In a press release entitled “CompTIA Announces Plan to Help IT Professionals Keep Skills Up-To-Date” dated 1/11/2010, CompTIA finally backed away from its lifetime credentialing stance to impose a 3 year renewal cycle on its most popular credentials — namely, A+, Network+ and Security+.
The good news is that this doesn’t mean it’s necessary to repeat the exams on a three-year schedule. Here’s what the press release says about renewal qualifications:
Among activities that will qualify for continuing education credits are passing a “bridge” exam or the most current exam for their CompTIA certification; teaching, lecturing or presenting on relevant industry topics; participating in non-degree courses or computer-based training; attending relevant industry conferences and events; participating in a CompTIA exam development workshop; publishing articles, whitepapers, blogs or books on relevant topics; obtaining other industry certifications; or completing industry-related college courses from degree-granting institutions.
Frankly, I say “hooray!” Given the ongoing change and ferment in PC technology (A+), networking and security (the other two), it’s entirely appropriate for these credentials to come with a timestamp so employers can tell how current the credential holder’s knowledge base might or might not be.
And of course, there’s a very good reason why CompTIA had to change its tune on renewal and recertification, too:
The renewal policy also is required for these three certifications to maintain their accreditation and compliance with internationally accepted standards for assessing personnel certification programs (ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024). CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications earned the ISO 17024 accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2008. ISO requires that individuals have a way to renew the currency of their certification on a regular basis. In CompTIA’s case, renewal will occur every three years.
If you want to play in the big, internationally standardized leagues you also have to play by their rules. Good for ISO, and good for CompTIA, too.