Eye on Certification: Internet-Related Credentials

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Although we sometimes take it for granted today, the Internet is quite an amazing invention. As a communication medium, it rivals Gutenberg’s printing press, Marconi’s radio or Bell’s telephone in its transforming effect on the way people connect with one another. The Web’s impact on commerce also has been significant. Since 1998, more than $500 billion dollars worth of goods and services around the world have changed hands via the Internet, and today well more than half of all U.S. companies sell their products online. What makes all of this even more astounding is the fact that it has been less than two decades since the Internet emerged from its status as an obscure research and correspondence tool employed by university students and Department of Defense officials to become a network linking the majority of homes, businesses and schools in this country, as well as a considerable number of them at a global level.

In the wired world we live in, the Web is used for, well, just about everything, really. Consequently, Internet-related certification is a solid step in career development for IT professionals. Here are some well-known ones out there:

Prosoft CIW
Prosoft’s CIW credentialing program verifies competency with Internet technologies at the associate, professional and master levels. All of the standard CIW certifications start out with an introductory Foundations exam (#1D0-510), which covers Internet business, site development and networking technology. Upon successful completion of this test, participants will receive the CIW Associate credential.

The next level of certification in the CIW suite is the mid-level CIW Professional, which requires passing an additional exam in one of eight delineated job roles: Site Designer (#1D0-420), E-Commerce Designer (#1D0-425), Server Administrator (#1D0-450), Inter-Networking Professional (#1D0-460), Security Professional (#1D0-470), Application Developer (#1D0-430), Database Specialist (#1D0-441) and Enterprise Specialist (#1D0-442). CIW also maintains two specialization certifications: CIW Security Analyst, which entails completion of the Security Professional exam and attainment of one approved networking administration credential from Microsoft, Cisco, Novell or the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), and CIW Web Developer, which involves passing the test of the same name (#1D0-532).

At the highest echelon of the CIW program are the four Master certifications, all of which require the Foundations exam. The CIW Master Designer includes the Site Designer and E-Commerce Designer exams, while the CIW Master Administrator encompasses the Server Administrator, Inter-Networking Professional and Security Professional tests. The Master Web Site Manager and Master Enterprise Developer credentials are distinct in that they contain exams exclusive to that level of certification. In addition to the Site Designer and Server Administrator exams, the Master Web Site Manager involves two Web Languages tests that cover JavaScript (#1D0-435) and Perl (#1D0-437) fundamentals. The Master Enterprise Developer includes that Web Languages component; CIW’s Application Developer, Database Specialist and Enterprise Specialist tests; a CIW Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with UML test (#1D0-538); and a Sun exam on Java programming (#310-025 or #310-035).

For more information, see www.ciwcertified.com.

Vendor-neutral credentialing organization CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, has two Web-focused certifications: e-Biz+ for e-commerce and i-Net+ for Internet and online technologies. Although the former credential, which requires successful completion of one 60-question exam, focuses on foundational concepts and central issues and technologies involved with e-business, it is not technology-intensive. In fact, CompTIA emphasizes that it is designed for both IT practitioners and business professionals in areas like sales and marketing, but also recommends candidates have at least 12 months of e-business experience, regardless of technical proficiency.

As with the e-Biz+, participants do not have to be well-versed in IT to take on the i-Net+, even though tech companies like IBM use this credential as a prerequisite in their own certification programs. I-Net+ validates six months of experience with Internet, intranet, extranet and e-commerce independently of any particular job role. This certification involves one exam, which has 74 questions and addresses Web, networking, development and other technologies at a very basic level.

For more information, see www.comptia.org.

The World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) developed its Certified Web Professional (CWP) program to validate key skills and knowledge in both general and specific areas of practice within the industry. Certification candidates interested in undertaking any of the offerings in the WOW collection of credentials may do so through training partner programs, self study or professional experience.

The first level of WOW’s suite is the Certified Apprentice, which gauges a fundamental comprehension of Web concepts on the part of individuals studying and working to become professionals in the field. The exams include WOW Certified Web Designer Apprentice (CWDSA-apprentice), WOW Certified Apprentice Webmaster (CAW-apprentice), WOW Certified Web Developer Apprentice (CWDVA-apprentice) and WOW Certified Web Administrator Apprentice (CWAA-apprentice). Participants who pass the exam at 50 percent or more will be designated a Certified Apprentice in the specific area covered by the test, while those who receive 70 percent or higher automatically obtain the corresponding Associate-level certification. At the Associate tier, there are four certifications: WOW Certified Web Designer Associate (CWDSA), WOW Certified Associate Webmaster (CAW), WOW Certified Web Developer Associate (CWDVA) and WOW Certified Web Administrator Associate (CWAA).

Candidates who acquire all four Associate certifications will achieve the WOW Certified Professional Webmaster (CPW) credential—the generalist Web certification within the highest stage of assessment—although they also can get this by taking the CPW exam directly. Other certifications at this level include the WOW Certified Professional Web Designer (CPWDS), WOW Certified Professional Web Developer (CPWDV) and WOW Certified Professional Web Administrator (CPWA). Outside of this hierarchy, the organization also offers the WOW Certified E-Commerce Manager (CECM) and the WOW Certified Web Consultant (CWCSB).

For more information, see www.webprofessional.org.

Adobe Systems, known especially for its Acrobat and Photoshop products, recently announced it would acquire Macromedia, producer of the popular Flash graphics software. Although officials from both companies said each will conduct business as usual until the transaction closes later this year, this article will address the organizations’ certifications in tandem.

Adobe’s Certified Expert (ACE) program, which is aimed at graphic designers, Web designers, system integrators and several other vocational varieties, focuses on the company’s InDesign, GoLive, Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and After Effects products. There are three phases of certification within ACE. The first is attained by passing an exam on a single product. The next level, Specialist, has three specialized subgroups: Print, Web and Video. The GoLive and Photoshop exams are required for the Web classification, whereas the Acrobat and Illustrator tests are counted as electives. To achieve the ACE Master certification, candidates must pass all seven product examinations.

Macromedia’s Certified Professional Program verifies

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