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IT Certifications – Where they started and where they are today

If you’ve been in the technology world as long as we have, you will remember the days when you could read a book or maybe even take a class and get prepared to pass a certification exam.

Unfortunately, that led to people having a cert but no real-world skills! Those people quickly became known as “paper certified”. Then emerged the big daddy of certification with Cisco releasing their CCNA, CCNP and CCIE certifications. Before passing any of those you needed at least a prior knowledge of TCP/IP addressing and some basic computer and networking knowledge.

While it was possible to achieve CCNA by taking 10 days of training, it didn’t hurt to have some real world experience before you tried. And, before you could even attempt CCNP level, you had to be a CCNA. But these certs were so valuable in the workplace, people clamored to get into training to get them.

Achieving the ultimate certification level of CCIE went well beyond anything seen before that time. We received countless calls from people with no experience at all asking how to become a CCIE. They were very disappointed to hear that it requires at least 8 weeks of training, plus CCNA and CCNP certification, probably a couple years or more of real world experience and finally, a two-day practical exam at Cisco! Many very smart people were unable to make it through that exam on their first or even second attempts.

And now we come to today where every vendor has at least three or more levels of certifications with multiple specialist certs within those levels and varying prerequisites to qualify to sit the exams. With the advent of multi-vendor converged infrastructures, you need to understand multiple technologies to achieve just one of those specialist exams and the knowledge and skills won’t come from just one class or just one vendor.

Certification exams are now designed to verify both knowledge and skills and require training and work experience on products and technologies in order to pass. Exams today will have questions that come from vendor authorized training along with scenario based questions that can only be answered through work experience.

This is standard practice throughout the industry, especially with professional and higher level exams.

The good news is the payoff of certification is worth the effort. There is a continuing skills shortage in the technology workplace and the rapid changes in technology will require more highly skilled and certified individuals than ever before.

Whether you are looking to get your first certification or your fifth, Fast Lane can be of assistance. Contact us today at info@fastlaneus.com