certification Archive

IT Certifications in 2014

Posted January 1, 2014 By Dan

From newyear-2014.net

A new year deserves a new look at IT certifications.  I’ve always been a fan of certifications, as I believe studying for them makes you well-rounded in a field, and they look pretty darn good on the resume.  I’ve taken certification exams in areas I’m very familiar with, and in technologies I’m barely familiar with but I’d like to know more about.

IBM came out with a very good white paper discussing the pros/cons of certifications.  “The primary reasons include increased employability, greater growth potential and networking opportunities.”  It went on to say “Overall, professionals who had earned an IT or project management certification during the last five years earned an average of $5,242 more than their counterparts.”

I often look at what the big companies for programmers are offering – Oracle, Zend, Microsoft, IBM.  Sure, there are other companies, but these have topped my list for some time and continue to.  Here’s why:

Oracle: According to Gartner, 48.8% of all money spent on a commercial database package is spent on Oracle.  That is a huge share, especially considering that IBM at second place is only at 20.2%, so an Oracle cert is a must-have for non-specialized IT professionals.  Oracle also has MySQL, the open source database, which is downloaded a whopping 65,000 times a day! Oracle also offers Java certification – you know, the 2nd most popular language (C has re-overtaken Java…it’s a great battle!).  Plus, Oracle has a ton of other in-demand specialized certs (middle tier & hardware), making it by far my top choice for IT Certification.

IBM: From hardware to software, IBM is a powerhouse in certain companies.  It has more in revenues than Google + Apple combined.  It is very much a software development/support company that also sells software & hardware.  To that end, they offer numerous certifications on their vast array of products.  If you’re interested in tapping into all that money, certification can help.

Zend: I always felt PHP is a peculiar language to gauge the popularity of, and others agree.  To me, I think PHP has stopped being a “rising star” and has instead solidified itself as a small-website-development tool, such as WordPress sites like this site!  It’s a needed niche, and will be around for quite some time.  If you’re looking to enter the PHP realm, a Zend cert may help.

Microsoft: I’ve had Microsoft certs for over a decade.  There are always job posted for MS Certified employees, pulling in big dollars.  Microsoft Certified Solutions Developers earn $97,848.  Microsoft Certified Database Administrators earn $95,950.  Microsoft Certified Application Developer earn $93,349.  Also, Microsoft’s Database Administrator ($90,200) and SQL Server 2005 ($90,100) certs pull in good money too.  But all these tests are hard, and not for the casual user!

Another newish IT cert to consider:  The Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist.  I’m thinking about it!  It sounds cool, right?  Not sure how useful it would be, yet.  May look good on the resume, though.

Adobe also has a ton of certifications for their products.  I’ve never tried one.  They seem reasonably priced, so maybe I will.  More info on them here.

In conclusion…  Prometric came out with a report on IT certs.  It lists numerous to get certified.  The one that stands out for me is that 89% of IT decision makers perceive certifications as a way to keep skills/knowledge current.  I think that’s true, whether early in your career or later on.

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Oracle Certified Associate, MySQL 5

Posted September 7, 2012 By Dan

Recently I passed the exam to become an Oracle Certified Associate, MySQL 5.  I scored very well with minimal studying.

The Oracle website here gives a good overview of the exam.  Obviously I’m not going to give out exam questions and answers but I’ll tell you how I prepared.

The exam was 50 questions and you have 90 minutes to complete it. Time really is not a factor – I’m a slow reader, and I finished in under an hour.

If you are comfortable with select/insert/update/delete, including simple joins, then you’re halfway there.  If you have solid experience with SQL, even if it’s with another database, you’re well on your way.

Download and install MySQL.  Create databases, users, grant permissions, switch databases, etc etc.  You may not need all that but it’s good experience.

Run through this example from Oracle.

Know the common functions:  manipulating dates, times, strings, etc.

10% of the test is importing/exporting data.  Read all about the various options and practice them.

Know the basic concepts of transactions.  I have years experience with this in PL/SQL and I find that the basic concepts transfer over well.

If you do all that and understand what you’re doing, you’ll do fine!

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PHP Certification… What You Need To Know

Posted July 25, 2012 By Dan

PHP ranks among the most popular programming languages. It has become the programming language of choice for small to medium sized websites due to its low/no costs, simplicity to learn and the abundance of qualified programmers. It is also the language behind many Content Management Systems, such as WordPress, which keeps the language in heavy demand.

With ample PHP programmers around, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack as a knowledgeable, skilled, proven programmer. The best way to do that is by becoming a Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE). There are other companies that offer PHP certification, but Zend really is the industry standard.

Zend Technologies was founded in 1997 by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski. They rewrote the PHP parser (originally developed by Rasmus Lerdorf), and are credited with making PHP the popular choice it is today. Zend continues to be the worldwide leader in PHP software.

There are nearly 2,000 ZCE’s in the U.S. and 5,000 worldwide. ZCE’s are able to distinguish themselves by placing the ZCE logo on their resume and business cards. Zend Certified Engineers are also listed on Zend’s directory, Yellow Pages for PHP Professionals.

The PHP 5.3 Certification exam covers the following topics:

  • PHP Basics
  • Functions
  • Data Format & Types
  • Web Features
  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Security
  • I/O
  • Strings and Patterns
  • Databases
  • Arrays

The exam is offered for US$195 through Pearson VUE testing centers around the world. To locate a testing center near you visit http://www.vue.com/zend/. Zend also provides a study guide for free to help you prepare for the test.

Although obviously not a requirement to be a PHP programmer, it will definitely help get jobs and promotions. As someone who has hired many programmers, I strongly encourage folks to get certified. When you’re comparing two qualified similar resumes, certifications are an easy tie-breaker. Personally, I’m planning on taking the ZCE test next month or so.

Good luck to those who take it!

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