Which Way Will You Go?
If you’re even half as attached to clichés as I am, you’ve probably heard this phrase: A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single footstep. Old? As old as the hills. Cliché? You bet your boots. Related to a 21st century concept like IT certification? People, it fits like a glove.
I’d better explain.
Rarely a week goes by that one of our editors doesn’t get an e-mail, sometimes from readers, sometimes from Web visitors, always with a variation of the question you’ve probably asked yourself: What certification is right for me?
Naturally, that’s a question only you can answer. I could tell you that X certification pays Y dollars, or that professionals with Z certification are needed in the ABC industry. But I don’t know if you have the skills to achieve X certification, or whether you’d hate life if you were forced to work as a Z-certified expert. Like any field, IT is about finding a calling of sorts.
So what can I do other than roll the ball back into your court? What I always do when these good questions arrive—point people in the right direction. IT careers, more and more, are about specialized skills. Your duty is to identify the work you enjoy and develop yourself with that in mind.
So once you know where you want to go, then what? Now’s the time for certifications. Visit the recently remodeled www.CertMag.com site, and check out our IT Cert Info section. With hundreds of listings provided by certification vendors, it’s your best bet for finding out what credentials exist to help you reach your goals. You can search in a variety of ways, from a targeted search for a specific program to a broader list of certs grouped by job path.
You can also check out our new discussion forums on the site. Free advice is sometimes worth just what you pay for it, but a career connection with someone who’s walked in your moccasins is invaluable.
I could go on, but the bottom of the page is fast approaching. Let me end by pointing you toward this month’s cover story, “Preparing for Certification.” You’ll find some more advice in there to help you at all stages of certification—from pondering your options to promoting your skills.
Don’t get me wrong: I love the reader interaction and welcome all cards and letters. But to end with another cliché, I’d much rather teach a man to fish than give him a fish.
Clear as a bell? Darn tootin’!