The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution (BTVI) was recently recognized as the single largest consumer of Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) exams in the Caribbean and Latin America, in addition to obtaining the highest results of over 40 testing centres.
CompTIA is a leader in the Information Technology (IT) industry worldwide, issuing professional certifications. BTVI has over 300 students taking CompTIA exams annually.
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Leroy Sumner, said the institution is intentional about having its IT students sit for international certifications.
“The numbers are not by accident. They are strictly by policy. All students in IT are eligible to take the certification exams and they know that from they register. We understand the importance of certification,” he stated.
BTVI President, Dr. Robert Robertson concurred, adding that as a technical school, the institution sees certifications as supplementary to the academic side of programs.
“Certifications carry a lot of weight. They work hand in hand with experience and can go a long way in advancing one’s career. They keep you on your toes because in order to keep up with the latest technology, there is a need to earn the latest certifications,” said Dr. Robertson.
Director for CompTIA Latin America-Caribbean, Leonard Wadewitz, too spoke to the significance of certifications in a very competitive IT industry.
“Any certification is a validation measurement of your skills. It is an objective, as opposed to subjective, measurement. Don’t put on your resume Computer Technician. You are IT Infrastructural Support Specialists,” stressed Mr. Wadewitz.
Meanwhile, BTVI’s Chair of IT, Anthony Ramtulla is pleased with the students’ success.
“We changed the paradigm. We are meeting and exceeding standards. Our record speaks for itself. In share volume of taking exams and passing them, we are top. We have adopted CompTIA’s standards. They produce a syllabus that changes every three years; it is therefore relevant,” said Mr. Ramtulla.
Students, Shavonne Strachan, Cenize Louissaint and Edmund Lewis, who passed the A+ and Network+ exams, proudly wore their pins as evidence of their success.
Shavonne was a Sales Associate at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and attempted to become a member of the IT department; however, she was initially unsuccessful.
“Passing these exams opened doors for me. It assisted me in getting a promotion. I believe it really helped,” said the 29-year-old who is now an IT Associate for the past six months.
Meanwhile, Cenize knew from 7th grade that she wished to enter the IT field. She said the journey to passing the international certifications have not been without challenges.
“I was intimidated as some of my classmates were already in the field. I studied hard to prove to them that I could do it. They motivated me. I love technology. I am passionate about it,” said the 22-year-old.
For Edmund, achieving his certifications gives him the impetus to go on.
“This is like having a second chance, particularly after losing my job. It has given me a chance to develop myself. BTVI has a lot of hands-on experience. The IT program is very useful,” said the 31-year-old who enrolled in BTVI in January 2016.
The students are now preparing for the CompTIA Project+ certification. BTVI is an authorized Pearson Virtual University Enterprises (VUE) testing centre. It also has a mobile site, as there are also certification exams taken at BTVI in Grand Bahama.
BTVI’s Certification Centre Coordinator, Craig Albury, is pleased with the results of both internal and external candidates.
“I know we always had the potential to do it. There is some work to be done, but with Mr. Ramtulla as IT head and his faculty, I am very confident we are moving in the right direction,” he said.