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My Certification Journey

Level 18

certified.jpg

Recently, Head Geek Destiny Bertucci ( Dez ) and I talked about certifications on an episode of SolarWinds Lab. For almost an hour we dug into the whys and hows of certifications. But, of course, the topic is too big to cover in just one episode.

Which is why I wanted to dig in a little deeper today. This conversation is one that you can expect I'll be coming back to at various points through the year. This dialogue will be informed by my experiences both past and present, as well as the feedback you provide as we go on. I want this to be a roundtable discussion, so at the end we'll all have something closer to a 360-degree view. My goal is to help IT professionals of all experience levels make an informed choice about certs: which ones to pursue, how to go about studying, where to set expectations about the benefits of certifying, and even tricks for preparing for and taking the exams.

For today's installment, I thought it might make sense to start at the beginning, meaning a bit of a walk down Certification Lane to look at the certs I already have, when I got them, and why.

To be clear, I don't mean this to be a #humblebrag in any way. Let's face it. If you watched the episode, you know that there are other Geeks with WAY more certifications than me. My point in recounting this is to offer a window into my decision-making process and, as I said, to get the conversation started.

My first tech certification was required by my boss. I was working at a training company that specialized (as many did at the time) in helping people move from the typing pool where they used sturdy IBM selectrics to the data processing center where WordPerfect was king. My boss advised me that getting my WPCE (WordPerfect Certified Resource) cert would accomplish two things:

  1. it would establish my credibility as a trainer
  2. if I didn't know a feature before the test, I sure as heck would after.

This was not your typical certification test. WordPerfect shipped you out a disk (A 5.25" floppy, no less) and the test was on it. You had up to 80 hours to complete it and it was 100% open book. That's right, you could use any resources you had to finish the test. Because at the end of the day, the test measured execution. Instead of just asking "what 3-keystroke combination takes you to the bottom of the document" the exam would open a document and ask that you DO it. A keylogger ensured the proper keystrokes were performed.

(For those who are scratching their heads, it's "Home-Home-DownArrow", by the way. I can also still perfectly recall the 4-color F-key template that was nearly ubiquitous at the time.

WordPerfect 4.2 - keyboard template - top.jpg

And my boss was right. I knew precious little about things like macros before I cracked open the seal on that exam disk. But I sure knew a ton about them (and much more) when I mailed it back in. Looking back, the WPCE was like a kinder, gentler version of the CCIE practical exam. And I'm grateful that was my first foray into the world of IT certs.

My second certification didn't come until 7 years later. By that time I had worked my way up the IT food chain, from classroom instructor to desktop support, but I wanted to break into server administration. The manager of that department was open to the idea, but needed some proof that I had the aptitude. The company was willing to pay for the classes and the exams, so I began a months-long journey into the world of Novell networking.

At the time, I had my own ideas about how to do things (ah, life in your 20's when you are omniscient!). I decided I would take ALL the classes and once I had a complete overview of Novell, I'd start taking exams.

A year later, the classes were a distant dot in the rear view mirror of life but I still hadn't screwed up my courage to start taking the test. What I did have, however, was a lot more experience with servers (by then the desktop support was asked to do rotations in the helpdesk, where we administered almost everything anyway). In the end, I spend many, many nights after work and late into the night reviewing the class books and ended up taking the tests almost 18 months after the classes.

I ended up passing, but I also discovered the horrific nightmare landscape that is "adaptive exams" - tests that give you a medium level question on a topic and if you pass it, you get a harder question. This continues until you miss a question, at which point the level of difficulty drops down. And that pattern continues until you complete all the questions for that topic. On a multi-topic exam like the Certified Novell Engineer track, that means several categories of questions that come at you like a game of whack-a-mole where the mole's are armed and trying to whack you back. And the exam ends NOT when you answer all the questions, but when it is mathematically impossible to fail (or pass). Which led to a heart-stopping moment on question 46 (out of 90) when the test abruptly stopped and said "Please wait for results".

But it turns out I had passed.

Of course, I was prepared for this on the second test. Which is why the fact that it WASN'T adaptive caused yet more heart palpitations. On question 46 I waited for the message. Nothing. So I figured I had a few more questions to answer. Question 50 passed me by and I started to sweat. By question 60 I was in panic mode. At question 77 (out of 77), I was on the verge of tears.

But it turns out I passed that one, as well.

And 2 more exams later (where I knew to ASK the testing center what kind of test it would be before sitting down) I was the owner of a shiny new CNE (4.0, no less!).

And, as things often turn out, I changed jobs about 3 months later. It turns out that in addition to showing aptitude, the manager also needed an open req. My option was to wait for someone on the team to leave, or take a job which fell out of the sky. A local headhunter cold-called my house and the job he had was for a server administration job at a significant amount more than what I was making.

It also involved Windows servers.

By this time I'd been using Windows since it came for free on 12 5.25" floppies with Excel 1.0. For a large part of my career, "NT" was short for "Not There (yet)". But in 1998 when I switched jobs, NT 4.0 had been out for a while and proven itself a capable alternative.

Which is why, in 1999, I found myself NOT as chief engineer of the moon as it traveled through space but instead spending a few months of my evening hours studying for and taking the 5 exams that made up the MCSE along with the rest of my small team of server admins.

Getting our MCSE wasn't required, but the company once again offered to pay for both the class and the exam as a perk of the job (ah, those pre-bubble glory days!) so we all took advantage of it. This time I wasn't taking the test because I was told to, or to meet someone else's standard. I was doing it purely for me. It felt different, and not in a bad way.

By that point, taking tests had become old hat. I hadn't passed every single one, but my batting average was good enough that I was comfortable when I sat down and clicked "begin exam".

Ironically, it would be another 5 years before I needed to take a certification test.

In 2004, I was part of a company that was renewing their Cisco Gold Partner status, when the powers-that-be discovered they needed a few more certified employees. They asked for volunteers and I readily raised my hand, figuring this would be the same deal as the last time - night study for a few weeks, take a test, and everybody is happy.

It turns out that my company needed 5 certifications - CCNA (1 exam), MCSE (6 exams), MCSE+Messaging (add one more exam to the 6 for MCSE), Cisco Unity (1 exam), and Cisco Interactive Voice Response (1 exam). Oh, and they needed it by the end of the quarter. "I'm good," I told them, "but I'm not THAT good".

After a little digging, I discovered a unique option: Go away to a 3 week "boot camp" where they would cover all the MCSE material *and* administer the exams. Go straight from that boot camp to a 1 week boot camp for the CCNA. Then come home and finish up on my own.

It is a testament to my wife's strength of character that not only did she not kill me outright for the idea but supported the idea. And so off I went.

The weeks passed in a blur of training material, independent study, exams passed, exams failed, and the ticking of the clock. And then it was home and back to the "regular" work day, but with the added pressure of passing two more exams on my own. In the end, it was the IVR exam (of all things) that gave me the most trouble. After two stupendously failed attempts, I passed.

Looking back, I know it was all a very paper tiger-y thing to do. A lot of the material - like the MCSE - were things I knew well and used daily. But some (like the IVR) were technologies I had never used and never really intended to use. But that wasn't the point and I wasn't planning to go out and promote those certifications in any case.

But taking all those tests in such short order was also - and please don't judge me for this - fun. As much as some people experience test anxiety, but the rush of adrenaline and the sense of accomplishment at the end is hard to beat. In the end I found the whole experience rewarding.

And that, believe it or not, was the end of my testing adventure (well, if you don't count my SCP, but that's a post for another day) - at least it WAS it until this year when Destiny and I double-dog-dared each other to go on this certification marathon.

This time out, I think I'm able to merge the best of all those experiences. It is a lot of tests in a short period, but I'm only taking exams that prove the skills I've built up over my 30 year career. I'm not doing it to get a promotion or satisfy my boss or meet a deadline. It's all for me this time.

And it's also refreshingly simple. The idea that there is ONE correct answer to every question is a wonderful fiction, when compared to the average day of an IT professional.

So that's where things stand right now. Tell me where you are in your own certification journey in the comments below. Also let me know if there are topics or areas of the certification process that you want me to explore deeper in future posts.

31 Comments
MVP
MVP

The adaptive tests are good and bad.  My experience with them is regarding medical certifications for my other life. 

It seems that they keep digging harder in certain subject areas to see if you really know it...then it shuts off says test is complete and you have to wait at least a day to find out if you even passed so you get to beat yourself up knowing yo missed this question or that question or saw something "new" and had to go figure out is you totally lucked out and got it or not.

Great topic adatole​ !!

WordPerfect? Bravo!!!

I have a few old ones myself. I was in the first wave of Novel 4.1 CNA's.

After that I went cert crazy with MCSE 4.0. I remember TechMentor in Orlando, 2001. I was one of 11 people who were standing when the keynote speaker called out the MCSE+I's. (Yeay! Site Server)

11150795_10206947475191351_3836633601557791918_n.jpg

But perhaps my proudest cert/passed test, and I have no documentation or pin for it, is Banyan Vines NOS. What an achievement!

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Level 12

That Wordperfect template makes me feel old.

Level 12

My two biggest hangups with certifications right now are the following:

First is I suck at taking tests. I have horrible instant memory recollection ability. Unless it is something I literally do every day, or something that just happened in the last day I have problems recalling it instantly. This has always been an issue with me when it comes to tests. My parent teacher conferences in school always went the same way for me. Teachers always made the same comments "He is obviously smart and understands the material but he doesn't do well on the tests." After I got out of school I was able to work around this problem by being meticulous with my documentation of everything I work on, and the ability to find information quickly. Unfortunately when most certification tests are multiple choice questions with a relatively short time frame and your limited to what you can carry inside your brain, that is a huge roadblock for me.

The second thing is the cost of the certifications, in both money and time. I live in the north woods of the Midwest, and testing locations are few and far between. There are some within a days drive. But that brings up a huge time issue. If I spend a day driving there, a day for the tests, and a day driving back, that is three days I need to spend for a one day test. I could make it a two day event by driving back home after the test depending on when it got done and everything. And don't forget about the travel expenses and the costs of taking the test itself. My current employer has been fairly resistant on funding the cost of even just the test of a certification for me, let alone the time I would need to take off to go take the tests. So if I were to go for a certification right now, I would have to spend all my own money on the test and the travel, as well as my own PTO to take the days off for it.

This does not mean I feel the certifications are not important for me, they are. But with those two huge barriers I have to hurdle just to get into the front door to take the tests, it is unfortunately pretty far down on my priority list. I am curious to see if your going to be touching on any of these topics I mentioned in your future posts.

Level 9

My cert story... Currently I hold VMware VCP6-DCV cert, started at VCP 4 years ago.  My old company paid for my training & VMware was on the brain mornings, afternoons & evenings so why not pursue certs.  Plus I got to attend VMworld just about every year.  I also have an AHIP ITP (Information Technology Professional) Designation.  *Used to work at an Insurance company for 18 years.  It was a few test (3 or 4), they were open book & the job gave us a $400 bonus once achieved, so for free money why not.   

Back in the day, late 90's I started my Novell CNE track, along with my MCSE Windows 2000 Track.  I was able to obtain my Novell CNA & Microsoft MCP, but "life" (marriage, 1st kid, etc) got in the way & I never finished each track missing out by only a test or two.   Attended few other training/boot camp type events in my career (NetApp/ SharePoint/Exchange & few others) never got around to pursuing any of those certs.

In new job now for about 6 months so currently self studying for CompTIA Security+ & hopefully I plan to get in with SolarWinds Cert as well.  Good luck to everyone out there pursuing certs!!

Level 18

Those are some amazing points you bring up. I know that in school, "adaptations" can be given to students (my daughter had several during her school career including extra time, the ability to use assistive devices like calculators, the ability to take the test in a separate location, etc.) but I don't know whether such options are available in this context.

In the lab episode, Dez​ and I talk about some techniques to make test taking easier, and that WILL be the topic of an upcoming blog post in this series.

But you've got me thinking, too. If anyone else on this thread has experience (either positive or negative) with these challenges, feel free to chime in!

Level 16

I had a Director at a former employer insist that everyone in the my area get certified on the product/technology they were responsible for. He even put it on the managers performance review. I took full advantage of the program and got certified on stuff that was way outside of my area since they were paying for it.

In the end though the managers were very unhappy with their performance reviews and several of the staff jumped ship for more pay.

Level 11

My target cert for this year is AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate Level.

Level 21

I have horrible test anxiety and have a terrible memory so I find I am terrible at taking tests unless I really truly know the material inside and out.  This is a terrible situation to be in working in an industry that expects you to have ton's of certifications.

If anybody out there has been in my situation and has found a recipe for success I would love to hear any pointers you might have.

MVP
MVP

MVP
MVP

Certifications are a great luxury for engineers who have the time, money and inclination to study. It is always difficult to raise training requirements with bosses, they don't want you to leave and find something better. In my experience very few small companies in the UK offer certification, bigger companies have specified training budgets but even so its difficult to get trained without paying for it all yourself.

Now i'm self employed i'm too busy earning money reaping the benefits of Solarwinds and other technologies to spend time training, I learn on the job.

A few interviews where I have been asked about certifications, I have given my opinion about them and then we have moved on to a more technical subject where I have shown that my experience and knowledge far outweighs a certification.

I've worked with paper tigers too, those that testkinged their way to MCSE and some that bought their certs off dodgy websites.

I have a university degree that cost me a fortune and i've worked with many engineers who don't.

With a little luck, some perseverance, a happy positive outlook and a grasp of empirical data analysis you don't need certification.

Just get out there and make the most of what you have.

@Acmtix

Level 16

Certifications are great....  to get you in the door/interview.  But past that I think they are good ways to show you study and keep up on things, but not necessarily that your any good working with the technology.  Only a month or two on the job can show that...

I have respect for many certifications.

I lost all my certifications, but I still have my college degree.  I say a college degree is the most important since you have it the rest of your life, but certifications fade to dust pretty fast, like all my CCNP, CCDP, CNE, ESE, MCP, F5-CTS-LTM, and many others....

BUT....  I love my SCP  🙂

Level 9

I'm still happily running two IBM Model M keyboards. And the original user, in a long-distant previous employer, had stuck the WP template on so well that it's still there on one of them.

Level 13

Most of my certifications are now out of date.  I did complete all my CompTIA certs before they went the re-certify every few years model, so maybe those are still active?  When I was laid off and unemployed, needing to change careers, I went to a tech school that taught all the courses for MCSE.  I had the MCSA and all but one cert for the MSCE, then I developed more of an interest in networking and went down the Cisco path.  I had CCNA and CCNP and had taken some Cisco security, wireless and VoIP classes, but not the certification tests for those.  I was actively working on the campus wireless and VoIP at the time I took those classes.

All of those certs are expired now.  They have not been a priority for my supervisors or CIOs since working on the job.  They were only needed for the initial entry onto the field.  I have kept up on studying the subjects, getting books and reading online for both Microsoft and Cisco, occasional refresher classes on what I knew or was expecting to work on, just never taken the tests.  I may not either unless I find I am asked to or need it for some interview again at some point.

I had taken and passed the original SolarWinds SCP beta when it was offered.  I would like to take the new beta and the test when it is out even though I am not being required to take it.

Level 10

Back in the 90s I had already worked with Novell NetWare etc for many years and then traded lots of unused vacation and overtime that would have expired otherwise against going to Novell classes and taking certification tests. That way I completed my CNE 4 pretty quickly, because I knew 80% and only filled Theoretical knowledge gaps with the trainings. I loved the old Novell adaptive tests btw, better than the regular tests. During that time I got the certification bug and added a couple Master CNEs to the portfolio. Then I learned that as a CNI (Certified Novell Instructor) I would have access too all Novell training materials for free, so I took that journey. That was quite a bit different, because you had to first take 1 day of class, prepare a specific course over night, and then teach an assigned topic the next day to the other applicants while being filmed and graded. I passed and thus not only became a CNI, but also a Master CNI, because I was already Master CNE. Unfortunately that was around the time when the slow decline of Novell started and they retired the Master CNI certification a few months later. Over the next years I added CNE 5 and 6 as well as a Linux+ after Novell bought Suse. During all that time I never failed a test, except for a beta exam that I did not have any study material for.

I also wanted to branch out into the Microsoft arena, so I completed my MCSE 4. That was very painful, because there were some things that simply did not interest me, like IIS. I also hated the clunky file system security and domain structure, being used to the very advanced Novell systems at the time. Later I added CompTIA Project+ and CTT+ (Certified Technical Trainer), but never got that "rush" again like with the earlier Novell certifications.

Over all I believe certifications work best for me if I am working on a subject or technology and have to learn it anyway (or already did). Then adding additional training makes sense to make sure I know the whole picture, not just the parts I need in my current job or problem. Taking the tests is a way for me to make sure I have the extra motivation to study, review, and understand the whole material. Studying something just to get certified (paper tiger) is neither pleasant short term nor helpful in the long run. It's so much harder to study, understand, and remember, and without actually working with the stuff it will be forgotten soon.

Level 18

This is a great perspective - do you NEED certifications - which Dez​ and I discussed in the lab episode, and which I'll be covering in a later installment for sure!

MVP
MVP

I had a coworker in a past life that was all about seeing how many certifications she could get so that she list them on her business card and add to her sig file in email.

When your sig line is bigger than most of your email content you might have a problem..

Level 18

Interesting and common perspective. I'd like to counter with one of the points we made in the lab episode:

certs can get you into a community of folks faster than "hanging around and proving you know the material". It's not that you CAN'T do it the second way, it just takes longer.

Also, certs can sometimes get you access to the vendor's "inner circle" in a way that "I've used the product for 10 years" can't. Think about the benefits of being a THWACK MVP (free copies of the software; the undying respect of DanielleH​, wabbott​, and thegreateebzies​; etc.).

Just something to consider.

Level 18

That's a cautionary tale for me and Dez​ for sure!

Level 9

I started my networking career as a part-time graduate assistant at a university that had just signed off on a full rip-and-replace project to move from an outdated Extreme infrastructure to a brand new complete Cisco campus network (2960s,3750-x, Nexus 5ks/2ks, Cat 6500 VSS).  I was the epitome of ignorant.  No knowledge or experience in networking at all.  I actually remember my first condescending look that I received from a supervisor when I referred to a small Netgear dumb switch as a router.  Shameful.

I was tasked with racking and stacking the new equipment and putting base configurations on the new devices.  I was enjoying what I was doing, but had no earthly idea what magic I was keying into these weird green boxes.  I wanted to learn what exactly I was copying and pasting into these devices and (more importantly) avoid any more of those condescending looks.  In case you forgot, I had no idea what I was doing.

I decided I wanted to stop not knowing what I was doing.  Maybe one day I could pay it forward and pass on one of those condescending, you-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about looks to someone else.  Better yet, maybe I could stop having to use my fake laugh when the cool kids made OSPF jokes that I didn't understand.  With that, I started studying for the ICND1 exam.

I think sometimes it's easy to look at certifications as a way to prove to our employers (or potential employers) that we know how to do the job. It's easy to forget the value that can be gained from the process of formally learning the topics that the certifications cover.  Personally, I can't begin to describe how much studying for the ICND1 (and eventually the ICND2 and CCNP R/S/T) helped me progress both in my personal ability and my career.  Starting when I did, with a blank slate, half a million dollars of shiny new equipment, and my boys Jeremy Cioara and Wendell Odom (CBT Nuggets trainer and Cisco Press author) - I don't think I could have asked for a more ideal situation.

All that setup is to say that in my opinion, certifications are incredibly valuable - when used in the right way.  I think the ideal scenario is to learn and certify while doing the job.  If you are trying to break into the field, work on your cert, but get as much practical knowledge as you can from something like GNS3 or old Cisco equipment off eBay.  Realize that there will be things that you will have to memorize and will likely quickly forget (i.e. how many bits are in specific fields of a packet), but if you understand the underlying concepts (i.e. there are a bunch of different fields in packet headers), it will help you in troubleshooting and understanding how networks actually work.

My personal goal for myself is to continually pursue certifications that are just slightly higher than my experience and competence level.  I think it is important to use certifications to stretch yourself and your knowledge.  However, I think it is a mistake to rack up certs for the sake of a e-mail signature or resume.  I think the only time to pursue a certificate in an area that you do not have knowledge and experience is if you plan to work in that area in the near future.  If you don't have a practical use for the knowledge you obtain, you will lose that knowledge and your certification will be just a piece of paper.

Currently, I hold a CCNP R&S, CCDA, CCNA Datacenter, SCP, and SPOX (Silver Peak).

Level 20

The CISSP certification has been the most beneficial to me recently.  I actually had already done the CISSP and passed without any bootcamp or formal training but then found out that to work on many Government networks in the US now you have to have either the CISSP (the best) or the Security + certification.  I'm currently working on getting the CEHv9 certification.  By covering the CISSP and CEH certifications it allows working on most of the Information Assurance positions currently available in the DoD.

8570-cert-REV201510.jpg

MVP
MVP

I actually felt exact opposite

Level 9

I didn't think SCP was a requirement for Thwack MVP?  I'm certain most of them have it, but not all SCP's are thwack MVP's, so that begs the question if not the certification then MVP status is derived from the time put in rubbing shoulders via thwack comment boards.

Level 12

I still have the step by step instructions I used on setting up the phpbb forum and related database and other supporting functions for a game I played 15 years ago. All the data paths and usernames and passwords used along with all other pertinent information required to do any troubleshooting or changes to it.

I haven't had that running for 5 years now, but I still have the documentation for it. This was something I just did in my own personal time of my own free will not related to work at all. This is an example of how I have worked around my memory and recall issues. Documentation, thorough and easy to find.

Sadly from what I have herd from people the certification exams are basically a memory test more then an actual skill/ability test.

Level 9

I have been in IT in a professional capacity since 2001.  Since that time I have never held any certifications until recently.  I am not sure if others have had a similar experience, but in College, I got a Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems.  This degree program did not have any networking classes in it.  Now this was 1996-2001 that I was in college. 

Jumping ahead a few years in 2014 I was looking for an additional income source to my day job.  I was fortunate that a local college was looking for some Adjunct professors.  I interviewed on a Wednesday to teach a class that started the following Monday.  This was the first "Networking" class I had ever been a part of.  Teaching was not hard, it was stuff I do everyday in real life, but the value of having to explain to a group of people how this works, or what this acronym is about and some of the history behind it, I found very helpful to aid myself in knowing more of the book knowledge surrounding things I have been doing for a long time.  This additional book knowledge, I found very helpful.  It bridged the gap in my understanding of making it work, because this is how I know that it works, to: I can tweak this with this feature and accomplish what I need to do better. 

Anyhow, after teaching the class for Network +, I figured sitting for the test should be a breeze, and it was.  I taught the Security + class twice and am now brushing up my vocabulary before I sit for that test.

I mention the above because until I was teaching this stuff, I don't think I could have passed a test for certification.  The book knowledge wasn't there, and more importantly what I call the BS knowledge.  This is the information that the people who are orchestrating the test have incorrect.  I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but one of the things I mentioned to the students at various times during the classes as we would come across a topic that was mostly right, but not quite.  I explained to them this is how it works in the real world, but it is "their" test and if you want to pass, you need to answer it the way "they" want you to.  It's "their" test.  However on a follow up to this idea, when you delve more deeply into what they are teaching you find they don't have so much wrong, but there are inaccuracies.  Before I was teaching it, I would try to sit down to study for whatever cert I wanted to try and get, and it looked like there was a LOT of BS knowledge in it.  So that was a impediment to working toward certs for me, but I believe now that was a misconception.

There is a long story about my venturing into the world of certs.  I have the privilege this year of attending VMworld and God willing I will come out of there a VCP.  So, I am trekking down this path of certifications, and I believe that both the cert and experience are valid ways to say that you know something, but if you have both, it is indisputable and you are better armed to use the technologies as they were designed because of your improved understanding of the designers intent.

Level 16

"it is "their" test and if you want to pass, you need to answer it the way "they" want you to"

That is the key reason you need to read the book before taking some of the certification tests. I had my CCNA way before I took the Network + exam but still needed to review the material

or wouldn't have had 'their' answers.

The one that there was no study material for was the Avaya ACA a long time ago. It was all BS knowledge.

Level 18

You're 100% right - SCP is not required to be an MVP, and not all SCP's *are* MVP's. But many MVPs have their SCP (but not all).

Here on THWACK, MVP status is all about how people participate in the community which is, many of us believe, how it should be.

My point in relating the benefits of being an MVP here on THWACK to that of getting a certification was by way of describing the role certifications have for other vendors.

But it's a good point you bring up and thanks for helping clarify it.

MVP
MVP

We've all heard stories - good and bad - about certifications. Your's was interesting.

The one I like to repeat:

I was working for a state agency, won't say what agency or the state, let's just say there's sunshine involved.

We had 12 "area offices" located around the state. The IT guy at one of the other offices had pretty much every certification you could get - including that Cisco one that you can make a lot of money just for having it. He was making about $30,000 at the time and spent 6 months looking for another job - with those certifications, at that time he should have been at least $100,000. He finally took another position with a different state agency for $32,000 after numerous no thank you letters. Why, people skills - he knew his stuff and had papers to back it up, but had no people skills. Certifications are a big part of the business, but it's not the end all.

MVP
MVP

I started off with Cisco certifications but ever since SolarWinds has been my focus they have lapsed. I'm looking to regain them as well as the upcoming new SCP certification(s).

Your comment about it being fictional how there is only one correct answer rings true to me as well. One of the common responses I hear from experts when asked a question is "it depends". From my time with the Cisco exams, I was already mostly through the CCNP curriculum before I sat the base CCNA exam and I remember a question where it was a single answer question, but a couple of the answers could have been correct (based on knowledge I had picked up from CCNP and in practical experience). I've found that as experience and knowledge in a field grows, you find there can be more solutions to a problem.

MVP
MVP

A Cisco CCDA started things in motion.  I guess I had A+ before that, but as a guy who got into Linux due to hatred of Windows, I consciously avoided Windows admin jobs.  I didn't realize at the time, but certification revenue can sometimes seem to drive the certification process.  It seems to be money that can't be left at the table by the company accustomed to the revenue, leading to a self-perpetuating source of expense for the IT guy trying to hustle.  Fast-forward to 8570 certs and whatever they are called now, and I never would have imagined the amount of money needed to attempt each one.  So now we have CEH exam that will set you back $1000, with questions and answers in broken 'Engrish'.  And tests where significant enterprise experience makes questions that were probably intended to be black and white look very gray.

Level 15

I need rende my CISCO certifications .

The you to do cisco certifications, you up for hight professional level,

You pay higth money, but you receive lot money.

Sem mais.Claudia França

2017-10-02 10:42 GMT-03:00 d09h :

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My Certification Journey

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About the Author
In my sordid career, I have been an actor, bug exterminator and wild-animal remover (nothing crazy like pumas or wildebeasts. Just skunks and raccoons.), electrician, carpenter, stage-combat instructor, American Sign Language interpreter, and Sunday school teacher. Oh, and I work with computers. Since 1989 (when you got a free copy of Windows 286 on twelve 5¼” floppies when you bought a copy of Excel 1.0) I have worked as a classroom instructor, courseware designer, desktop support tech, server support engineer, and software distribution expert. Then about 14 years ago I got involved with systems monitoring. I've worked with a wide range of tools: Tivoli, Nagios, Patrol, ZenOss, OpenView, SiteScope, and of course SolarWinds. I've designed solutions for companies that were extremely modest (~10 systems) to those that were mind-bogglingly large (250,000 systems in 5,000 locations). During that time, I've had to chance to learn about monitoring all types of systems – routers, switches, load-balancers, and SAN fabric as well as windows, linux, and unix servers running on physical and virtual platforms.