the iOS operating stack as it compares to the operating stack of Android. And there's lots of different versions.

The third pillar is the connectivity to the device: How does information get on and off this device? You have a cellular signal, Wi-Fi, near-field communications that allows for point-of-sale purchases; you have Bluetooth.

And in the fourth pillar [are] the rules, roles, responsibilities, challenges and tools that an EMM strategist has to employ to run a successful program: how to write a BYOD policy, what is BYOD versus corporate-owned, how you handle [human resources], how you handle legal.

What kind of demand do you see for mobile certifications?

Coddington: Europe, where there are a lot of regulations, they really want to make sure that the people running these devices for their corporations and their government agencies know how to secure the devices, secure the data. An employee could be going to a happy hour at the end of work, maybe doing a little work on their phone, leave the phone at the bar, head home. When that happens, you have to take care of that device and selectively wipe off the corporate data.

The standards of HIPAA, SOX, FERPA, all of these regulations ... are always about the security and sanctity of their data. These are growth areas for people to have credentials. But even regular businesses [need credentialed IT staff].

What types of people do you see interested in mobile IT credentials, and can it help them get jobs?

Coddington: There are the IT professionals themselves that work in an IT capacity that see mobility as a growing trend; they love to have more credentials to show their expertise. Then there [are] the employers. They [want] to have it as a requirement to hire their mobile IT administrators. On-the-job credentials are growing while people are starting to question the four-year tuition thing.

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