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Throughout the last year, digital transformation has come even more into focus as the center of business growth for companies both small and large. These efforts, such as those enabled by hybrid or multi-cloud strategies, can help businesses to more flexibly pivot products or offerings in times of rapid change. This focus has highlighted the need for expertise in digital transformation. Organizations around the world invest time and resources into fostering this expertise among staff using Red Hat Certification, and according to a recent IDC study, this investment is paying off. 

A new IDC white paper sponsored by Red Hat, “The Business Value of Red Hat Certification1,” highlights the importance of human expertise in successful digital transformation. The research goes on to explore how well-crafted certifications, such as those offered by Red Hat, can make an exponential impact in finding the right staff to support organizational initiatives.

In this study, IDC interviewed organizations with IT staff members who earn and keep current with Red Hat Certifications. These Red Hat customers emphasized that certified staff differentiate themselves from other employees in terms of both skills and organizational value. They noted that they have greater confidence that certified staff can handle more challenging and complex tasks, and that these associates’ increased capability also translates into greater productivity. 

Interviewed organizations reported that staff who earn and maintain Red Hat Certifications have greater skills and stronger technological knowledge than non-certified employees. Study participants described IT infrastructure and software overseen by certified staff as having greater efficiencies and capabilities versus other comparable projects. 

Overall, organizations reported that certified staff stand out in their ability to:

  • Apply knowledge and best practices of Red Hat solutions and technologies to manage and run Red Hat environments more efficiently.

  • Use containers, Kubernetes and other technologies to support more agile and effective development activities.

  • Put in place more cost-effective and resilient IT architectures to optimize IT costs and drive higher levels of business continuity. 

One of the key findings from the study is IDC’s cost-benefit analysis of participants. This is calculated as a three-year return on investment of 409% for study participants, with IT infrastructure cost savings worth a discounted average of $1.66 million per organization over three years. Additionally, developers who have earned and maintained Red Hat certifications are also linked to a 24% higher productivity level when compared to their non-certified counterparts. 

Red Hat Certified employees deliver more, and reduce infrastructure costs while doing it

IDC also found that certified staff can manage 47% more virtual machines (VMs), handling higher workload volumes relative to non-certified staff. These efficiencies can also be viewed from a broader lens, with study participants reporting that certified staff members are an average of 32% more efficient, meaning that Red Hat–Certified teams of an average of 10.7 employees can handle the work volume of 15.7 non-certified employees.  

The sponsored research indicates that Red Hat-Certified staff demonstrate the ability to get the most out of technologies and functionalities embedded in their Red Hat and other IT environments, such as containers, Kubernetes and automation.

This expertise results in the reported ability to deploy new IT resources 23–51% faster - with an agility that has become  a cornerstone of a successful IT operation and digital transformation. From a cost perspective, interviewed Red Hat customers reported that having staff with certification has enabled them to run equivalent workloads at a 13% lower cost of infrastructure, allowing them to eliminate or repurpose an average of nine servers.

Red Hat Certification benefits employees

The impact of Red Hat Certification on individuals is also noted by the study. IDC revealed that certified staff perform better in both tangible and intangible ways, from onboarding through length of tenure. Staff with Red Hat certification require an average of seven weeks fewer to reach full productivity - 32% faster than the average new hire. Additionally, organizations report that high-value certified employees often form deep connections within their organizations with data indicating an average 10% increase in length of tenure. 

Red Hat Training enables organizations tasked with digital transformation to keep their teams ready for what’s next with hands-on training and preparation. Red Hat Certification validates IT professionals who are skilled, proven and ready to take on the most ambitious projects in the face of evolving industry challenges. 

Certifications offered by Red Hat cover a wide range of topics, from enterprise architecture and core Linux system administration skills to knowledge of specialized developer frameworks and emerging technologies like containers and cloud.

Download the full IDC whitepaper "The Business Value of Red Hat Certification" to read more of the findings.


1IDC Business Value White Paper, sponsored by Red Hat, The Business Value of Red Hat Certification, Doc. #US47574721, April 2021.


Randy Russell is the director of Certification and leads the team that develops and delivers Red Hat's certification programs and exams.  A long-time proponent of performance-based testing, he has served on the board and as president and chairman of the Performance Testing Council, as well as having presented on this subject and others at industry conferences such as the Association of Test Publishers, the European Association of Test Publishers, CeDMA and TSIA.  Prior to joining Red Hat, Russell was a system administrator and programmer at an environmental economics consulting firm.

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