Dual AVIXA CTS Holder is at the Forefront of both Tech and Business Trends.
By David Keene
Even as AVIXA’s CTS® programs for the installed AV industries become the “gold standard” of AV professional credentials world-wide, a few individuals stand out from the crowd. Individuals that have not only achieved Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certifications – CTS General, CTS-D (Design) and/or CTS-I (Installation) – but have also gone above and beyond the norm in their careers, inspire us all. One such professional is Rakesh Kumar, the Technical Program Manager for Amazon in India. Kumar’s story would be inspiring in any market and any country, and it speaks to several trends as we head into 2020.
We’d be remiss if we did not start with one of the biggest trends today: top AV companies world-wide now recognize the benefits and advantages in the market that AVIXA’s CTS certification gives them. AV Design Consultants – and other professional contractors who engage AV professionals – now either require that the systems integrators bidding on their jobs employ AV professionals who hold the CTS credential or give preference to companies with CTS holders. That’s not surprising: CTS – ANSI-accredited under the International Organization of Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission – and administered by AVIXA for more than 30 years – is recognized worldwide as the leading AV professional credential.
How does Rakesh Kumar fit into this picture? Rakesh is one an elite group – world-wide – who hold dual CTS certifications: CTS-I, and CTS-D. His story can be an object lesson for AV providers, designers, and end users in any country – but particularly in the APAC markets. To find out why, I recently interviewed Rakesh to learn how his journey in the AV world led to not just one but dual CTS credentials, and how that fit into his career path.
David Keene: How long have you been with Amazon? And what is your official title at AWS – and your responsibilities?
Rakesh Kumar: I have been working with the company the past three years. And my title is Technical Program Manager – Meetings and Events (M&E). My role is to work with cross functional programs within M&E and IT services to simplify and improve customer experience. At Amazon, we design systems backward from customers’ needs – to achieve customer desired functionality and application.
Keene: What led you to your current role?
Rakesh: I had 12 years of experience in AV and had worked with some of the biggest integrators in India. When I came across this role at Amazon, well, I knew Amazon as pioneers in IT and retail technology. Amazon provides space for learning – and the opportunity to explore different challenges professionally.
Rakesh holds a dual CTS: CTS-I, and CTS-D from AVIXA– and his story can be an object lesson in market trends, for AV providers, designers, and end users – particularly in the APAC markets.
Keene: How does CTS fit into the market, in India? From your perspective do you see that many AV Design Consultants – and other professional contractors who engage AV professionals – require that the systems integrators bidding on their jobs employ AV professionals who hold the CTS credential? Do others give preference to AV companies that employ CTS-certified technicians?
Rakesh: AVIXA CTS is raising the bar in AV industry, by empowering technicians and designer with the knowledge and skills required to effectively serve customer needs. And by helping them get up to speed on technology and best practices. CTS has a covered a long journey in last few years – when I passed my CTS there were fewer CTS holders in the India Market. Now we are a big family of 200 + certified individuals, and continuing to grow. Companies now prefer employing CTS certified individuals to fulfill their AV needs to ensure that the person handling their requests are meeting top standards.
Keene: You are one of the first dual CTS-D and CTS-I holders. Congratulations! In addition to the benefits of CTS for anyone, why did you specifically want to get CTS?
Rakesh: I do have now, both CTS-D, and CTS-I. (Achieved CTS in 2015, CTS-I in 2016, and CTS-D in 2018.. For me CTS is a commitment to AV industry. With AVIXA CTS I was able to learn best practices to deliver exceptional experiences.
Keene: The AV world is now intertwined with the IT world. How does CTS from AVIXA, and AV standards as well, fit into today’s world that is now so IT- focused?
Rakesh: AV certifications are equal or some time more important (especially if you are practicing AV) than Cisco and Microsoft for example. CTS helps you understand customer needs, to better develop and deliver AV systems. Manufacture certifications are equally important – but those come on top of the essentials taught by AVIXA Certification.
Keene: On Nov. 14, 2019, AVIXA announced the election results for the 2020 Certification Steering Committee. Certification holders elected new committee members. And you were elected to that committee. Again, congratulations. The AVIXA Certification Steering Committee is responsible for overseeing the development and administration of the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) program and for ensuring the credentials meet high standards of ethical and professional practice for the audiovisual industry. As Adrienne Knick, Senior Director of Certification, AVIXA, said, “the committee ensures that the certifications remain the gold standard in the AV industry.”
Rakesh: Indeed, and I highly encourage people to take CTS, and of course AVIXA membership. One of the biggest benefits of AVIXA membership is access to content for continual learning, and standards. Additionally I would like to thank AVIXA for providing me an opportunity to contribute to the CTS program. This program has helped me change my perspective and approach to the industry.
For more information on AVIXA member benefits, click here.