Certification Celebrations

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Members of our CertMag.com community forums don’t just come around seeking advice or arguments related to certification and the IT industry — they also stop by to report how well they’ve done on cert exams they’ve taken recently. It’s definitely something we’re pleased to see, as it allows us to gauge the health of the industry and the usefulness of our forums. And we were pleased to find much in the way of positive news on the forums this month.

In our General Discussion board, new member Penidy posted a thread titled, “Finally, Passed CCNA with 987!” “Great and deep thanks to all my friends in this great and extraordinary forum,” Penidy said. “Frankly, without God’s help and the people in this forum, I would not have been able to pass this exam. Thanks a lot for supporting and helping, and I really pray for all those who help me and instruct me to the right way.

“For those who want to take the CCNA exam, I had three simulation questions, and they were easy, exactly as mentioned in hotcerts.com guide. In addition, I had two new questions, and the other question I really don’t remember, but it was very easy and straightforward. Again, thanks a lot my friends, and now I am going to sleep for 72 hours!”

Also in our General Discussion forum, new member Sujitha reported certification success in a thread titled, “Pass 1z0-042 with 95%.”

“Recently, I passed 1Z0-042 with 95 percent. There were a few new questions that I was not familiar with on the remaining 5 percent of the test. I prepared for the exam using Sybex and certmagic. It is very important to understand Chapter 1 to get the big picture of the whole puzzle. Details of each of the rest of chapters are also important, particularly backup and recovery.”

CertMag.com member Prabutha posed a question in our General Discussion forum in a thread titled, “exam prep sites?”

“I am going to study for MCSE, CCNA and OCP in the next couple of months and was looking for sites with package deals. I came across hotcerts.com. Anyone know how good their $85 all-exams package is, and if it’s worth it?” Wayne Anderson, a prolific new member to the forums, offers this response:

“A certain level of caution might be warranted when approaching so-called package deals that purport to offer all-in-one coverage for cheap. I don’t have experience with Hot Certs in particular, however, it has been my general experience that you get what you pay for. But I am not necessarily saying pay out the rear for your certifications.

“Further, I would note that certifications should be a function of your career intent and experience, not merely some pursuit of acronyms to establish on a resume. If your endpoint goal is somewhere in the OCP realm, find intermediate and secondary database certifications along those lines. The MCSE is nice and well-presented on a resume but might be a strong pursuit well out of your way if you are in a position where Oracle is your primary strength. Use Google et al to establish a path of resources that will get you to that endpoint. Research the credibility of the package provider before giving them your credit card number.”

Career Development
CertMag.com forum member Senthil posed a question in our Career Development space in a thread titled, “PMP Applicability — All Your Valuable Thoughts are Solicited.” Senthil has more than eight years of experience in IT, with skill sets in Java, Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), Object Oriented Analysis and Design (OOAD), Unified Modeling Language (UML) and design patterns. Senthil has the following certifications: Sun Certified Enterprise Architect, Sun Certified Business Component Developer, Sun Certified Java Programmer, IBM Certified in OOAD with UML and Practicing Member in the World Wide Institute of Software Architects. Senthil has been a J2EE architect, consultant and senior manager of projects.

“I am actually planning to do PMP, as I don’t have any more choice left that’s specific to Sun Java, J2EE or architecting and designing (please correct me if I am wrong on the above lines). Even though I am involved in management, I am not able to decide if the PMP is advisable for me. In the long term, will it lead me toward working as an architect or a manager? How will future employers look at me? If I become a manager, will all my technical skills go to waste? The more you get into management, the less time you have to update yourself with the latest technologies! Can anyone guide me on my career path? Thanks in advance.”

New member Wayne Anderson again stepped up with well-considered advice in a posting titled, “PMP Will Serve Well — To a Point.”

“The PMP is highly respected for those in a project manager or program manager role. The PMP certifies that you have a base understanding of the common set of processes, procedures and documentation that it takes to move a generic technology project along. The question of how much it will help you in your current organization depends on the role that managers and architects play in terms of managing individual projects. I cannot speak specifically to your environment, however. At my work, architects are generally synonymous with technical project managers, in that they handle the design phases but during deployment itself. It is also their job to help keep the overall project on track and supervise field teams.

“I would certainly suggest the PMP if you are looking for a certification that will help to enhance your viability as a senior technical staff member, particularly ascending the first rungs of management or moving into more senior architect roles. Realize that depending on the organization, an earned PMP may also prompt management, etc. to put you in a position where you are shifted into more of a project manager role. If that is where you want to end up or the role you are intending to play in the organization, this is a good fit for you.”

Systems & Networks
Over in our Systems & Networks community forum, new member Shawz solicits advice in a thread titled, “What Certification to Take.”

“OK, so I haven’t done any certification exams for a while. Currently have MCSE NT 4, OS/2 LAN Server (what a blast from the past that is!), Compaq ASE (expired), and have passed Windows 2000 Server and professional. I am now doing IT for a company that uses Netware 5 (no plans to move to 6). The Netware 5 CNA exam is due to expire this spring. Is it worth cramming for this exam and taking it (I have a study book for it), or should I be looking to do Windows 2003 MCSA and Vista/Office 2007? Any advice is much appreciated.”

Once again, new member Wayne Anderson offers good advice in a comment titled, “Where is your personal interest and career path?”

“Although the CNA would have limited applicability to your current position, the Novell tool set is virtually obsolete with the ongoing improvements in Active Directory. If the CNA is something that will achieve a specific near-term objective for you, recognize what your time investment is going to be and decide if it is worth it. Is it worth 20 hours of study time for a 2 percent pay raise? Look at whatever the quantifiable return is going to be, then compare that to the effort and make the decision.

“As far as studying for the next generation of Windows certifications, it really goes back to the same question. Is this going to get you anything? Is this where your interest is? Will the MCSE on 2003 have any relevance to your (seemingly) desktop-centric work? Would MCTS or MCITP exams focusing on deploying and maintaining Vista and Office 2007 be a better fit?

“Answering this last question is really a matter of how much work you do on the server side. If you are desktop centric, and the bulk of your work is supporting deployments or end-users, you might want to consider one of the ‘deep dive’ certifications that are applicable to the platform that you work on.

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