Cisco Certification, Microsoft Certification…Which One Suits You the Best?

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When a graduate applied for the network administrator position and showed his FOXBASE certification to prove his ability in an interview, recruiters pulled a wry face. Job seekers do not know what sort of certifications can prove their abilities to be a network administrator. Many people want to change their lives by acquiring certifications of IT industry. However, there are a variety of IT certifications. A certification that spends you much time and money does not always help you get the job you want. Such a process is energy and money wasting.

When it comes to certifications of IT industry. They can be categorized into two types. One is the certifications of big companies such as Microsoft, IBM, SUN, and CISCO. These certifications target at specific technology. Another certification exam, which is more pervasive, is held by national relevant institutions aiming to test whether an individual’s ability has reached a certain standard or not, like National Computer Rank Examination (NCRE) and National Applied Information Technology Certificate Test (NIT). We will introduce some trendy IT certifications of enterprises including their characteristics, value and targeted audience as follows.

IBM certification: cost-effective for students    

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The certification system of IBM starts from OS/2, mainly including IBM eServer iSeries, AIX and IBM eServer pSeries, IBM DB2 Information Management, IBM WebSphere, XML, Lotus, e-business, and Linux. The exam content involves various aspects of operation system, system management and application development. Therefore, it is a huge certification system.

In 2005, the average cost of taking IBM certification exams is around USD150. Since the IBM certification exam program is an integral part of the IBM China University Partnership Program, the training courses are mainly carried out in universities. In order to reduce the financial burden of college students, the IBM University Cooperation Department subsidizes the cost of certification exams for Chinese college students. The exam fee is much lower than other expensive ones. Among them, the non-credit course exam each costs about USD23, and the credit course exam is USD11.5 each. Therefore, it only costs USD15 or so to obtain a certification. This is a good option with high cost-performance for students without economic incomes.

Different from other IT certifications, IBM mainly offers certifications to university partners. If candidates want to take IBM exams or participate in training, they can directly contact with corresponding IBM University cooperation departments.

Microsoft certification: a new authoritative certification system is forming

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Microsoft formally released the brand new certification system and schedule on October 10th, 2005. This is the biggest change since 1992 when MCP certification system has been established. The new certification system are clearly divided into three levels of certifications: Microsoft technology certifications, professional certifications and architect certifications.

Technology certifications do not set limits. Passing one to three exams, candidates can get the corresponding certifications, which means candidates have the ability to master the core technology and skills of Microsoft. MCTS certification of the new system belongs to this level.

Professional certifications include IT Professional certification and Professional Developer certification, which confirms candidates’ comprehensive skills to engage in a certain work. Technology Specialist certification is the prerequisite for taking the exam. Passing one to three subjects enables you to get the certifications correspondingly. 

Architect certifications are the top of Microsoft certifications. They affirm that the candidates are the top experts in the field of IT architecture. Visit this site (spoto online) (MCA) to know more. It is highly demanding, requiring that candidates should have 10-year working experience in IT industry and 3-year architect working experience. The exam lasts for a week long costing near USD10,000. The certification is valid within certain period and it needs re-certifying.

With the official establishment of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006, the new generation of Microsoft certification system will take its shape in the late 2006. Candidates will be as familiar with MCTS,MCITP, and MCPD certifications as MCSE.

An industry insider said that Microsoft certifications are the best-known certifications in the IT industry with largest number of candidates passing its exams. Getting the certifications has universal value because Microsoft has the largest market share in computer operating systems. The job using Microsoft products requires corresponding certifications. For instance, maintaining the windows server system requires server management related certifications.

Cisco certification: the pyramid-like training system

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Cisco’s training system can be described as a pyramid consisting of two directions: Network Installation and Support Track, and Network Engineering and Design Track. Each direction is further classified into three technical levels, namely, Associate, Professional and Expert. Associate is the foundation of the pyramid, Professional the middle, Expert the top. The basic certification CCNA of Cisco certification system is the bottom.

You must pass CCNA exam to take the CCNP exam. At the same time, most candidates take CCNA exam. The peak one is the CCIE. CCIE as the earliest certification of Cisco was started in 1994. It is also one of the certifications with highest value in the IT industry. Candidates do not have to acquire other Cisco certifications to take the exam, but they must pass the written exam to take part in Cisco CCIE lab exam. Cisco has added many easier-to-get certifications after CCIT.

It is said that Cisco recently has added two new storage certification titles to a series of Cisco certifications: Cisco Storage Networking Design Specialist and Cisco Storage Networking Support Specialist .

Oracle certification: the leader of database certifications

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Oracle Corporation is not only the earliest to establish RDBMS but the one masters the most share of this market. To some extent, Oracle represents RDBMS. Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) is conducted by by the International Certification Testing Center authorized by Oracle Corporation. Candidates take three to five exams according to exam requirements.

Oracle Certified Professional Database Administrator certification (OCPDBA), a popular authoritative and professional certification issued and enacted by Oracle. To obtain this certification, candidates need to pass five exams. So far, OCP certification exam includes Database Administrator, Database Operator, Database Developer, Java Developer, and Application Consultant. Database Administrator is responsible for the regular management, backup and recovery of database.

Database Operator is able to skillfully use such tools as OEM to complete the operation and regular management of the database, mainly based on the Oracle 8 database management of Windows NT. Database Developer can proficiently handle the tools of Developer/2000 to build up various Forms applications and customized reports with different standards. Among these certifications, Oracle DBA is the most valuable and the most difficult. Each exam of OCP costs USD125.

Sybase certification exams are recognized by 90 countries

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Sybase Corporation is the largest enterprise software provider specializing in information management and information mobile technology worldwide. The features of the corporation’s database system software is high security and accuracy. The CPD certification of Sybase is recognized by 90 countries. This certification, a trump card of database relevant job seekers, can confirm the superb ability to protect and correct data.

The Sybase certification exam is divided into two levels: Associate and Professional, including: CPD-Associate (Sybase Certified PowerBuilder Developer-Associate), which requires that candidates have the PowerBuilder development experience, and systematically and proficiently master the related concepts of PowerBuilder application development based on the Client/Server architecture. CASA-Associate (Sybase Certified Adaptive Server Administrator-Associate) requires candidates to have the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise 11.5 skills in application design, system management, and technical support.

CSD-Associate (Sybase Certified SQL Developer-Associate) requires the ability to design effective applications and effective SQL programs that comply with corporate rules for data manipulation. CPD- Professional (Sybase Certified PowerBuilder Developer-Professional) demands for deeper experience in PowerBuilder application development. The candidates should have the ability to design effective, reusable, and easy-to-maintain programs. CASA-Professional (Sybase Certified Adaptive Server Administrator -Professional) requires that candidates should be proficient in the concepts of database design and management, adjustment and optimization of system functions and fault diagnosis and troubleshooting.

SUN certification is conducive to finding a job

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Sun Microsystems is a leader of open network computing and the largest provider of UNIX system in the world. In 1995, Sun has created Java programming language. After 10 years of ups and downs, Java has become the mainstream technology of software development. It is listed as one of the three main key information technologies in the world today. Therefore, the certification exams held by Sun are undoubtedly the recognizable criteria of Java and UNIX in global information community. The relevant certifications, particularly some practical and high-end certifications like J2EE, give you strong competence and vast employment space.

The professional certifications established by Sun include Java certification, ertified Solaris Administrator, and Certified Network Administrator. Java certification is provided for Java programmers. Meanwhile, this certification is the sole Java certification authorized by Sun. In this aspects, software development certification can be classified into six categories, JAVA Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP), Sun Certified Java Developer (SCJD), Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD), Sun Certified Business Component Developer (SCBCD), Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA) and Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE.

Certified Solaris Administrator certification is designed for Solaris/Sun OS system administrator. CSA is divided into two levels, testing how much candidates know about Solaris administration. Certified Network Administrator (CNA) certification exam tests candidates’ abilities to administrate Solaris network. The content covers basic network concepts, Routing and Subnet, Security, Performance, DNS, NIS, etc.

Almost every well-known IT industry enterprise has the certifications of their own products, such as NOVELL certification, Adobe certification, HP certification, Intel certification, and Prometric Prometric. Different certifications present different understanding of training institutions, enterprises and candidates toward market.

“In 2000, Microsoft MSCE certification was very popular. Now there are very few people taking this certification exam, and I no longer take the certification exams blindly.” said Li, the director of the Information Department of the Graduate Student Union of Fudan University. In the IT industry, regardless of which type of certifications, not a single one can be the panacea. Due to the IT industry’s characteristics, its division of labor is very fine including the Internet, database, office software applications, software development, computer installation, debugging and maintenance, graphics and image processing and many other aspects. With the development of the IT industry, new domains will keep emerging with the appearance of new computer certifications, and continual update of old certifications.     

The value of various IT certifications is shrinking. Many recruiters have been incredulous about different certifications and turned to test interviewees’ hands-on abilities. Microsoft staff held that Microsoft put more emphasis on practical working abilities instead of certifications. Certification is only a testing method but not the purpose. Do not believe that certifications mean high salary. Learning skills and technologies step by step is the most important.