Driving data through certification

Some certification more valuable

Certification isn't all talk. "It's one thing to say 'I can troubleshoot this network', but certification will back this up," according to Edmondo Rosini, national strategic alliance manager for IT training firm Excom.

Rosini says people do certifications for different reasons depending on their level of industry experience, career goals and work environments.

"We take in IT professionals who have worked in the industry for 20 years and those fresh out of university," he said. "[Participants] pick out the certifications they want based on what systems or applications they are working with because most of these certifications are designed by vendors for their own products."

This can range from becoming MCPs (Microsoft Certified Professionals) by completing any Microsoft exam, to becoming a CCIE (Cisco Certified Inter Network Expert), qualifications that are globally recognized.

With many years industry experience and seven Microsoft certifications under his belt, Readify senior consultant Chris Hewitt is a certification champion.

Along with an astonishingly lengthy list of completed exams, Hewitt is a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer, Technology Specialist, Solutions Developer, Application Developer, Trainer, Application Developer and a Certified Professional.

"Along with the career incentives, I wanted to prove to myself, my employer and customers that I knew what I was doing; the certifications have externally verified that," Hewitt says. "The beauty of a certification is that it forces you to learn all aspects of your specialization which is the entire reason why most people do them.

"They qualify a level of professionalism for Web, OS and Enterprise."

He said the qualifications are equally beneficial to IT newcomers and veterans.

"[While] some will help familiarize those entering the industry with basic OSes and generic applications, [people] who have worked in IT for years will be forced to learn aspects of their [specialization] they normally wouldn't come across," Hewitt said.

"Basically it will help them forge new ideas, to be more creative and to think laterally." Microsoft technology adviser Michael Kleef, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and university student with 15 years industry experience agrees.

"There is so much value in doing a good certification - [for example] without the qualification you might approach a project you are stuck on with the same cyclic thinking, but [with the certification] you are armed with an arsenal of new ideas and concepts," Kleef said.

"It gives you the same value as doing [post-graduate] university work by stimulating thought, while learning different ideas from teachers who are also working professionals."

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