Letter from Iran

As the skills issue rages in the Middle East, one major area is left unconsidered – Iran. Amin S Moghaddam, CIO at Magfa ITDC Company, an Iranian government organisation which promotes the use of IT in the country, talks about the perspective on skills from across the Gulf.

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By  Published  October 31, 2006

Many Iranian IT professionals have good backgrounds in IT-related jobs, and have considerable skills in deploying and developing new technology. They also try to coordinate themselves with world class IT fields; for example WiMax. Many countries in the region are planning to establish WiMax links, but it is available in Tehran now, as well as Wi-Fi and ADSL2.

In the training area there are a few companies which try to send their personnel overseas for training; and in most of the cases the people pay for training from their own pockets, in order to find better jobs and positions. In actual fact, companies invest little in training and human resources, and they do not believe in the value of training. But some new initiatives and recommendations are trying to change these kind of views in top level management, and make more training possible – but it is not enough yet.

Companies invest little in training and human resources, and they do not believe in the value of training.

International certificates are unknown for many managers; they are of value for someone who tries to find jobs aboard and decides to emigrate. Two kind of certification are more commonly available in Iran: these are Cisco CCNA and Microsoft MCSE certifications. RHCE (Red Hat), MCSD (Microsoft) and OCP (Oracle) are less common, but they are also available.

There are shortages of certain kinds of certifications, such as security certifications (Cisco, Checkpoint, Juniper, Symantec) Unix certifications (Sun Solaris, IBM, HP) and other large network providers (Foundry, HP, Lucent). Even in the audit section of ISO systems for IT companies, the majority of auditors do not have CISA certifications.

An interesting point in these issues is that shortage doesn’t mean people cannot work with this equipment, or deploy solutions. Related certifications are unknown, and demand for getting them is not the main concern for better tuning and optimising performance. I think that most of these shortages are because of the high cost of enrolment into courses and exam registration. This area is definitely under the level of elsewhere in the Middle East.

In public sector companies, the salary levels are limited by their internal laws of government, but it is more stable as contracts are renewed regularly. Salary payments are not based on international certifications, and public sector organisations only check your academic qualifications.

Private companies have a variety of payments, depending on their projects and services. These usually deliver more achievements for employees, but contracts are for one year at the maximum, so there is less stability. But international certifications have an effect on salary levels, as well as university education.

Salary increases usually happen after finishing each contract, because of labour laws in both the public and private sectors. However, salaries in both sectors are below those for IT professionals elsewhere in the Middle East.

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