What’s in a Word?

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As IT professionals, you know better than I do the power of that single word, “certified.” It can open doors for you that otherwise might remain closed, and it can add extra income to your paycheck. It may not be the magic carpet you’d always like it to be, but it certainly can transport you up the career ladder.

That’s why, I know, you take the word “certified” very, very seriously. You become properly upset when someone misuses the term, when someone misappropriates the title or when someone achieves in improper ways the credential you struggle for. Your indignation is righteous, your outrage justified.

Taking all that as a given, then, you should have been in my shoes recently. There I am, standing in line with my brothers at a popular amusement park—part of a large nationwide chain of amusement parks—chatting with a ride operator while awaiting our turn on the roller coaster. The operator’s wearing a badge that proclaims him a “certified operator.”

With my journalistic background and natural nosiness, I can’t let an opportunity like that go by. “What did you have to do to get certified?” I ask.

“Apply for a job,” came the smiling reply.

Suddenly, that roller coaster looked a little less safe, and the shrieks of the passengers took on new depths.

Now, I know very well what you’ve gone through to earn your credential. Whether it’s CIW or CCIE, MCP or RHCE, you’ve studied, tested, maybe studied more and tested again, and finally received a respected credential. You take your responsibilities seriously, and your certification vendor does the same. Whether it was a weary struggle or a natural extension of your IT talents, you’ve done a lot more than “apply” to be able to boast your favorite acronym.

I may be making a mountain out of a molehill here, but maybe there should be a certification process for the word “certified.” Words have power, as any elementary school bully knows, and with a powerful word like this one, there should come a certain level of respect. This amusement park should certify its key personnel, or not claim otherwise, just as IT professionals should certify honestly, or not at all.

With certified professionals, I know my network is in good hands. About that roller coaster, I wasn’t so sure. I didn’t make an issue out of it then and there, but I pulled that lap-bar down tight, and I held on with both hands.

Tim Sosbe

Editorial Director


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