As a young boy in Mexico, Iván Loyo developed an interest in technology that was allowed to flourish into a way of life through persistence and voracious consumption of learning opportunities.
Now as instructor at one of his country’s leading technology schools, Loyo is witness to a new generation of technological awakening fueled by a partnership with CompTIA, the IT industry’s global trade association.
Campus Ciudad de México (Mexico City) of the venerable Tecnológico de Monterrey multi-site university system has teamed with CompTIA to become the country’s first university CAPP-Academy, a move already paying dividends.
In 2011, the campus, ITESM-CCM, installed CompTIA A+ training and certification as part of the curriculum for all incoming freshmen within the technology school, regardless of their course of study.
Students are required to take the CompTIA A+ exam at the end of their semester-long course. Loyo, 35, said the chance for students at his campus to obtain internationally-recognized certifications at such an early stage of their academic careers will “increase their chances in the labor market.”
Partnering with CompTIA, Loyo said, has generated a myriad of expectations among students and university administrators.
“I’m convinced that offering different certification training programs has an impact on the professional recognition for our students as they increase their skills,” he said.
All students who take the CompTIA A+ class must take the associated exam at the end of the semester. Earning their A+ certification means a 100 percent score for the class. Students who do not pass the exam will receive their exam score as their score for the course itself.
CompTIA A+ is well-known across the industry for its vendor-neutral approach to such foundation-level technical skills as installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting.
“To become CompTIA-certified means not to be married with some brand,” Loyo said, noting his site’s new training program “is designed to introduce students to issues of relevance, to innovate and collaborate with our country.”
Karla Gamboa, 18, a Business Engineering and IT freshmen, is in preparations to take her CompTIA A+ exam, but can already cite tremendous benefits.
“I believe that industry certifications will become more important with time because while more people get certified, the IT industry will become more competitive and capable of doing more things,” she said. “People will look to be more prepared by taking more certifications.”
Gamboa, who teaches private computer classes in the summer, credited the quality of the information provided in the CompTIA training course.
“It is interactive, easy to read and understand and it is constantly testing you to see if the topic is fully understood,” she said, noting the ability to study at her own pace was also helpful.
Gamboa is mapping out her own certification path that will hopefully include CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+. Loyo recalled in his younger days querying instructors to satisfy his curiosity and build upon a burgeoning technical skill set.
A support technician at the age of 17, Loyo has worked at several IT firms and earned numerous certifications, including CompTIA A+ and Network+. He now considers it his greatest professional challenge to imbue in other students the skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen professions. Accreditation, he believes, is a big part of that.
“Certifications allow us to demonstrate compliance with the requirements and skills needed internationally,” Loyo said. “Despite the high costs of certification exams, certifications mean better working conditions.”
University freshman Gabriel López, 19, has always had a passion for IT, but chose to study Business Engineering and IT to combine the world of technology with an administrative piece.
Although he’s found the study of technical aspects of networks and computer components challenging, Lopez also finds himself fascinated and intrigued which “feeds my hunger for knowledge of the IT world.”
He called CompTIA “a synonym for trust and IT importance.”
“CompTIA is a worldwide industry that is recognized almost everywhere, so by having a certification approved by CompTIA you are demonstrating that you truly master the skills of that certification.”
Lopez, himself an IT teacher of Internet basics for local parents age 30 to 60, has found his passion. He hopes to build on his own knowledge.
Adds Lopez: “CompTIA has given me knowledge that is useful in my other IT classes, as well as my personal experience with IT.
“With this new range of abilities I can become a better IT manager.”
The program is still in its early stages. The first class has yet to test whether their training has prepared them properly to earn certification.
Nonetheless, Loyo sees such high praise of the program to date as a sign of good things to come.
He envisions CompTIA A+ training included in the curriculum of all 33 campuses in the university system across Mexico, including its headquarters in Monterrey.
The international recognition of CompTIA and its well-regarded industry standards is of keen significance to leaders of the private educational institution with an international presence in a dozen foreign countries.
“Technology is rapidly growing and constantly changing, so it is not an easy task to keep up with it,” said Loyo. “This entails changes in processes, designs, new techniques or products. Technological change always involves new challenges.”
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