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IT Certification Exam Success In 4 Steps
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AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Black Belt
5/31/2014 | 12:42:03 AM
Re: Know Thine Enemy
@jgherbert

"It's exceptionally frustrating to kill yourself mastering a topic for an exam only to find out that 80% of what you learned was way beyond the level required."

Several of the exams that I have passed are for Microsoft certifications, and if I remember correctly, I think Microsoft is intentionally ambiguous about that sort of thing.  In a sense, this makes me question whether such an extreme level of content mastery is there for my benefit or Microsoft's.

One of the Microsoft exams that I passed was for Windows Server 2003.  I remember having to spend a lot of time mastering each aspect of the built-in backup program.  Meanwhile, in the real world, I've never worked at an IT department that used any version of Windows backup.  I've also never met anyone who used it either.  In my experience, the standard practice is typically to use a third-party backup solution.

Microsoft has access to statistics on how popular and how often certain features are used.  If the certification were truly preparing me for real-world scenarios, the emphasis on each topic would have been different.
AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Black Belt
5/31/2014 | 12:26:59 AM
Do IT Certifications Hurt IT Professionals?
In theory, IT certifications are good for the IT professional because the certified person will be more qualified than the non-certified person applying for the same job.  In some cases, being certified is required before one is considered for an interview.  Does this practice increase the quality of the applicant pool or decrease it?

It has been my experience that many hiring managers, with the exception of IT outsourcing companies, do not think highly of many certifications.  I suspect that two major contributing factors are boot camps and exam answer websites.  I worked very hard to pass several exams for a Microsoft certification but never completed all 7 of the required tests. 

Meanwhile, someone who I know but will remain anonymous, simply paid for the exam answers and is not only certified but his certification may have helped him further his career.  He justified his decision to cheat on the exams by explaining that he is already a competent and highly accomplished IT Professional.  Having the credential simply allows him the opportunity to prove this at interviews which he would otherwise not have.  In his opinion, if he cheated on the exam but did not have the reqiured technical proficiency for the job, this would be exposed during his interview.  Therefore, he was not lying about his skillset.
AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Black Belt
5/30/2014 | 11:57:50 PM
Individuals get certified without learning material
I believe that IT certifications often get a bad reputation because a number of individuals are able to pass the exam without actually learning the material.  If you run a quick search on cheating options available for popular exams, you are likely to find many options. 

Unfortunately, those who pass the exam legitimately end up losing out as the reputation of the certification gets diminished by those who obtain the same certification without truly earning it.  As those invidivuals perform badly on interviews and work performance, the overall reputation of the credential is compromised.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
5/28/2014 | 11:22:44 AM
Re: sound advice
Thanks for the link pgeorge2. I like the practical tips in the series, especially the one on tracking your certification study progress.
pgeorge2
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pgeorge2,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2014 | 8:09:15 AM
Re: sound advice
MarciaNWC,

There are a series of posts by Anthony Sequeira that I found helpful. Here is the link:

http://www.ajsnetworking.com/category/it-cert/

 
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
4/30/2014 | 11:18:40 AM
Re: Know Thine Enemy

"The problem is often not knowing that gap exists before the first take..."

 

Or equally, that you spent way too much time digging into the depths of a topic only to discover that in actual fact the exam requires / expects only a cursory knowledge of it. It's exceptionally frustrating to kill yourself mastering a topic for an exam only to find out that 80% of what you learned was way beyond the level required. Don't misunderstand me, it's good to learn it anyway, but if you pushed something else out of the way in order to accomodate that, it's a painful lesson about prioritization...

amyengineer
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amyengineer,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2014 | 10:54:13 AM
Re: Know Thine Enemy
You make some really great points!  It's always a rude awakening to have studied for an exam and find out the official materials left out a large chunk of data you needed to know.  I think training classes, community, and a variety of resources really help fill this gap.  The problem is often not knowing that gap exists before the first take...
aditshar1
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aditshar1,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 11:36:19 PM
Re: Know Thine Enemy
I agree you jgherbert, till i was CCNA i did not relaized the fact but as soon as i completed my CCNP i got good number of calls from employers offering handsome salary package.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2014 | 8:01:02 PM
Re: Know Thine Enemy
@aditshar1:

"Today good number CCIE engineers are available it is because we realized that this certification provides growth path."

I think there are two things at play here:

1) Many employers want it, and pay more for it;

2) Cisco partners want it, and need it, and pay more for it.

There are certainly those who take certification tests for the pure knowledge gain, but I suspect many more do because they figure it makes them more valuable to employers both from a retention and salary standpoint. If that's the growth path you're referring to - i.e. career, or at least salary, growth, then I agree.

aditshar1
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aditshar1,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2014 | 6:06:58 AM
Re: Know Thine Enemy
I agree you jgherbert, but with same awareness plays important role here. Today good number CCIE engineers are available it is because we realized that this certification provides growth path.
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