Press Pass: Ask the right questions and other certification news

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Welcome to the latest installment of  Press Pass , where CertMag reports new and recent certification news by blowing through as many industry press releases, blogs, dispatches, messages in a bottle, etc., as we can fit in one post. We’ve got the highlights and you can click straight to the horse’s mouth for more information.

Know your certification: Given the mile-a-minute pace of business in 2014, it’s probably not all that surprising that many IT managers weighing the benefits of certification want to breeze through a few bullet points and either have every employee certified yesterday, or put a red line through “certification” on the latest budget breakdown and move on. Over at Training Industry, blogger Tracey Flynn stresses that it’s important to get good information about certification before making a decision. Flynn said that many of the managers she consults with are primarily concerned about how much certification will cost, how quickly it can be implemented, and whether/to what extent mandating this or that credential will put their enterprise at risk. Flynn explains why those standard queries can’t be easily answered, and suggests a few meatier points to ponder that may lead to a better judgment.

Certification can change your career in unpredictable ways.A long and winding road: Last week, Microsoft Learning caught our eye with the story of two brothers whose friendly rivalry got them both certified and changed their career paths. This week, the Born To Learn blog roped us in again, this time with the story of a British “bobby” (beat cop) who pursued his interest in technology all the way to becoming a full-time IT evangelist for Microsoft. After several years of more traditional police duties, Ed Baker got a chance to work on a crime-mapping tool. Success in that endeavor led to national police IT post, and that found him becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). That led to other certifications, and Baker transitioned from police work to IT training and teaching, before eventually crossing the pond in 2013 to work for Microsoft full time. It’s a fun reminder that certification can take a diligent IT professional to lots of difference places in life. Don’t let uncertainty limit your ambitions.

Survey says: The U.S. government has a massive and evolving IT infrastructure and, as anyone who even casually follows national politics is aware, regulating anything involving federal infrastructure can be a long and taxing process. Part of the solution to federal IT problems may lie in recommendations presented last week at the National Press Club by TechAmerica, the tech lobbying arm of CompTIA. TechAmerica based its suggestions on a survey of federal CIOs, the 24th such annual undertaking. TechAmerica’s report of its finding covered a number of tech hotspots, including budget control, cloud and mobility, security, and analytics. The complete report is available for download at the TechAmerica site.

Stop and smell the certification roses: People learn at different speeds, and are challenged at different levels by various tech endeavors. For many, however, certification is best viewed in light of the old adage about patience: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Over at Cicso Learning Network’s Certifications for Success blog, guest blogger Gustavo Leon counsels IT pros embarking on a certification journey to be prepared and go at their own pace.  As Leon sees it, preparation and practice will go a lot further toward ensuring certification success than raw velocity. He also makes an interesting point that may rankle some: It’s not about the money. If your foremost (or only) rationale for getting a certification is to line your wallet, then Leon thinks you may be misguided. (Heated argument in three, two, one … )

Hurry up and get certified:  Of course, not all certification programs have timelines that can be measured in months or years. The last word this week goes to the field of human resource certification and a compelling new credential. HR Examiner writer Heather Bussing has the scoop about the new HBHR cert. The HBHR program is in its infancy, but shows tremendous potential.

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Fida Reeder


FIDA REEDER is a journalist and writer with experience in both print and web publications. E-mail her at fidareeder (at) gmail (dot) com.

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