This levels the playing field for those old dogs that are still willing to try a new trick: certification in information storage technologies. EMC’s Gina Minks explains:
“There is a critical lack of skilled storage professionals. This is a big problem, given exponential data growth, ever-increasing business and regulatory requirements for data retention, and the widening array of devices that generate information. Poorly designed and/or managed infrastructures put all of that data at risk. Certification programs, such as the EMC Proven Professional program, are a formal validation of storage expertise. The program provides instruction and hands-on practice for individuals interested in learning about everything required to plan, deploy, manage and leverage an information infrastructure.”
Minks goes on to explain that different levels of certification can address different types of job offerings:
“High-tech enthusiasts can sign up for ‘open’ certification (which focuses on all segments of information and storage management) or they can focus on EMC-specific certification. There are three levels of certification for all tracks that are based on a person’s ability: Associate, Specialist, and Expert. Whether they take the open track or they focus on EMC technologies, certifications can open many doors during the job seeking process.”
In fact, employers that can’t find qualified candidates will often send new employees to certification programs in order to train them more quickly. Certified professionals have already self-organized and formed “Proven Professional” groups on LinkedIn (over two thousand certified professionals are currently members of this group).
The lack of extensive university training won’t last forever.
EMC itself has bumped up against this problem as part of its own hiring needs. They’ve begun to partner with hundreds of academic institutions as part of the EMC Academic Alliance. The window is still open, however, for Boomers that want to work through a certification program.
The second dynamic in favor of continued Boomer high-tech employment is the global phenomenon known as reverse innovation. For the last twenty years large corporations have strategically planted R&D centers in developing countries to take advantage of cheap labor rates. Boomers once again played a large role in the creation of these “off-shore” locations. In many cases they built strong working relationships with their foreign counterparts, and learned how to conduct business with different cultures. Innovation was often created in the US and a portion of the work was transferred overseas.
In 2010 reverse innovation is taking place.
The global R&D centers are creating products for developing markets and exporting the new products back to the US. This situation places a very high value on those US employees that are experienced in the transfer of high-tech product specifications and collaborative development.
When it comes to this type of international high-tech collaboration, Boomers are preferred. Distributed development teams are complex and difficult to manage efficiently; experienced Boomers can add value by drawing on their previous experiences.
In the short term, the iPod-toting, cell-phone using, Facebook-savvy all-digital generation does not necessarily have the advantage when it comes to tech jobs. Boomers can still work hard at understanding the information plumbing of the internet. They can continue to leverage their international experiences.
And they can start to tweet about it. All the way to retirement.
Programming Note: CNBC presents “TOM BROKAW REPORTS: BOOMER$!”a CNBC original reported by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw, tonight on CNBC at 9pm/ET