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Gen Y and IT Skills: A Perfect Match for Small Business

Gen Y and IT Skills: A Perfect Match for Small Business

By: Lydia Dishman, Payscale.com

It’s a common small business owners’ dilemma: how to hire skilled IT employees with without burning a hole in the balance sheet.

Fortunately, the Generation Y workforce (known as Gen Y or Millennials) — now about 75 million strong according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — is hungry for work. And according to a new study from online salary database PayScale.com, Gen Ys boast valuable tech certifications and IT skills that can help boost your business.

PayScale’s “Gen Y on the Job” report takes a close look at Millennial workers (those between 19-29 years of age.)

Gen Y Is Ready for Work
It turns out that Millenials are three times more likely than workers in other generations to hold IT certifications that qualify them for helping small businesses code their Web sites, troubleshoot on Windows or Apple operating systems, and inform technology purchases.

Far from being a bunch of smart alecks and slackers, as they are often portrayed, Gen Y workers are willing to ”do whatever it takes to make a huge impact,” according to Dan Schawbel, founder of the research and management consulting firm Millennial Branding and co-sponsor of the PayScale study.

Schawbel maintains that Gen Y makes up for a lack of corporate experience with being “on a mission to make things happen.” Small business owners can harness that passion and perspective without paying exorbitant salaries.

Katie Bardaro, PayScale’s lead economist and analytics manager notes that, because Gen Ys are digital natives, those with technology certifications can be as proficient as their peers with IT degrees but not as expensive to hire.

Workers with IT certificates but no IT degree typically earn about 6 percent less than those who earned their bachelor’s in an IT field, she says.

Bardaro suggests that employers pick up the tab [for young employees gaining certification] to help retain Millienial hires while on the job. An added benefit, she says: the business gets the benefit of a credentialed worker and the employee stays motivated.

The following is a list of the technology certifications that Gen Y workers commonly hold, the typical hourly pay range for Millennials with these certifications and information about how these IT skills can help grow your business.

Sun Certified Java Associate (SCJA)
Median Hourly Wage: $25.00 – $37.40

Gen Y Workers are 3.25 times more likely to have this popular certification which makes them attractive job candidates. Java is the most common computer language used now, says Bardaro.

She notes that IT professionals are the most likely to have this certification granted by Sun Microsystems because of the expertise needed to navigate the computer language as well as reading data algorithms.

Employers looking for someone to develop proprietary software should look for candidates who maintain SCJA certification.

Certified HTML Programmer
Median Hourly Wage $18.80 – $24.10

Does your business need a better website? If so, you’ll want to hire someone fluent in HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the plainspeak of the World Wide Web. Gen Y workers are 2.34 times more likely to have this training and certification in HTML as it provides a foundation for any webmaster, web designer, or anyone responsible for maintaining a website.

Certification from the National Computer Science Academy means candidates have knowledge equivalent to six months experience with the language.

Internet and Computing Core Certificate (IC3)
Median Hourly Wage: $9.00 – $15.70

Small businesses are advised to seek candidates with this certification for jobs ranging from administrative assistants to network administrators. Among Gen Y workers, it is 2.27 times more likely that they’ll have an IC3 certification as it’s often included as part of their high school coursework.

Bardaro says the three exams required to complete this certification offered by independent testing firm Certiport include computing fundamentals, key applications and living online. “They become pros at working with Microsoft software,” Bardaro explains.

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
Median Hourly Wage: $19.50 – $32.90

If you are looking for someone to support your Microsoft-based IT systems, hire the candidate who comes with a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certification.

More than two times more common among Gen Y workers, Microsoft’s proprietary training and exam validates that the individual has a comprehensive set of IT skills to handle everything from database administration, to troubleshooting your email program, or Web browser freeze ups.

Apple Certified Pro
Median Hourly Wage: $14.80 – $22.60

Ever wished you had an “Apple Genius” on hand at your business — especially if you want to incorporate more video or still photography?

All you may need is someone certified by Apple. Gen Y workers are 2.07 times more likely to have earned one or both of the two different levels of this certification.

Those who pass the level one exams have demonstrated an essential operational knowledge of applications while level two means they have mastered advanced features for photography, visual effects and other multi-media.

Source: All salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Wages listed are median, hourly ranges from the 25th to 75th percentile for full-time employees ages 19-30 years old and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

Check out the Monster Infographic: Who Is More Entrepreneurial Minded: Gen Y, Gen X or Boomers?