October 2005 Letters to the Editor

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Career Changes


I am 42 years old and need a new career. My background is in sales. I desire to change my career to information technology.


My goal is to have the ability to design and implement wireless networks for towns and villages. Between here and there, a wide variety of training programs are available. Here are my questions:



  • If I get an A+ certification and then a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, would these, in and of themselves, give me the ability to jump into a reasonable-salaried position?
  • Is a boot camp that offers these types of classes worth the money or desirable from an employer’s point of view?


Any information would sincerely be appreciated.


Joe Stevenson
Everett, Wash.


Editor’s Note: We asked Ed Tittel, technology editor for Certification Magazine, to answer Joe’s questions:


“If you really want to do this right, you’ll probably want to consider a college degree rather than multiple certifications. However, given your age and your probable need to keep earning a living while you’re changing careers, I understand that this advice may not be practical. If, however, you can swing earning a bachelor’s in engineering with an emphasis on wireless broadcast/multicast/unicast technology, that would probably be the best way to reach your goal.


“That said, starting with A+ and CCNA isn’t really enough to put you into anything other than an entry-level help desk or technical support job, and that’s a $25,000 to $30,000 job, if you’re lucky enough to find one! While you certainly can, and probably should, go for the A+, and perhaps even the CCNA, I’d also urge you to look at the certifications in the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) program. (For more information, see www.cwnp.com.) The Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) is a must for what you’re considering, and additional credentials in that program can’t hurt you, either.


“The National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers (NARTE) offers a wireless installer certification, which also fits your objectives and would probably be most germane to your expressed goals. (For more information, see www.narte.org.)


“To find a job in IT, I’d urge you to go ahead and get the A+ and possibly even the CCNA, but then to consider the CWNA and the NARTE Wireless Installer certifications as well. Perhaps then you’d be able to find your way into a position like the one you’re seeking.


“Good luck!”


Staying Put or Moving On: Whose Choice?


I read “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by Katherine Spencer Lee (June 2005) with interest.


Most Fortune 500/1000 companies have set compensation levels at the highest corporate level and adjust them accordingly on an annual basis. Most managers I know in the industry have little-to-zero capability to offer “out of cycle” raises.


If an employee came to me and said the only reason they were leaving was money, I would have to wish them well and throw a farewell party.


Unfortunate as it may be, that is the current reality.


Howard Pierpont, CBM, CBCP, CRP
Hillsboro, Ore.


Testing by the Book


I feel that my ranting in the halls of upper education have finally been answered by NACSE’s open-book testing move (“Testing by the Book,” June 2005, and “The Voice of the Certified People,” July 2005). I have always bantered with my professors (especially calculus) about them teaching techniques to find the information I need, rather than cramming my head with data, when, according to some studies, only 10 percent is retained over a period of one week or less.


I salute NACSE for this backward step into the future.


Thomas D. Buzard
Biomedical Engineering Technician
Tampa, Fla.


Editor’s Note: Many other readers weighed in on NACSE’s recent decision to allow open-book testing for its certification exams. For more reader comments, see www.certmag.com/openbookletters. What are your thoughts on this issue? Weigh in at letters@certmag.com.

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