IT Career JumpStart

Nov 7 2011   3:32PM GMT

Interesting Perspectives on IT Certifications



Posted by: Ed Tittel
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GoCertify comments on IDC Security Management Certificaition analysis/report

In reading over Anne Martinez’ latest Certification Watch newsletter (Volume 14 #13) I couldn’t help but catch and wonder about her summaries of some recent IDC MarketScape profiles that analyze markets for various important IT certification subject areas, along with vendors or sponsors that offer credentials for those subject areas. In fact, I saw a few stunning surprises in the very brief summaries she produces, as follows (surprises are in bold):

  • Security Management: CompTIA, Microsoft, Symantec
  • Networking: HP, IBM, Novell
  • Server Management: IBM

The original IDC reports cost $15,000 a pop for 24 pages of graphs, figures, and analysis. The companies that come in for specific mention by name are Cisco, CompTIA, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, and Symantec. Perhaps this helps to explain the “surprises” that I noticed in Anne’s listings of the various market leaders and so forth in her GoCertify summary. But while I’d love to peruse this item, there’s no way I’m going to shell out $15K for that privilege, nor do I suspect that many who don’t have substantial investments in the IT cert biz are likely to pony up, either.

What I can say is that I’m surprised to see Microsoft show up in the security management category, because they have no substantial current security certifications outside the MCTS program, and even there, security is covered primarily in the context of specific platforms or products rather than as a specialty in its own right (unlike the CompTIA Security+ and its emerging advanced security practitioner or CASP credential, by contrast, or the Symantec EndPoint Protection certification). In fact, neither the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) nor the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) credentials offer a security specialization or track per se, though of course security topics do come up all over the place across the whole spectrum of MS credentials.

It’s also surprising to see Novell showing up on anybody’s IT certification radar, particularly in the area of networking (though the company’s Zenworks and various server platforms certainly do entail a great deal of networking knowledge and experience). In the same vein, I’m wondering what it is about the HP and IBM programs that also bring them into the “top networking” stable. In HP’s case, it might be the routers, switches and infrastructure elements in the ProCurve product family, and the technology transfer that accrued from their acquisition of 3COM awhile back. In IBM’s case, it could be any of a number of technology areas, particularly the network management stuff that hearkens back to the Tivoli days.

Hmmm. Very interesting. Nice, but a little weird, to see these technology colossi registering on somebody’s IT certification radar. And it does reaffirm the notion that looking into certification from vendors whose products are widely recognized in the workplace remains a viable technique for identifying programs and credentials worth pursuing. If you want to try to dredge more meaning out of the IDC materials on their recent Marketplace report, please do so with my blessing. As for myself, I’m equal parts bemused and confused by what I can find by way of hard facts and illustrations from IDC on these subjects.

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