Careers: Interviews
David Gibson, Accomplished Executive, International Business, Technology, Education and Certification Authority, Group Product Manager for Employability Certification and Career Excellence at Microsoft

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., ITCP, MVP, DF/NPA, CNP has an exclusive interview with David Gibson.

David GibsonDavid Gibson is currently the Group Product Manager for Employability Certification and Career Excellence at Microsoft. He is responsible for global development of certification products that address the needs of the end-user market and the aspiring practitioner. In addition to the Microsoft Business Certification program, David's team is driving the development of several new initiatives that will increase the relevance of certification as a measure of the professional journey MS customers engage as they develop their careers. David frequently represents Microsoft in various accreditation and diplomatic efforts surrounding certification and ICT education. He speaks frequently at events such as the recent Futuralia Conference in Lisbon and serves on the Certification Council of the European Industry Leadership Board.

David brings to this role over fifteen years experience in technology and education. He has held positions in technology management, sales management, educational content development and acquisition at Thomson Publishing, Edgia, Macmillan Computer Publishing and Harcourt Brace College Publishers. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Dallas, holds a lifetime secondary teaching certificate for the State of Texas and he is a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:46: How did you get to your current position at Microsoft and what key lessons can you share from your long history of successes?
"....I have a broad experience across many fields that I see as triangulating between education, intellectual property publishing and technology...."

:01:54: Can you profile your current roles and opportunities?
"....I'm currently leading a team with responsibilities for learning plans, user certification programs and credential transparency...."

:02:14: Tell us more about your vision and objectives behind your current roles? What do you hope to accomplish and how will you bring this about?
"....In a digital wealth system, the system is absolutely dependent on the capabilities of the individuals who work within it. In addition, the capability of any organization within the digital wealth system requires a diverse set of skills to drive innovation and creative solutions. In this context I am driving several projects that are relevant to the journey of our community of customers....."

:04:05: How will your roles contribute to your vision for the world, society, industry, academia, and technology?
"....With industry certifications we see a valuable contribution of the role academia has always played in society. I see academia playing three roles: research, teaching, and validation of learning....If you earn an industry credential your credentials should be part of the larger picture of educational credentials in your country...."

:05:26: Tell us more about the Microsoft Elevate America project.
"....This is an initiative to provide one million vouchers for Microsoft E-Learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at no cost to the recipients. Elevate America will be executed in partnership with the US states across the country as part of an overall effort to help train over two million people over the next three years....We should launch this project within the next three weeks and our next step is to build a framework for globalizing this program...."

:07:05:  Why does Microsoft care about skilling the world?
"....Microsoft as a company is dependent on the ability of our customers to use the technology that we create. Our mission at Microsoft Learning is to make sure that the skills are ready in the marketplace as our colleagues present new technology solutions to our customers...."

:09:12: Can you detail the efforts of Microsoft to assist governments in skilling the workforce?
"....In addition to the Elevate America project, Microsoft works with various groups such as Microsoft Unlimited Potential and Microsoft Partners in Learning, as well as projects such as Microsoft Students to Business and the Microsoft Innovation Centers. These are some examples of the projects and groups within Microsoft that are working to build skills in areas where basic skills are lacking...."

:10:19: What can you tell us about Employability and Career Excellence at Microsoft Learning?
"....we are driving toward a vision of certification as a validation of the technical knowledge one achieves in the journey of work. It's a journey not a destination....We need to orient our thinking and our products to this reality. This means that we drive our certification products in the direction of matching up with and mapping to the world of work that our customers are living...."

:11:36: Increasingly there is attention being given to IT as a profession with recognized professional certification, adherence to a code of ethics, demonstrated professional development, alignment with a body of knowledge and best practices. These concepts are encapsulated in IT Professionalism. Can you share your views on IT Professionalism?
"....As our profession increasingly relies on information and communication technologies we must increasingly look for deep professional skills and judgments from the women and men who manage these technologies. There is need to formalize this expertise and ensure that when we depend on ICT professionals that their depth of expertise is sufficient to the task. In no way does this take away from the meritocracy that characterizes the ICT world - rather I see it as providing structure that allows for the constant changes that characterize our industry and yet maintains minimum standards of quality...."

:12:48: What is the significance of certification to professionalism?
"....Industry certifications provide a model for flexibility and granularity that recognizes the constant change that's characteristic of the ICT industry...."

:13:56: Tell us more about your work on the Certification Council of the European Industry Leadership Board?
"....Microsoft is pleased to join its competitors in efforts to advance the ICT industry and increase the level of participation in the digital wealth system. Together with our colleagues at CompTIA, Cisco and other companies we have established a Certification Council in the United States called the ITCC (IT Certification Council), and in Europe we have the European Industry Leadership Board which has a Certification Council as a function of that Board.....The E Skills Leadership Board provides a venue for the ICT companies working in Europe to contribute to the ICT skills efforts of the European Union and its member states...."

:16:08: The UN-founded International Federation for Information Processing or IFIP has their International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) program which received full ratification at the world general assembly in August 2007 with their first implementation meeting in Montreal in October 2007. This marks an historical inflection point and speaks to IT as a recognized profession with global standards, profession-based code of ethics, and widely adopted professional certification-all happening in 2009. Can you provide your comments on the importance of this historical milestone?
"....I think this is an important step on the path to recognizing the ICT professional as an established profession....Regulatory bodies and institutions are supportive of certification and in that support for certification one sees an increasing acknowledgement that ICT professionals are not just computer geeks. They are business people who specialize in a critical function in any business organization...."

:17:14: Tell us more about your work at the recent Futuralia Conference in Lisbon.
"...I was asked to speak at the Futuralia Conference in Lisbon where they were addressing the issues related to advances in education and ways in which education is moving forward the needs of the country. The specific topic that I spoke to was related to the importance of granularity in our educational system..."

:19:40: What do you see as some of the top challenges facing us today and how do you propose they be solved?
"....I see us sitting on the cusp of this change from the industrial to the digital wealth system and all the implications that we have on how we structure our society and the way that we manage our businesses...."

:21:35: Please make your predictions for the future, their implications, and how business executives and IT professionals can best prepare?
"....I think that in addressing the question of what the future holds it's important to look at our information systems - not just in terms of what we are dealing with in the immediate but how that is going to impact us years down the road...."

:23:52: Can you comment on the burgeoning China-based market and India?
"....In the information age it is very likely that we will see China and India moving forward because of their immense wealth in people. For the West (Europe, US, Canada), our ongoing wealth will be dependent on our ability to increase the sophistication and take advantage of our head start in the digital wealth system and to continue to build on what we already have...."

:27:02: Based upon your accumulated wisdom as an accomplished executive and thought leader, what would be your career tips for IT professionals and the reasons behind them?
"....It's not sufficient to simply know the technology. You have to understand that technology provides a solution and the solution has to match the business requirements...."

:31:38: If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask, and then what would be your answer?
"....What is the significance of user certification?...."


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