Certified Respect

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Imagine this scenario. You scrimp and save to afford the right tools, resources and classes to prepare for certification. You’re the big man on campus, head honcho, Johnny-knows-his-IT, the real magilla. It’s a tough course of study in a tough industry in a tough world, but you make it, and you’re proud. Then, someone steals your thunder, and you’re left as just another IT professional in an uncaring world.

My name’s Sosbe. I’m an editor.


The more seasoned among you might recognize the tone and tenure of those words, a “Dragnet”-inspired introduction to a story that’s a true crime. I haven’t changed the names to protect any innocents, maybe because the offenders in this little immorality play are anything but innocent, maybe because the underlying problem is a more universal one.

I’m talking about certification and the respect IT professionals have earned, even if they don’t always get it.

So here’s the scoop, Ace: I was at a conference earlier this year, and I struck up a conversation with an IT professional. We traded business cards, and being occasionally observant and endlessly nosy, I noted that his didn’t include any credentials, though he’d just cited several noteworthy acronyms that should have been listed there.

I thought I’d seen it all, but his answer shocked me: He’s unable to use his certifications on business cards, in his e-mail signature file or in any other work-related way. His supervisor’s reasoning? Not every worker in the organization was certified, and some workers were intimidated and offended by his display of his professional credentials.

For once, I was speechless. Why would a company seek exemplary talent, but tell no one? Why wouldn’t the reaction to jealous co-workers complaining about a colleague’s credentials be that you too could be certified?

There probably are answers to those questions, but certainly not good ones. And fortunately, not every company hides certified lights under the bushel. But the bottom line is what we’ve all known for years—the certified professional needs to continually struggle for respect. We need to keep the quality of education high, the sanctity of testing beyond reproach and the performance of job duties admirable. No small tasks.

So what’s your story, Bub? Are you getting your props from the IT industry, your bosses, your peers? Are you displaying your certification badges of honor proudly? I’d love to share some stories to show my unappreciated friend he’s not alone, or at least some moral support if you think he is. E-mail your experiences to me, or better yet, share them with the world through our discussion forums at www.CertMag.com.

No matter the vendor, no matter the specific credential, achieving certification is a noteworthy accomplishment, one deserving of justifiable pride. That shouldn’t be a hard case to crack, Sherlock.

Tim Sosbe
Editorial Director

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