As somebody who’s dispensed a great deal of advice on how to prepare for IT certification — including three or four editions of a book called IT Certification Success — I’d like to think that I can recognize good examples of the genre from other writers as well. In that spirit that I call your attention to Luis Carselle’s recent story for Certification Magazine. Entitled “Learn Smarter: Preparing for a Certification Exam,” it appeared on the Web site on 9/25/2009 and will also appear in print in its October issue.
One of the sections in the story I like best is called “Years Before the Exam,” which digs into the kinds of jobs that actually require certification before individuals can practice or perform them. Aside from the kinds of positions we all know require such vetting — commercial pilots, physicians, therapists, and so forth — a growing number of technical positions in and around IT are starting to fall under this kind of umbrella. I also know of lots of companies that require their field engineers, system engineers, and senior technical support staff to earn and maintain certs in the areas, platforms, or products with which they work.
Carselle goes on to lay out tasks and objectives on a timeline basis, to describe what candidates should be doing to prepare for an exam six months out, three months out, and so on, all the way up to the day before an exam. I can’t say this story is complete or even comprehensive. But the advice it proffers is generally good, and definitely worth reading. If you need some information and inspiration to help you gear up for your next cert exam, give it a once-over. You may even decide to return back to it as you march down the timeline to exam day.