Incorporating Experience into Certification Programs

When the IT certification industry really began to grow in the 1990s, the focus almost exclusively was on technology, and in most cases, a specific vendor’s technology.

At issue was being able to demonstrate the usual abilities in that technology: How do I install it? How do I set up basic configurations? How do I troubleshoot it when it breaks? How do I design systems with it?

The universality of the paradigm shift is remarkable. Regardless of whether you’re discussing operating systems, databases, Web servers, routers, switches or storage devices, there are just so many things you can actually learn to do with the device.

Unfortunately, that’s where we stopped. When the certification market began to retreat after the dot-com bomb went off, many of us knew something wasn’t quite right. All the mumblings about “paper” Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (hardly the case now) had an undeniable air of truth.
We might know how to install, configure, manage, monitor, troubleshoot and design it, but did we know when to do it? Where to do it? Why to do it? How would deploying a particular solution deliver impact to the business or organization we were supporting?

Certification must continue beyond the scope of merely demonstrating technical acumen to delivering business impact. One of the more effective and challenging ways to begin this endeavor is by leveraging experience as a fundamental part of the certification process.
Context is King
When vendors or other groups develop certification programs, they usually begin…



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