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Do Professional Certifications Matter: a Case Study from Singapore

  • Posted On December 3, 2013
  • Categorized In Blogs
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img-cloudIn this study commissioned by iKompass, correlations between certifications and salary are explored. The study group was made of 127 people who were involved in taking up different certifications such as PMP (Project Management Professional) certification, Cloud certification, CCNA etc.
For a small country such as Singapore that has no natural resources, people are its biggest asset. Just as a country that has oil nurtures its petroleum industry with utmost care, Singapore nurtures its people by creating an environment conducive to talent. The certifications or credentials one holds presumably plays a big role in decision making related to careers.
The study involved establishing a correlation between the number of credentials and the corresponding salaries people earned. The sample size for the study was all from Singapore and randomly selected based on similar demographic criterion such as common university education, age, etc.

Leaders of organizations constantly gripe about not having enough talent. With constant change looming over the horizon, it is imperative that one stays ahead of the talent game. This is achieved through upgrading oneself through education. Beyond the industry need for certified professionals, people in Singapore seem to be intrinsically motivated to learn. 83% of the participants in the iKompass said that they enjoyed the process of learning beyond just landing a job.

Companies spend millions in upgrading their employees skills at all levels. 90% of our participants attended at least 1 in-house training required by the company and 68% of our participants attended a workshop of their own choice. The study also focused on the tangible value that resulted from people undergoing training.

In real terms, the study tracked the career progress of 40 credential holders who attended a PMP training in Singapore conducted by. As a control group, study included 40 non credential holders from the same organizations as that of the PMP credential holders. This was a between group experiment and both groups had similar age and college education profiles.

The independent variable was the number of credentials along with the a weighting score for each credential based on the perceived importance. The dependent variable was the salary in Singapore dollars. The study was interested in exploring whether those with higher scores in their credential variable also had a higher salary.

The null hypothesis was that obtaining a credential had no significant impact on salary. The alternate hypothesis was that certifications had a significant effect on salary. After running correlation tests, the study had the following results r(39) = 0.4334 p

In order to determine the value of certifications to the organizations, the study collected data on the revenues/productivity gains and other efficiency measures of departments and business units that the participants worked in. After converting these metrics to a standard score, the study revealed that departments or business units that had more certified people performed better than departments with lesser certified staff.

This lends to the inference that certifications do add value to individuals as well as businesses. The government in Singapore has a good hold on shaping the path toward skills upgrading in the form of incentives, subsidies and other schemes. For example, the courses offered by approved training providers are funded by the government to cover 50% of the courses fees and 50% of the exam fees under the Critical Information Technology Resource Enhancement Program (CITREP) program.

Having done trainings across different countries, the instructors at iKompass say that participants in Singapore have the most motivation when it comes to skills upgrading. The PMP classes that iKompass runs in Singapore has had a 100% pass rate in the last 4 months. The same instructors teaching in other countries including countries in Europe and Americas see an average pass rate of approximately 82%.

With the recent development and growth of Web 2.0 technologies, the country has seen a rapid increase in web based start-ups. This has fueled talent shortage in the arena of web programming for technologies using PHP, Ruby on Rails etc., Training providers have seen a growing interest from people without any programming experience to learn web development. To cater to this market, iKompass has a intensive 4 weeks web developer bootcamp in Singapore.
In conclusion, for a country with a history of less than 50 years and with a population of less than 5 million, Singapore relies on its people to propel the economy. With people being its biggest asset, skills, certifications and credentials matter a lot. With the growth in mobile technologies, there is now a rush towards upgrading skills in the domains of iOS and Android programming. iKompass has reported a significant interest for iOS training and Android training workshops in Singapore over the last one year.

Forget Privacy. This is what the Big Boys want you to believe

  • Posted On December 2, 2013
  • Categorized In Blogs
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“Privacy is over. Get used to it” is often attributed to Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun. Is he right? The statement by Scott McNealy when interpreted as individuals having no choice but to assign very little value to personal privacy lends to the notion that individuals do not value privacy anymore.  In this paper, we put forth a contrary view: People care about privacy and online privacy can and should be protected.

The two main concerns of losing one’s privacy are centered on online behavior being tracked and entities monitoring an individual for scrupulous reasons.  “Online predators use information divulged in online profiles and social networking sites to identify potential targets” [1]. These generally do not matter until one is racially profiled or considered a threat to security or is a victim of cyber bullying.

A nonchalant attitude towards privacy issues or outweighing the benefits of information sharing over privacy has a tendency to fuel companies increasing their monitoring activities and aggressively selling personal information for commercial reasons. “Letting the guard down on privacy could also cause harm to the most vulnerable section of the online demographic, children and teenagers who share the most information.” [2]

Parents and job counselors have been warning for years that teenagers and young adults must not post unflattering images to their Facebook pages because, even if deleted, they will persist somewhere on the internet and may be found by prospective colleges and employers [3]. One of the problems around private information being misused centers around how companies such as Google and Facebook use posted information.

Instagram, shortly after being acquired by Facebook, issued new terms of service that gave the company the right to use uploaded images without permission and without compensation. Imagine the damage it could do to a teenager who posted an impulsive “dirty” picture and Instagram uses it to advertise a liquor brand. This example reflects the worsening of privacy misuse as a result of unchecked regulation.

The way out of this is education and regulation. In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is Power”. The more informed the society is, the better it can address need for privacy. Consumers will have to be better educated so they can make the right choice when providing information online. Governments can take an active role in how companies use personal information for commercial purposes.

Companies such as Facebook and Google have a lot to gain commercially by loosening the grip on privacy. The title of this essay with a mention of “Get used it” is a reflection of how these companies want consumers to react – a sense of hopelessness about increasing privacy regulations. However, people still care about privacy. In a study by LoyaltyOne of 1000 consumers, 50 percent said they would not give a trusted company their religious affiliation, 51 percent would not give out their political affiliation, 64 percent would not give out their health information and 85 percent would not give their smartphone location and 75 percent would not give out their browsing history. [4]

These numbers indicate that consumers still value privacy. There has to be a balance between information sharing and how this information is used by companies and other entities. Government regulation of companies who collect and share information could be the key.


[1] Wolak J, Finkelhor D, Mitchell K, Ybarra M. Online “Predators” and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment. American Psychologist, 2008;63, 111-128.[2] Lenhart A. Social Media and Young Adults. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2010[3]Mark F. Foley. Technology Law Update February 2013[4]Bryan Pearson, LoyaltyOne