Cisco Covers Bases with New Certs

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Busy, Busy, Busy

The folks at Cisco Systems Inc. have been busy this year. Since 2002

began, multiple new certifications have been rolled out and the Cisco
Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam was upgraded to a simulation-
based test. Cisco plans to make all of its Career Certification training
and exams simulation-based in the future.
The topics covered on the CCNA exam didn’t change—just the format of the
exam. The adoption of simulation-based tests and training is a trend in
the IT industry, one that ensures that certified IT professionals can
actually perform their skills in the real world. Cisco has already
established itself as a leader in real-world skills testing with the lab
exam for the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). Both the lab
exam for the CCIE and the new simulation-based CCNA exam require test
takers to use troubleshooting and problem-solving skills to unravel
real-life networking problems. The new exam, #640-607, replaced CCNA
#640-507 on March 12, 2002. Expect to see Cisco’s other certification
exams and courses take on a similar format in the future.



Since 2002 rolled around, Cisco has rolled out some new certifications:
the CCIE-Security certification, the Cisco IP Telephony Support
Specialist and, most recently, the Cisco Content Networking Specialist.
This latest Cisco Career Certification addresses the increasing demand
for networking professionals who are skilled in content edge delivery,
content distribution and management, content switching, content routing
and intelligent network services. Cisco Content Networking Specialists
will be able to manage, install and configure networks with content
networking technologies.



Before you can go after this newest Cisco credential, you need to be
either a Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP) or a Cisco
Certified Network Professional (CCNP). Beyond that, you’ll have to take
two exams: #640-925, Building Cisco Content Networking Solutions (an
elective in the CCIP track) and #9E0-600, the Content Networking
Specialist exam.



For more information on Cisco certifications, go to



Certification Pays



According to a report from Foote Partners LLC, bonus premium pay for IT
certifications was strong in 2001, as bonus pay for stand-alone skills
fell. The “Quarterly Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Pay Index”
reports that bonus pay for the 53 certifications covered has risen 4
percent since the end of 2000 to 8.3 percent of base salary, and bonus
pay for the 83 technical skills covered fell 13.3 percent in the same
period, down to 8.1 percent of base salary. This is the first time the
average bonus paid for certification has exceeded the average for stand-
alone skills in the four years Foote Partners has been collecting this
information, according to David Foote, president and chief research



But remember that giving someone a bonus for earning a certification
requires a standard demonstration of knowledge (passing exams), while
giving someone a bonus simply for possessing a skill is relatively
subjective. Perhaps that’s the reason certification bonus pay has
finally caught up with skills bonus pay. In the wake of the economic
storm, employers may be looking for more solid, demonstrable measures of
their employees’ skill sets.



Fifty-three certifications are covered by the report in these
categories: general certifications, application development and
programming languages, system/network operating systems, networking,
database, webmaster/internetworking, security and project management.



Certifications relating to security, database and project management
have been the main drivers of stronger premium pay. The hottest
certifications, which are those experiencing 20 percent or higher growth
in 2001 or 10 percent or higher growth in the fourth quarter, are the
Certified Novell Engineer (CNE), SANS GIAC’s Certified Intrusion
Analyst, Certified UNIX Security Administrator and Certified Firewall
Analyst credentials, the Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
(MCDBA) and the Siebel Certified Consultant and Siebel Customer
Certified Consultant. Other hot certifications include the Project
Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute
(PMI), the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) and (ISC)2’s Certified
Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). 



For more information on certifications, go to,
where you can search by certification designation, certification
provider or career path. 



Certification for the Disabled



Seventeen million of the 54 million Americans with disabilities are of
working age (16-64), but only 29 percent of them are employed in full-
or part-time jobs. And of those who are not employed, 79 percent want to
be. Information Technology offers career options for those folks, and
thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991, they have access
to the training and certification options that will help them start down
that career path.



One example of certification training for Americans with disabilities
can be found in a program offered by iTec and Lions World Services for
the Blind. iTec is located in Little Rock, Ark., and offers MCSE
certification training for blind and visually impaired students. The
nine-month course, which culminates in a month-long internship, was
first offered in February 2001, and the third is now in progress, having
started in February 2002. Recruiting for a fourth course—starting in
June of this year—is already in progress.



In this course, students use adaptive software that allows them to
access their computers. Network diagramming is taught using custom-
designed tactile devices. So far, the program has certified one
completely blind MCSE, Terrence Mitchell. You can find his story at
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