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Certification Watch (Vol. 20, No. 27)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, certified IT professionals weigh in on the best way to prepare for a job in IT, a handy infographic identifies the largest IT firm in every U.S. state, and more.

The Best Preparation to Succeed in IT


Business conversation most effectiveRemember the scene in Joe Versus the Volcano where Dan Hedaya is barking, "I know he can get the job. But can he do the job?" Hedaya's angry harangue is a throwaway gag in the film, but his question actually carries a lot of weight in the working world. IT firms, in particular, want to hire workers who can actually function in the roles they're hired to perform. Which adds interest to a recent outtake from the Salary Survey conducted each year at Certification Magazine. The 2016 survey asked respondents, all of whom are certified IT professionals, to rate the overall effectiveness of five common methods of preparing to work in IT. Are aspiring tech professionals better off, in other words, a) going to college, b) pursuing certification, c) getting specialized technical training, d) learning on the job, or e) putting it all together by teaching yourself? In what is perhaps a sign of changing times, the long-defended bastions of university education and certification are not rated particularly well in the "extremely effective" column. The question summaried here did not attempt to ascertain, of course, what employers are looking for when they assess a résumé. If you want to know what current IT professionsals think is the best kind of preparation, however, then chewing over the results could be instructive.


Beat the Test: Which Certification Study Materials Will Help You Most?


There's a bit of a midsummer lull in much of the IT world at the moment, but the Certification Magazine guys are really bringing it with the hot takes. Another recent Salary Survey dispatch tackles the sometimes contentious question of which are the best study materials to seek out when preparing to take a certification exam. Again, the people responding to the question are all certified IT professionals. In other words, every single one of them has at least some experience in the realm of taking and passing certification exams. Their evaluation of 11 relatively commonplace methods of preparing for a certification exam could provide valuable guidance to someone confronting that proposition for the first time. Perhaps not surprisingly, two approaches are clearly rated more favorably than all of the others: self-study books and practice exams. In other words, it maybe doesn't take a lot of bells and whistles to get this thing done.


To Succeed in IT ... Take It from Me


Sticking with the afore-referenced theme of finding success in the actual global IT workplace, IT industry association CompTIA recently solicited some free advice from one Rob Rae, a vice president at Datto, a data firm that specializes in backup and disaster recovery. In a post that appeared Monday at the IT Career News blog, blogger Emily Matzele works through Rae's personal approach to a variety of challenges such as time management, communication, and clear-eyed self-assessment. Rae even shares his personal mantra for success (and recommends that you develop a mantra of your own): "You don’t always have to be the smartest, but if you work hard, you will achieve the results you want." That, no doubt, and remember to put your pants on one leg at a time.