Preparing for the Future of Contracting
How can a federal hiring manager distinguish between acquisition and contracting professional candidates? Although the federal government has indicated a need for highly skilled professionals, current acquisition and contracting certification models cover basic contracting competencies, which are just that ― basic.
Credentials for Acquisition and Contracting Professionals
More desirable candidates are focused on developing their knowledge and skills to perform at a higher level. For example, they may explore the following topics:
- What impact does Agile have on contracting and acquisition activities?
- How can contracting professionals showcase their critical thinking skills?
- Because complex physical acquisitions can be especially tricky, insights on dealing with architects and engineers are quite valuable.
- Illustrating the ability to lead a contacting team to optimal performance, even under tough circumstances, would be an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition.
- How could implementing robotic process automation (RPA) and other IT solutions support the agency’s mission?
- Enhance your leadership skills with increased effectiveness, decision making, problem-solving, and change management.
- Get a foundational understanding of how, as a contracting professional, to safeguard digital assets to reduce cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities, and risks.
- Which strategies and processes are most effective for navigating complex situations in performance-based service contracts?
The Credential Advantage
The need to evolve with the market to support successful outcomes is a pressure faced by every acquisition and contracting professional. Credentials are one method of supporting the ongoing shift in professional development. They are increasingly becoming a stronger indication of an individual’s skills and competencies and are a cornerstone of future training models in the federal government.
Recent research has shown a causal relationship between learning credentials, higher employment rates, and increased earning potential. Acquisition professionals need to demonstrate their experience, skills, knowledge, and competencies for current and future prospective employers.
Most acquisition professionals will be familiar with the progression of source selection techniques over the last several years to include “show, don’t tell” approaches such as demos and on-the-spot tech challenges. Think of credentials as the “show, don’t tell” version of hiring and employee development and marketability.
Credentials help acquisition and contracting professionals demonstrate a level of mastery in pursuit of enhanced knowledge, skill, and performance and are a true measure of learning development that demonstrates an individual’s actual job-specific competencies.
Professional Development and Performance
The foundation of your career success is strong job performance. Each new step in your career brings new responsibilities and technical challenges that will be easier to navigate if you are prepared. The acquisition and contracting credentials are designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills that support advancement in your chosen field, whether it is where you are working now or where you want to go. Credentials are more than just training — they support your career development from the classroom to the real world by offering a pathway for life-long learning to help students progress toward their career objectives.
Eric Bubar is the Product Management Director for Acquisition & Contracting at Management Concepts and president and owner of Double Tree Consulting, LLC. He is a consultant and subject matter expert with over ten years of experience with government agencies and private sector clients. Eric’s expertise lies in IT acquisitions and implementation, product strategy development, business process design, and training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Virginia Tech and a PMP and FAC-C Level III certification.