Volume 3 , Issue 9
What's hot in the world of IT certification
By Lorne Chase
Want to know what the most popular certification courses are
right now? Web-based database design and development. And
Microsoft's dominance in server operating systems is keeping
demand high for Microsoft Certified Solution Developers (MCSD)
and Microsoft Certified Database Administrators (MCDBA)...
At least that's the word from Stephen
who studies the certification industry as one of his many
ongoing research projects...
has been involved in the HiTech industry since the 1960s and has
done everything from computer hardware engineering to high-level
consultancy. As a result of his expertise in IT, he is much
sought after as a speaker, educator and researcher...He was a
key designer of the Technical Computer Professional program...,
an academic diploma course offering training in close to a dozen
major IT certifications.In his opinion, the trend toward
Microsoft certification will continue unabated when the Windows
2000 Datacenter Server hits the market this fall, creating a
need for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSE). "Even
though there is increasing demand for Linux and Java
certification, the change to Windows 2000 will drive the demand
for those with an (MCSE) during the next two years."
So, what does
feel is the single most important certification an IT
professional can have today? "From both an employment and salary
standpoint, an MCSD with SQL Web development options is the most
valuable right now, and XML and SOAP ability will [be] in the
Obtaining several certifications, says
is your best bet to securing top jobs. With the large number of
certified IT professionals out there, being a multi-certified
individual helps give you an edge in the job market. He
recommends accumulating some combination of an MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA,
Java and Linux, but stresses they still need to be combined with
at least two years of on-the-job experience.
And experience still carries a lot of weight with employers.
Many seasoned IT professionals without certificates earn more
than their counterparts who have them. But
thinks older workers can still benefit from taking courses. In
his view, a resume showing recently acquired certifications
makes older workers appear more current in the eyes of
employers. Before deciding on a certification course,
recommends compiling a short list of authorized vendors offering
the courses you want to take. All these vendors offer the same
training (i.e. Microsoft courses, Novell courses, etc.) but can
vary a great deal when it comes to such things as fees and
supplies. For that reason, your next step should be to attend
information sessions held by each vendor.
This is your chance to make queries about fees, guarantees,
supplies, hidden costs, student loans, financing packages,
access to mentors, counselling and more. If it's an online
vendor offering some free trial courses, try them out. It's a
vitally important fact-finding mission you shouldn't undervalue,
"Many people spend more time hunting for a car than looking at
[courses] that could impact on their entire future." And when
cost per course ranges anywhere from $600 to $2,500, you
definitely want to get your money's worth.
The type of courses
likes best are those that approach teaching from several
He believes the best courses combine contact with an instructor;
mentoring from an expert; communication with fellow students and
certified professionals in real-time; interactive questions on
course material; a simulated work environment; seminars with
leading experts; plus videos, whitepapers and pre- and
And if you want to stay ahead of the competition, it's going to
require an investment of your time.
estimates 1,000 hours of training a year will help maintain your
position in the forefront of HiTech. By continually updating
your skills, and keeping abreast of what's happening in the
industry, you'll be able to ride the next wave in HiTech and
quite possibly land a higher paying job.
Once you decide to take a certification course, it's time to
knuckle down and study. Juggling work, personal life and a
course can be challenging. At the end of it all, you have to
write an exam - something many people haven't done for years.
Although everyone learns to assimilate information and prepare
for an exam in their own way,
suggests making three passes through the course material. "The
first time for an overview, the second time for details, and the
third time asking questions and experimenting through hands-on
experience with simulations and in labs."
He also recommends exam preparation software that can be useful
for honing your skills; some packages provide exam quizzes for
review purposes, others realistic exam simulations.
Certification is presently being offered in-class, online and
in-house by companies. As the industry continues to evolve,
plans to continue monitoring it. "I'm always keeping my eyes and
ears open. It's part of my job to research the marketplace to
determine where it's headed two, five, or ten years down the
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