In late 2018, Al Nasturzio joined CompTIA as the IT trade association’s Manager, Business Development – Canada. He is pursuing an ambitious agenda to expand CompTIA’s educational initiatives, including bringing a successful U.S. program for vets to Canada.
Nasturzio’s background is heavily on the corporate learning side – not unusual for CompTIA people given the importance of skills certification and education to the association. He believes that even within this group, he has somewhat of a differentiated skillset. He started his career with Ingram Micro, where he spent six years, becoming Senior Manager of Technical Services. He moved on to do two stints at Global Knowledge, becoming a Vice President, as well as other education companies. He also spent five years as CEO of CONNECT Strategic Alliances, an organization established by the Presidents and Governors of the 24 Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario, that provides business, industry and government with a single point of access to the colleges’ B2B training resources.
“Many CompTIA people have worked with learning companies, so that part is pretty standard, but I do have a bit of a different background,” Nasturzio said. “I have done a lot of work in corporate training, including the soft skill side as well. I spent a few years in the Ontario college system, so I understand the academic world. And I also worked with Ingram, so know the channel side.”
Nasturzio will lead CompTIA’s existing partner-led and direct business in Canada and serve as the association’s chief liaison to the workforce development, academic, education, corporate and government sectors across Canada.
“The focus is on education and certification side of the business, working with colleges and universities as well as with private training,” he indicated.
CompTIA’s major focus is its certifications, which now number thirteen.
“The key with the CompTIA certifications is that they are vendor-neutral,” Nasturzio said. “The A+ certification, for entry level positions, continues to be our most popular certification. From there we move up to Network+ and Security+, and have now moved into infrastructure with Server+ which includes Cloud+ and Linux+. We now have three cybersecurity certifications, [CySA+ (Cyber Security Analyst), CASP (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner) and CompTIA PenTest+]. We also have Project + for project management, CompTIA Cloud Essentials, and CompTIA CTT+, which is a ‘train the trainer’ certification.”
The majority of these are still taught on-prem, even though eLearning online is more convenient.
“Instructor-led is still the preferred methodology,” Nasturzio said. “I would estimate that it is 75 to 80 per cent of the total.”
The core part of Nasturzio’s job is to work with CompTIA’s existing customer base and partners to help them increase their revenues with CompTIA and create new programs.
“A consistent priority has been the need to get more people certified to IT, so I talk at high schools and colleges and try to get the students interested in technology,” he indicated. “We make our A+ and Network + certifications available to college partners, and our eLearning curriculum is now available. In the U.S., CompTIA has run some very successful workforce development programs, in particular, a program for veterans. We have a 10-12 week instructor-led cybersecurity program with vets, and we help them find employment afterwards. We are looking at doing something like that in Canada. This week I’m in Ottawa meeting with Veterans Affairs and a couple other partners around it. We are looking at doing something similar with aboriginal groups in Canada as well, as well as getting more women and young girls excited about IT.
“We do have a philanthropy division as well, for those without the means,” he added.
Finally, Nasturzio emphasized that channel companies who are not already doing so can partner with CompTIA.
“A lot of the channel who are selling tech or doing consulting can work with us and be delivery partners to deliver to end users,” he said. “Many may not even be aware of that.”