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Seasonal Shoppers: Give the Gift of Certification!

'Tis the season of holiday giving. A certification discount could help you give your loved one the gift of a better future, but that's not the only way to spread the certification love.

Holiday giftsIt's the season of holiday gift giving, and the clock is ticking down. Almost everyone probably has at least one person on their list who is a little bit (or a lot) hard to shop for. Some people just don't seem to fit with anything. Instead of holding your breath and picking a sweater, however, or throwing up your hands and getting a waffle iron or a cordless drill, why not give a gift that enriches the mind?


The most obvious way to give the gift of IT certification is to buy that special someone an exam voucher or training materials. Certification can be a big expense, and it's often hard to keep pace with the costs. And the gift of helping a friend or loved one achieve their certification goals, or at least inch closer to doing so, is one that lasts long after your give it.


There are lots of good deals out there. All your have to do is look around. Testing titan Pearson VUE is offering 35 percent off the cost of a single exam voucher, or 50 percent off when you buy two. The Cisco Learning Network Store is offering both weekly and daily December Deals. At Red Hat Training, you can get a voucher for a free certification exam when you a) purchase a virtual training class that, b) is completed in January or February.


Over at Oracle Certification, you can purchase exam and training packages for 20 percent off. There are CompTIA training bundles available from Pearson VUE for as much as 45 percent off. And if you want versatile, performance-based training with world-class simulations, then drop in at TestOut Continuing Education, where you can get 50 percent off the first month of any individual training.


One important thing to remember is that there are ways to give the gift of certification that don't involve purchasing items for others. It's certainly in keeping with the spirt of the season to volunteer. And you can lend your certified skills to many community groups and organizations that need the benefit of that expertise, but don't have the budget to pay for it. (Volunteering is also an excellent way to gain valuable IT experience for yourself.)


You can also seek out certification forums and discussion groups online, where your IT insights could be the key to solving someone else's IT problem. This is another excellent way to give others the benefit of the smarts and skills that you have gained from certification, while keeping those tools sharp and forging valuable connections that could further your own career.


Finally, speaking of helping others to benefit from your experience and knowledge, why not take the Certification Magazine annual Salary Survey? The more IT pros who take and complete the survey, the better the information will be for all of us. Best of all, it comes with a holiday present just for you! Take the survey and you can get a free one-year digital susbscription to Certification Magazine.


Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Holiday season!