Industry Certifications

One step may be to decide which ”track” to pursue. A “track”, as used in the previous sentence, refers to a series of certifications. Note that getting a certification may involve taking more than one exam.

[#braindmp]: Disapproved training content

WARNING: Past certifications may be revoked and future certification may be denied if incorrect training materials are used!

It is common practice that creators of certifications do not want their actual confidential/private examination questions to be openly shared on the web. If a person uses such questions to be trained, creators of the certifications have specified that they may revoke all certifications that have previously been granted to a person, and may also prevent further certifications from being obtainable by that person. That is a very high cost, yet there are many organizations that provide unauthorized access to questions that are on the actual exams.

Sometimes sites that illegitimately provide unauthorized materials are shut down (presumably because the exam's content is considered to be protected by copyright law). Perhaps the remaining sites are remaining by skirting (avoiding) legal ramification, possibly by using computers outside of the jurisdiction where these rules are more enforceable.

There is no list guaranteed to have all the websites to avoid. (Clearly a reason for this is that new websites can be created at any time.) People anticipating certification may need to use judgement to determine whether it seems likely that the material being studied contains questions that are confidential.

A resource providing such content (usually a website, but a printed list of questions certainly could also qualify) is often called a “brain dump”.

CompTIA dislikes brain dumps. Also, Microsoft dislikes brain dumps. Also, Cisco has policy regarding brain dumps.

There is at least one list of websites which contains many sites that probably should just be avoided entirely. It seems likley that all sites in that list are known to carry content that is unauthorized, and that the vast majority of those sites are probably specialized to market their offerings to people who want to take certifications. So, even though the list is provided by CompTIA, many of the sites also provide content for exams by other providers as well. (For instance, mcsesecrets.net has likely targeted people interested in Microsoft's MCSE (“Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer”, or “Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert”) certification. To see this list, CompTIA's page about Unauthorized Training Materials and Third-Party Offers Policy has a hyperlink called “Unauthorized Training Materials [+]” which expands a table showing several sites. Do note that CompTIA does say “CompTIA does not warrant that this list of unauthorized training sites is complete and reserves the right to include other training sites that are not listed here at its sole discretion.”

Of those, one is a known legitimate site: “Ebay”. Surely some good quality training material can be obtained on eBay, although it seems very likely that unauthorized/stolen material has also been made available on eBay. Shoppers should definitely beware before proceeding to purchase material. Also, thepiratebay.org which is not specialized to exam takers, but rather spreading information that many people recognize as being illegal.

Another website which is known to provide an opinion on sites is CertGuard.com which has claimed to review at least some sites known to offer tests. Note that this website does appear to be third party, and so might not be officially recognized by a certification provider, but they may have some informed opinions. The main page does refer to some recommended providers of information.

On a similar topic: there are places that provide unauthorized vouchers. Some of those may be fraudulent, which can also have very negative consequences (including whatever money was lost by paying for the fraudulent voucher).

Training resources

Hopefully, the information on this website will be useful. However, at the time of this writing, this website is not a guide that is known to be officially endorsed by any of the major certification providers.

Some of the certification providers have official training material available. Using this material is probably a good idea. In some cases, test questions have been known to be worded extremely similar (and perhaps even identical) to the way that content is phrased in official training material. When that occurs, people who have read the training material may be less prone to wondering what interpretation is meant by a specific test question.

The author of this text has read through an official book for one of the certifications, and yet found that it was lacking details that were necessary to answer some questions.

Understand that these certification examinations are designed to assess actual skill level of adults. Different certification examinations achieve different amounts of success in that goal. In general, the certifications seem intended to be passable by people who have substantial related expertise, often accompanied with noteworthy experience in an industry. This is different than elementary school children who are provided with all of the answers, and are then provided with a test that verifies how well they memorized the answers, or how well they can perform simple skills.

Some publications have been known to show a “CompTIA” “APPROVED QUALITY CONTENT” “AUTHORIZED” logo. The requirements for obtaining this logo basically involve covering the topics from the official lists of objectives for the related examinations.

For the “CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI”, one of the “Key Knowledge Areas” has been “Configure systems with or without external peripherals such as keyboards.” A book called “All-in-One LPIC-1/CompTIA Linux+ Certification” (by Robb H. Tracy) describes how an already-started computer can be configured using SSH and VNC (on page 451). A book by Sybex (on p. 110) describes how a configuration option will affect whether the computer completes the boot process when there is not a detected keyboard.

Both of those books carry CompTIA's seal. Both of those books discuss an aspect to configuring a machine, and discuss a machine that may not have a keyboard. Both of these books provide accurate information on the topic. Yet, they focus on different times: one describes what a person can do after an operating system has started “server” software that will respond to a network, while another one describes activity before the operating system is loaded. The content provided by these books is different, and really does not overlap, even though both of the books have content which is related to the “key knowledge area” provided by the certification objectives.

On an actual certification examination, a question related to a keyboardless server will probably not cover both of those topics. In that case, one of the books probably does not cover the information that is expected to be able to correctly answer that examination question.

The people who write these “third party” books do not have access to any database that contains all of the official questions. The authors of these books also are not allowed to help create the CompTIA certifications. (That restriction is why the author of this text did not pursue becoming an official “subject matter expert” for CompTIA.) CompTIA Exam Development has stated:

  • Although CompTIA appreciates interest from the training community, applications from trainers, authors or individuals who can profit from or materially benefit from knowledge of CompTIA certification exam content are not eligible to participate as SMEs.

Since the authors of training text do not have access to any database that contains the official questions, some intelligent assumptions and guesses needed to be made about what is likely to be examined. Important topics are covered; this does not mean that every possible testable detail is going to be mentioned. Some people may balk at not freely getting a guarantee that they will be taught each detail before being tested on it, but th actual reality is simply what is reasonably possible for authors to provide under the circumstances. An attempt to actually cover every possible topic would require an even larger amount of text than what is in the books that, when printed, are often already-thick. (Similarly, training environments would require even more time devoted to training.)

So, one reason that training material might not cover information that an examination asks for is because the creators of the training do not have access to a complete list of questions. Another reason is that many of the examinations may change. The certification providers may introduce new questions that did not exist at the time that training material was created. Because certification providers have this flexibility, trainers cannot honestly guarantee that previously created training material is certain to completely cover everything that could possibly be asked on the certification examination.

Put simply: do not expect training to perfectly cover every single topic in exactly the same way that the certification examinations may ask a question. This is not being said to try to offer an “excuse” (a reason why blame should not be placed) for any specific training material. Rather, this is being said to try to help set reasonable expectations.

Overview of this page

This page largely discusses topics such as what value a certification may provide, or details about which certifications may be worthwhile to pursue (or which ones to pursue first, before other certifications). Technical details about the computer technology that is tested may be covered more by Techn's: Industry Certifications.

Common info
[#crtobjrv]: Reviewing Objectives

Certification makers release a list of topics called “Objectives”. This common practice is performed by CompTIA, Cisco, and most or all other certification providers. Look for such a list at the start of training.

After completing training, take a look through the objectives list again. Read over each objective. (This may take a bit of time. Plan to need to cover at least half an hour for this task.)

For CompTIA examinations, the Objectives PDF files include not just a list of sections of the exam, and topics within those sections, but also also releases a Glossary. Review that glossary, and ensure you know what each term means.

As you look at each topic mentioned on the Objectives List, you want to be able to think to yourself, &ldqo;Yes, I know about that.  I could confidently talk for 5-10 seconds about that topic because I'm familiar with the topic, and I understand what the examination is likely to ask about, because I could answer a question about that topic.”

If you're not there yet

...then get there!

If you can't say to yourself that you know details about a topic, then use your resources. (If you're not yet at that positive point where you can confidently say you know the material, then get to that point.)

Use your resources:

  • The ][CyberPillar][ website has information about many of the topics. See if the ][CyberPillar][ website has a section about the certification.
  • That could include a text book.  Many text books will have a list of the examination's objectives towards the end (perhaps in a chapter called an "Appendix" or towards the beginning (before chapter one, perhaps before the table of contents) and, right by each objective, list what page numbers address that objective.
  • Review notes that you have on the subject
  • If you have an instructor who has taught (or is actively teaching) you a course designed to prepare for the certification, check with your instructor about any remaining questions.
Once you're there

If you can say that about every single topic, then that's a great sign that you ought to be ready to take the exam and do well with it. This isn't necessarily a guarantee that a person will pass. Here are some reasons why not:

  • Some certifications may be performance based (where you may need to effectively use virtual equipment)
  • Certifications do have some time constraints.
  • Some certifications are, quite simply, just harder than others.

If you feel like you can answer questions well about every single topic, then try to get signed up for the exam as soon as possible before some of that data might get a bit foggy.

[#crtstkct]: Choosing a testing center

Many certification providers use a testing provider such as Pearson VUE or Prometric. Some certification providers have been known to use both (CIW, and historically CompTIA and Microsoft). When purchasing a voucher, there may be a need to make sure that the voucher matches the testing center organization that will be used. So, what is the difference?

Pearson VUE and Prometric testing centers largely operate identically. At least historically (when CompTIA and Microsoft both used both Pearson VUE and Prometric, instead of CompTIA only using Pearson VUE and Microsoft only using Prometric), some testing centers operated as both a Pearson VUE testing center and a Prometric testing center. That might still be the case. However, at least some testing centers might be only Pearson VUE and not Prometric, or vice-versa (only Prometric and not Pearson VUE). In that case, the biggest difference might simply be location. One location may be more convenient (generally by being closer, or perhaps having easier available parking) than other locations.

Determining if someone passed
[#crtprvgl]: Understanding agendas

Some people who want to get a certification become rather unhappy to find out that the requirements to get the certification may be rather vague.

There are some good reasons for this. This is not necessarily saying that the people who want a certification will be extremely pleased by those reasons. However, making the certifications easy to get might not be as valued by the certification providers as:

  • serving the needs of the certification providers, including having people who are skilled with any technology and tools that may be getting tested
  • the desires of employers who want skilled employees
  • making certifications more valuable (by being harder to get), which may be beneficial for people who do have the certifications.

Consider an example where a person pays for an exam (which leads to the certification provider getting some money), and the person fails the exam, and then the person spends the next three weekends studying hard instead of playing video games, and then pays for an exam again (which leads to the certification provider getting some more money), and the person passes the exam. From the certification provider's point of view, they got paid for two exams, and the person may know more about the technology that is being tested. Both of those things sound beneficial for the certification provider. Granted, this may have had a detriment to the person who paid for the exams, and also totally disrupted the video gaming that would have occurred instead, but those aren't really major problems for the certification provider. Employers end up having an employee who has spent more time training how to use the products, and so they might be happier too.

Consider a different scenario: a person tries to pass an exam, and then fails, and then spends some more time studying, and then fails an exam again. From the perspective of the certification provider, their exam has successfully recognized that a person is not very knowledgable. In that case, the certification provider benefited by not giving that person a passing score.

In both of these cases, the certification provider benefited by providing a challenging exam that a person could not pass easily. Some people get frustrated or angry when they realize some of the difficulties related to passing an industry exam. Those difficulties may exceed the amount of challenge from some other tests that they became used to taking.

[#okcrtscr]: Various criteria for passing

(This text was originally written with Cisco in mind, but may also be relevant for other providers too.)

Cisco's “Exam Scoring” section (of “Post Exam Policies”) says “Passing scores” ... “are subject to change.”

It is best to not try to think about a specific score that is needed. For instance, if the required score is 825 out of 1000, this does not mean that getting 82.5% of the questions may be required. First of all, the minimum score may not be zero, so that apparently indicates there may be some free points. (This means that if the maximum score is 1000, this does not mean that the range is from 0 through 1000. So, 825 points might not actually be the same thing as 82.5% of the possible earnable points, because some of the points may have been provided freely.)

Second, not all questions are worth the same. There may be various types of questions, including multiple choice questions and interactive simulators. The interactive simulators may require some work to be done, and partial credit may be provided if just some of the tasks are successfully completed. Cisco, like CompTIA, may include some “freebie” questions that are worth zero points (and may be included in order to help the test creators gather some information about what candidates know).

If a certification provider evaluates how well a person can perform with various sub-topics, then just having a high overall score might not be sufficient. The certification provider might want to make sure that people have at least some skill to perform various tasks. So, the certificatin provider might prefer that a person can handle a couple of tasks mediocrely well, instead of the person having additional expertise at one concept but being woefully inadequate at another topic. For example, a person who can perform multiple tasks at about 85% may be preferred over a person who can do one task with a score of 95%, but only achieves 75% on questions that deal with another sub-topic. (The score of 75% might be considered to be a glaring ommission of ability, which is such a significatn problem that the person will not be granted the certification that is being pursued.) So, just looking at the final score might not be the right way to determine whether a person passed.

The precise details about how many points a question is worth may be something that the certificatin provider has not published. In all probability, one reason for that is that the certification provider retains the ability to make changes to how much weight each question, or part of a question, is worth. If they published precise details, then they may become more bound/required to stick to whatever details they publish. By not publishing the details, they effectively have the ability to grade each individual exam however they want. (Even two people taking the same exam number might have different types of questions and may be graded different.) So, the certification provider may retain some flexibility by being vague.

So, it is really best not to think of a specific score as having much useful meaning, beyond the idea that the certification provider will determine whether the candidate passes or not.

Over a decade ago, Becky Nagel of TCPmag.com interviewed some staff from Cisco: Cisco Speaks Out on New CCNA Exam. Some substantial changes were made to the exam format, including adding simulators. Cisco's senior manager of certifications, Don Field, stated, “This change was not a change to content but the way we're assessing content, so for the candidate who is properly preparing there is essentially no change.” ... “We changed the way in which we were asking the questions.” The changes were not pre-announced.

Test taking methods
Different test formats

Many certification exams will allow a person to re-visit a question. This can be quite benficial when a person sees information from a later question, and realizes some information that could help with an earlier question.

However, not all certification examinations permit this. Some computer-based exams will expect a person to provide an answer to one question before seeing a later question, and then the person will be unable to re-visit the first question. So, before advancing to a new question where the correct answer seems uncertain, do consider whether the exam allows a person to go back to a previous question.

After answering the first question, an easy way to figure out whether a question can be revisited is to see whether there is a way to go back. Just see if there is a “back” button.

As a generalization, if a question is known to have an incorrect answer, and the question is more than one or two questions back, then going back might not be the best use of time. Going back may take time, and then going forward may take some more time, and taking that time for just one question might deprive a person from the ability to spend time getting two other questions right. If there is a notepad available, it may be best to just jot down a quick note to be referenced later, and keep moving forward, and then try to take care of the problem at the end. Statistically, people tend to get more points by trusting the first answer they come up with, so make sure there is enough time to get all of the relatively easier points.

Some certifications may also have an option, at the end of the certification, to jump straight back to a prior question. So, that may be a faster way to get back to a certain question, instead of using a “back” button to go back through a bunch of questions one-at-a-time. This may also be a reason to try to move forward, and get through the first pass of a test, rather than trying right away to go back to an earlier question.

Using the scratch pad

Many tests will allow a person to use a scratch pad to write notes. (Such a “pad” may be in the form of a little “white board” or a glossy plastic/“paper” with a washable marker, so a person can easily erase what was written.)

In theory, such a pad might be useful for creating some charts or tables. In practice, creating elaborate charts might not be a very wise use of time, since people must complete all of the questions within the required time limit that a certification examination has.

If the certification allows re-visting older questions, write a note on the pad about which question(s) to review. Some people might want to even record information about the questions that they are certain about, and give each question a rank (like a letter grade of A through F, or a simple smiley/flat-mouthed/frowny face). That can take a bit more time, but not a whole lot.

Question unevenness

At least some certification examinations have been known to be multi-part questions. For example, at least one vendor has been known to have one question be a fairly simple question, and then the next question is an interactive simulator that has multiple parts. Essentially, that question may be thought of as a question that has 5 sub-questions.

This can make it quite challenging for people to pace themselves. Some people have a habit of checking the time after five or ten questions, and then trying to figure out whether they are “on track” to complete the examination within the time limit, assuming that they keep up the same pace. However, allocating an equal amount of time per question is not valid when some questions are substantially more complex than other questions. Checking the amount of time taken per question might still be somewhat useful as an estimation, but relying on the technique may be a flawed strategy because there is a problem with that method.

HE.net IPv6
This takes a while to get the highest score on, but it is free of charge. (It involves some performance, so providing one's own equipment may be needed.)
Cost
Time
This may take a while to get the highest score on.
Direct financial cost
It is free of charge
Additional costs
It involves some performance, so providing one's own equipment (and Internet access) may be needed.
Guide
See: tutorial to using IPv6 as that tutorial has information helpful for this certification.
[#comptia]: CompTIA Certifications

See: CompTIA Certifications.

[#certcisc]: Cisco Certifications

See: Cisco certifications.

Microsoft

See: Microsoft Certified Professional.

[#oracert]: Oracle Certification Program(s)
Sun
There has also a Wikipedia page made for Sun: Wikipedia's page on “Sun Certified Professional”. That program likely pre-dated the time when Oracle bought out Sun. (It may be interesting to check out the future of this program. Speculation is that the certifications won't just be entirely discontinued, because Oracle also has a certification program. Oracle might just replace the Sun-branded certs with Oracle certs.)
Oracle Certification Program

CompTIA FAQ http://www.comptia.org/certifications/listed/renewal.aspx#three had stated that using certification expiration dates as “policy is in line with the practice of other major providers of certifications for IT professionals, such as Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle.”

Wikipedia's page on Oracle certification Program

Upon completing an exam, Oracle has been known to not just simply tell the test taker whether the examination was successfully passed. Instead, Oracle sends people an E-Mail, which directs them to log into CertView. Therefore, make sure that Oracle (and the testing organization, Pearson VUE) have a proper, working E-Mail address. In an actual experience, the E-Mail address used seemed to be one from Pearson VUE.

To log into CertView, a person uses an account created at the Oracle website. There is a link from the CertView page for making such an account. The E-Mail may say that the CertView site may be accessed at CertView. The web page for creating the Oracle account indicates agreement to Oracle.com “Terms of Use” (legal page) and Oracle's Privacy Policy (although the proper hyperlink for Terms of Use is likely Oracle Terms of Use: the legal page may actually just redirect to a multi-tab page that starts by showing the privacy policy).

Upon creating an Oracle account the first time, it will ask about details of the profile at Pearson VUE's Oracle site. There is also some sort of warning about only being able to try authenticating three times before requiring some manual process that may take multiple business days to resolve. To check the OC number, go to Pearson VUE Oracle site and use the “Sign in - my account »”. Then choose “Update My Account” (or “Proctoed Sign In”). Click on “Current Activity” to see the “Oracle Testing ID” number (which might be “OC” followed by seven digits). Then click on “Update Profile”, and in the “Primary Contact Information”, check the E-Mail address. If all looks right, have the Oracle site authenticate.

“Exam History and Certification History results will take up to 48 hours from exam completion to be refreshed on CertView.”

BSD Certification
BSD Certification FAQ
[#lxprinsu]: Linux Professional Institute (“LPI”)
Introduction to LPIC-1 certification

CompTIA's Linux certification is called “CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI”, making a reference to the Linux Professional Institute. For details on LPI certifications, see: LPI.org: Professional Certifications, Linux Certifications Overview. For further details on CompTIA's Linux+, see: CompTIA Linux+.

Note that signing up for an LPI ID might be non-optional: Pearson VUE page related to Linux Professional Institute states, “Before scheduling an appointment with Pearson VUE, you must first register with LPI and obtain an LPI ID. You will need this number to create an account.”

Getting multiple certifications with minimal effort

Before signing up for an exam for this certification, learn how to easily minimize work to get multiple additional certifications! See: CompTIA Linux+ information for step-by-step instructions. Those instructions were created using the brief set of instructions at: Greg Porter's blog note about Novell DCTS, Comment #1.

For further instructions, see: CompTIA Partnership and Greg Porter's blog note about Novell DCTS for more details.

Cost

The exams for certification do generally have a cost. However, for the LPIC-1, people have obtained this for free by passing the CompTIA Linux+. (For further details, see CompTIA Linux+.)

Trade Shows

Also, LPI General FAQ 10 states that “LPI often holds special exam labs” ... “at special events around the world. At these exam labs, LPI offers its exams at substantially reduced rates, and sometimes free of charge to conference attendees.” ... “Normally only exams 101 and 201 are offered at these events.”

Since those exams are only half of what is needed for certification (LPIC-1 needs the 101 and 102, while LPIC-2 needs the 201 and 202), additional exam passing would be needed to get a certification. (So LPI still stands to make some money out of the deal, if people do decide to get certified.)

This does lead to a question, which the author of this text has not yet determined. If LPI gives the LPIC-1 exam 101 for free, and somebody takes that, does that also count as the corresponding CompTIA exam (e.g. LX0-101)? If not, do LPI's rules about not taking an already-passed exam prevent a person from taking CompTIA's LX0-101, which is essentially the LPIC-1, because a person who passed the LPIC-1 is not supposed to take the LPIC-1 twice? As long as LPI's offer doesn't hinder the ability to get the CompTIA cert, this sort of opportunity seems like a nice way to get half of LPI's first certification level.

LPI Exam FAQ: Cost provides common pricing.

Expiration

LPI Exams FAQ (FAQ 16), “Do LPI certifications expire?”, states, “Yes.” The answer goes on to state, “recertification is recommended after two years from the date of the certification designation to retain a current certification status.” (The implication is that the certification status is not considered to be “current” after two years.) Furthermore, the FAQ's answer states, “to RETAIN an ACTIVE certification status, a certification holder is REQUIRED to recertify within 5 years of the certification designation.” So, it appears the certification is in one of three states: “current” for two years, and then it is still “active” for another three years beyond that. (After five years, it would no longer be “current”, nor “active”.)

Verification

LPI Verify Certification (English) redirects to LPI Certification Verification.

People verifying will need the LPI ID for the person who is being verified. They will also need a verification code which is specific to each certification. To view that certification code, log in at the LPI Candidate Area. Once logged in, in the left frame, choose “Overview”. Then, under the “Exams” section, the exams should be seen. Also, under the “Certifications” area, there should be a certification along with its Verification code.

LPI FAQ #8: “verify my certification states” says, “Candidates may have employers or others independently verify their certification status”. Just “simply provide your LPI ID and your verification code for each certification”. So, feel free to give out that information.

Upon success
Upon completing exams that qualify for the LPIC-1

Hopefully, the recommended process was taken. That involves starting by getting an LPI ID, and then getting a CompTIA Linux+. (The details on this recommended process are provided by the section on the CompTIA Linux+.)

After completing those steps, which includes logging into CompTIA's website and verifying the demographic information, the following are recommended steps.

  • Log into LPI. (This has been doable by going to LPI's page about CompTIA Partnership and then clicking LPI's Login button.)
  • The “Overview” page has a “Certifications” section. Hopefully it does not say “None”. Instead, it should show the LPI certification, as well as a “Verification Code”.
    • Once the verification code is obtained, a person can use that code and the LPI ID to see the certification. This may be done at LPI Certification Verification page.
    • Greg Porter's page about CompTIA Linux+ and LPIC-1 indicates that LPI may send notice the same day. (It is not clear if that was the day of the examination, or the same day that CompTIA acknowledged the Linux+.) Greg Porter's post about passing the CompTIA Linux+ exams, comment by Greg indicates the process involves “Wait a few days for the scores to hit LPI.” (That was the step after “Wait a few days for the scores to hit CompTIA.”) It seems this might take some number of days after CompTIA acknowledges the certification.
    • LPI: Linux Exams states, “Within one or two days your results will appear on this site in the candidate area. Please make sure the test vendor has the correct LPI ID on file or you will not see your results on this site.”
  • After passing the CompTIA Linux+ certification, get the Novell Certified Linux Administrator Certification.

    This certification does not seem as useful or easy as others. The general public may not have an easy way to verify that you have any of the certifications that Novell/SUSE grants to LPIC-1 users. (It seems that verifying a certification may require that the verifier has an account with Novell.)

    Also, this guide does not currently provide a full set of instructions on how to be able to verify the certification. Even the person with the certification might not be able to use the WWW to verify the certification. In theory, it should be possible. In practice, multiple people have voiced complaints that this task is quite challenging. Provided documentation doesn't work. It also seems that there were at least two separate technical errors in 2013 (including one in August, which was a problem in November), that prevented Novell's system from functioning properly. Troubles finding CLA cert, Troubles. So, although this guide does provide information on how to get the certification (including having Novell E-Mail you with a statement that you have the certification), the system may not be nearly as slick (easy, or even functional) as some other certification providers.

    See: overview.

    LPI page on Novell partnership notes, “This program initiative with SUSE and their CLA certification is not available to LPI candidates in Japan”. Also, the same web page notes, “You will need to provide your LPI ID, verification code, name and contact information.” Go to Novell page for LPI holders to sign up for CLA. (Greg Porter's post about passing the CompTIA Linux+ exams, comment by Greg says to do this “Once you are LPIC-1”.

    • After providing the required info, terms and conditions are presented.
    • After agreeing, the next page states, “LPI: Certified Linux Administrator”, “Congratulations!” “You're now a Certified Linux Administrator”. “Your Certified Linux Administrator is recognized worldwide and validates your skills as a Linux Administrator for SUSE Linux Enterprise.” (This might be Novell LPI-CLA?)
    • Check the E-Mail address that was provided, for E-Mail from edcustomer@novell.com, with a subject of “Novell Certified Linux Admininstrator Certification Confirmation”. It will provide an “Exam Registration ID” (which may start with CLA-LPI folowed by the Verification code that is used by LPI).
    • Then, as normal for this process, Greg Porter's instructions specify, “Wait a few days.” (Novell's E-Mail says, “Please allow one business day for your information to be loaded into the database.” Then, people may validate by going to Novell Certification Communities: http://www.novell.com/community/cert/ and scroll down to the Access the Certification Database hyperlink.
    • You may then need to create an account...
    • The E-Mail also refers to the URL for Novell LPI-CLA, which states “You're now a Certified Linux Administrator” as described above.
    • The following day, check the E-Mail address again. There may be multiple E-Mails that provide some details about multiple certifications being granted.
      • The following is based on the experience of the author of this text. There are actually three E-Mails provided about three different certifications. (So, passing the exams for the CompTIA Linux+ resulted in one cert from CompTIA, one from LPI, and three from Novell.) These individual E-Mails are described by the following (bullet point) sections. All of the E-Mails came from EdCustomer@novell.com at 1:45am -0600 (CST). (That time is probably subject to change, but is simply provided as an example of what actually happened in at least one case.)
      • The first E-Mail stated that “Novell Training Services” was pleased to grant me “the title of SUSE CLA 11.”
      • The second E-Mail stated that “Novell Training Services” was pleased to grant me “the title of SUSE 11 Tech Spec.”
      • The third E-Mail stated that “Novell Training Services” was pleased to grant me “the title of DC Tech Spec.” “DC Tech Spec” stands for Novell Data Center Technical Specialist. Bonus! Getting Novell CLA automatically awards Novell Data Center Technical Specialist!

      The E-Mails did say “SUSE 11”, even though OpenSUSE 13.1 was released at the time. Still, the download page for SLES led to an evaluation copy of SLES 11.

      Verifying a Novell/SUSE certification

      The person who obtained the credentials will need to create an account. Certification Community (For all current Novell Certification holders.) says, “Get one account for Novell, SUSE, NetIQ, PartnerNet and openSUSE” Note that when creating the account, if you provide a different E-Mail address than what was used for the Novell certs, the website will require info about that E-Mail address (asking for a physical address, phone number, etc.)

      Novell (EULA) Terms & Conditions (seem more focused on software maintenance agreements, rather than certifications... oh well.)

      After making the account, be sure to go to Novell Subscription Management if you wish to opt out of marketing offers. Then, check your E-Mail.

      That will get you logged into the basic page. Alternatively, the E-Mails that describe the certifications refer to http://www.novell.com/nps (which hyperlink to https://login.attachmategroup.com/nidp/idff/sso?id=27&sid=0&option=credential&sid=0 which ends up going to the same place.

      At this point, the directions vary from what the E-Mail stated. (The directions on the E-Mail had users click on buttons that do not exist.) On the left frame, choose “My Training”, and then “Certifications”. (That may show zero certs.) Click “Contact us about missing Novell certifications”. If the contact information shown is correct, choose “Continue”.

      Choose certifications: “SUSE Certified Linux Administrator - 10”, “Data Center Technical Specialist” Cache: Novell page, Access the Certification Database Now Forums: Novell, Novell Certification Info has a “Certification Resources for Someone With a Certification” which hyperlinks to “Certification Database (login required)” and Certifications Community (login required)”. The latter link leads to Certification Community (For all current Novell Certification holders.) That redirects to A page for Attachmate Group login for Novell. Forums: Novell, Forums, Novell

  • Sign up for TechCertRegistry. First, the ITCC overview/FAQ (a FAQ provided by LPI) provides some info. Actual sign-up is done at the website for TechCertRegistry Credential Clearing House.

    Publishing accomplishments may have a financial cost (like about $15?)

    Info related to TechCertRegistry
    • Credential Sponsors have included: Citrix, HDI, HP, IBM, LPI, Microsoft, Novell
    • (This organization is related to “Pearson Creential Manager” (“PCM”), “a Business of NCS Pearson, Inc.” The TechCertRegistry is provided by IT Certification Council. Another sign-in page was found at IT Certification Council Member Login. Technology for this website may be provided by Integral7.
    • Part of the TechCertRegistry's terms state that a person will not “provide access to the ITCC TechCertRegistry to any other parties”. However, later the terms note, “You may give your Universal ID to” ... “third parties”.)
    • The terms (accessed October 29, 2013) stated, in section 12: “ The following terms shall survive any termination of this Agreement: Sections 2, 7 (last two sentences only)” (and then, some other terms). That is ridiculous because Section 7 is only a single sentence. (Less ridiculous are the double periods at the end of a sentence in section 13.)
[#certciw]: CIW (“Certified Internet” “Webmaster”/“Web Professional”) certifications

See: CIW certifications.

[#iscsqard]: (ISC)2

See: Information about International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, a.k.a. “(ISC)2.

(International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, a.k.a. “(ISC)2 offers Certified Information Systems Security Professional (“CISSP”).)

Novell/SUSE

Although SUSE's page for CLA indicates costs of a testing center, make sure to get the CLA through a process that starts by getting an LPI ID (not the LPIC-1 certification first, just get the free ID) and then getting a CompTIA Linux+ certification. This can lead to getting some certifications from Novell for free. For further details, the recommended section to start with is the one about CompTIA Linux+ (and follow-up with the section on Linux Professional Institute).

Others

Wikipedia's page on MCP hyperlinks to: Wikipedia's page on Apple Certification, Wikipedia's page on Cisco Certifications, Wikipedia's page on the Oracle Certification Program, Wikipedia's page on Red Hat Certification Program, Wikipedia's page on “Sun Certified Professional”, Wikipedia's page on “Ubuntu Certified Professional.

Western Governor's University has utilized industry certifications as part of its program. It may be interesting to go to WGU IT Bachelor Degree Programs (for more technical degrees) or WGU College of IT: Bachelor of Science Degree Programs (for those seeking degrees with a bit more of a focus in business rather than a technical focus), and see the section titled “What You'll Earn — IT Certifications”. (That will list some certifications that are part of the program being looked at.) In addition to those certifications, which WGU require students to obtain in order to graduate, WGU Admissions: Transferable IT Certifications lists some certifications that WGU utilizes for reduction of required course load. (People actually interested in going to WGU may wish to speak to an enrollment counselor, who might provide a PDF file providing more specific details about exactly which certifications correspond to individual WGU classes. This has been provided by E-Mail, but wasn't found on the public website, so presumably it might change.)

Dell has a DCSE program.

Even more certification providers

Note: check into how useful these are before investing into them.

Help Desk Institute
(Deletion log: Wikipedia's page on the Help Desk Institute shows that information on this organization was removed due to the organization being insignificant, Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine Online - article on “New MCITP Title for W7”)
Security Certified Program (SCP) (SecurityCertified.net)

Unfortunately, there may not be much too this. This seems unfortunate. They were promoting themselves as being vendor-neutral, which is relatively uncommon (with CompTIA being the most noteworthy exception.) Also, their training material was excellent (referring to the official text books), enough that they are being placed on this list. Unfortunately, the official website has stopped working. Glenn Barrett's forum post notes, “The company issuing the cert then got bought out by a foreign company”, and quotes some additional details that indicates that these certifications are not continuing to be active.

Going over their books is still an excellent concept. The “Stretegic Infrastructure Security” book was known to be fairly good, covering a variety of topics. Wayback Machine @ Archive.org's cache of ShopSCP.com page for “Strategic Infrastructure Security” indicated the book was $199.99 (and that might have been 20% off the “list price”).

This organization offered the “Security Certified Network Architect” (“SCNA”) (examp SC0-501 and SC0-502), “Security Certified Network Professional” (“SCNP”) (exam SC0-471), and “Security Certified Network Specialist” (“SCNS”) (exam SC0-451).

CertMag article about SCP indicates this was launched by an organization called “Ascendant Learning”.

Misc related commentary/resources (related to SCP)

Strategic Infrastructure Security (possibly the book by SCP), Amazon page, Courseware

Amazon page for Tectical Perimter Defense book, Amazon page for “Planning Trusted Networks” book, TechExams commentary, Network Defense Countermeasures