TL; DR: A key ingredient to professional success is networking, and in no other place does this seem more evident than the IT industry. CompTIA, an industry-leading, nonprofit IT trade association, offers tech professionals an opportunity to collaborate and connect with other like-minded folks in their field. The association fosters cooperation and communication throughout professionally related communities and advances the interests of IT channel organizations and individuals worldwide. The organization’s recognized certification and the credentialing program helps aspiring and existing IT professionals affirm their skillsets, which can jumpstart or further careers. Together, CompTIA’s more than 63,000 members advocate positive change in the IT industry — impacting its global growth and influence.
In the 1990s, Jeff Dryall launched his IT career working at a Tandy Corp Computer City superstore. Today, he’s an executive at IT Glue, a company that provides an IT documentation platform used by more than 2,000 organizations.
Jeff didn’t achieve that level of success overnight. It took more than a few decades to get where he is today. So, to what does he attribute his success? His answer is simple: networking.
“I have had an opportunity to meet many talented, intelligent, and successful business owners and tech leaders throughout my career,” Jeff said. “Those connections have absolutely helped improve my abilities and allowed me to contribute to our industry.”
One of the reasons Jeff was able to network his way to success is because he’s a member of CompTIA, a leading global IT industry trade association. In fact, the entire idea behind CompTIA rests on collaboration between their more than 63,000 premier members and registered users. Events, such as seminars, council meetings, and conferences, are held throughout the year and attract some of the best and brightest experts from verticals throughout the tech community.
In addition to networking opportunities, CompTIA offers an industry-recognized certification program that boosts résumés and furthers careers. Association members hold themselves responsible for promoting the future of information technology. And through their educational resources, tech community-building efforts, and expertise on industry best practices, they lead in advocacy.
Benefits to Members of Hosting and IT-Related Fields
Like most industry trade associations, CompTIA is built on members. However, what sets them apart is CompTIA views membership as a two-way street.
People who join the organization aren’t expected to just use their membership for personal or professional gain — they’re expected to contribute, too. In fact, CompTIA expects their members not only to add value to the overall program but to other members as well.
Currently, there are two levels of CompTIA membership: Registered Users and Premier Members. Registered Users enjoy free access to CompTIA research reports, training materials, and communities. Premier Members pay a premium to gain entry into higher-level benefits such as trainings, business tools, and networking opportunities over multiple verticals in the IT industry. Premier membership is available for solution providers, distributors, vendors, channel associates, and advocates.
Stay on Top of Industry Trends & Technology With Insights & Tools
CompTIA members enjoy access to the latest in IT research, trends, and developments thanks to the organization’s Insight & Tools library. Whether members are looking for case studies related to IT, guides on contracts and negotiations, or a primer on internet security, they can find the information through CompTIA.
The IT industry is broad and diverse, so CompTIA allows members to drill down into content relevant to their niche. For example, cloud providers can zero in on topics of interest to them by browsing the library that specifically hosts documents related to cloud computing.
Members can also filter library contents in a number of other ways depending on need. Searches can be filtered by channel, technology, business, audience, and location.
Network & Collaborate With Other Professionals & Experts at CompTIA Events
The association encourages IT professionals to network with one another at CompTIA or other IT-related events. CompTIA-hosted events are packed with executive leaders in various technology divisions who share their knowledge with attendees. Meetings typically include expert panels, seminars, executive forums, training sessions, and partner conferences.
Their annual conference ChannelCon is billed as the biggest IT channel event each year. Influencers and industry experts converge at ChannelCon to present topics of interest to every IT channel imaginable. Members, vendors, and businesses of all types benefit from the extensive networking opportunities the event presents.
Contribute to Your Part of the IT Channel in Communities & Councils
CompTIA claims their IT communities “make their goal of advancing the IT industry possible.” They’re filled with experts, thought leaders, consultants, and representatives from a variety of disciplines.
There are several communities, each with its own set of goals and a leadership team. For example, one of the goals of the cloud community is to build a vendor Trustmark so that cloud providers can differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. Educating government agencies on the cloud is another push.
CompTIA includes several advisory councils that play a role in vendor-neutral education, IT certification, and advocacy. The councils are divided into two groups: advisory councils and public sector councils.
Advisory councils include:
- Vendor Advisory Council – explores issues relevant to ISPs, hardware manufacturers, software vendors, and carriers
- Partner Advisory Council – represents the interests of resellers, MSPs, cloud service agents, and telcos.
- Distributor Advisory Council – explores industry issues related to distributors
- End-User Commission – a panel consisting of people employed outside the IT industry who offer demand-side feedback to high-tech organizations
Public sector councils include:
- Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group – offers guidance to improve the delivery of human services programs
- Space Enterprise Council – represents all sectors of the space industry
- State & Local Government Education Council – acts as the voice of IT serving state and local government and education
These councils work to further underscore CompTIA’s dedication to collaboration and promotion of the IT community working together toward a common end.
2M+ Certifications & Counting — CompTIA Credentials Further Careers
With CompTIA certifications under their belt, those who approach IT hiring managers will often find it easier to land a desired job.
As of now, the organization offers three types of certifications:
- CompTIA A+ – demonstrates professionals have a broad understanding of the most common hardware and software technologies in business (a starting point for a career in IT)
- CompTIA Network+ – demonstrates the necessary skills and knowledge required to design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot a wired or wireless network
- CompTIA Security+ – demonstrates IT security knowledge and skills which are frequently in high demand as managers read news reports of high-profile hacking
For those interested in or already working in IT, CompTIA’s certifications page serves as a resource in and of itself, showing how career paths can be forged through credentialing. Here, IT professionals, students, educators, employers, and other individuals can learn what makes CompTIA certifications so valuable and at what stage in their professional development credentialing might be necessary.
Advocacy Promotes a Positive Future for the IT Industry
CompTIA’s advocacy groups promote the cultivation of a highly skilled workforce, encourages cooperation in the field, and advances regulations that make it easier for private companies to produce IT solutions. Policies of focus include taxation, trade, immigration, internet security, privacy, emerging technologies, environment, and education.
CompTIA members who become a part of one or more of these advocacy groups will often find how easy it is to network with other professionals concerned about the similar issues. People who work together for public interest goals often foster long-term professional relationships.
It’s exactly those types of relationships that helped Jeff Dryall achieve success. To this day, his most important piece of advice to IT professionals is to constantly network.
“Always make friends, share, and learn as much as possible as often as possible,” he said. “When you aren’t the smartest person in the room you are in the best possible place. Learn the industry. Learn the technology, and learn as much as you can about the people who are as passionate about the tech space as you are.”