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Certification Watch (Vol. 16, No. 17)

News about certification resolutions for 2014, ed upcoming cert-centered conferences, and more.

In 2014, I Will Do / Become / Accomplish ...

It's that time of the year again. Time to look back across everything you saw and experienced in 2013 and realize, "It's 2013 and we still don't drive flying cars and eat food out of a synthesizer. What the hey, 1950s science fiction authors?" There's always next year, of course, and there are always personal ambitions, hopes and dreams that, while they may not have come to fruition in the past 12 months, could be just around the corner. If you don't have any certification resolutions for 2014, then you should probably get on that, pronto. There's not very much time left, you know? On the other hand, if you hate thinking up your own self-improvement goals, then ISACA is here to help. The IT governance group has five resolutions for IT professionals preparing to dive into the new year. The list is a little bit one-size-fits-all, sure, but maybe it can at least give you some ideas. Oh, and Happy New Year!

Making the Most of Your Certification

We all know the question: What can certification do for me? It's largely up to each individual certified professional, of course. Like Grandma always said, What you get out of certification depends on what you put into it. Sometimes, on the other hand, you may not realize what certification has done for you until you stop and reflect. That's exactly the sort of thinking that's been rattling around in the heads of folks with CompTIA's popular A+ cert in recent weeks. CompTIA asked, and A+ professionals answered, sharing personal stories of certification success. One guy bailed out of his career in finance to work in IT, taking his first step by getting an A+ cert. Another guy used A+ to ride his Air Force career all the way to the Azores. There are several fun reminders of what you can do with a little boost from certification.

Houston, We Have Certification

For everyone who is looking to get that personal certification engine revved in the new year, it's always nice to visit a distant city and hobnob with other like-minded IT professionals. If you're considering a Microsoft certification, then draw a red circle around the dates May 12-15 on that brand new 2014 calendar. TechEd North America 2014, the annual Microsoft certification and education event, will touch down in the largest city in Texas (fourth-largest in the U.S., yo) that week. Among the attractions in Houston, you'll find Microsoft Learning's Certification Central, featuring study materials, exam prep sessions, workshops and more. Yes, attending conferences takes time and money. Just ask yourself, What would Tom and Donna from Parks & Rec do? The answer is obvious: Treat yo'self!

Experience the Power of Hands-On Experience

It's the Catch-22 of resume building and career trailblazing: Certification can help you get a job in many cases, but some employers may opt not to hire you without the added seasoning of direct experience. To put it more succinctly, you can't get the job unless you've already had the job. Blogger Marcus Fan tackles the venerable conundrum in a recent post at Cisco Learning Network's Depth of Field blog. Fan says that he's picked up a few tricks of the trade in moving from engineering to finance to IT to marketing to operations and sales over many years, and explores possibilities ranging from volunteer work to professional networking.

The Envelope, Please

We'll wrap things up this week with a plug for Red Hat, which wants to put your name up in lights. At least if you're a Red Hat Certified Professional, that is. Surely you didn't expect a champagne supernova from Red Hat just for being a shining, happy person? Red Hat is seeking nominations through Feb. 28, and you can totally nominate yourself. All submissions must be brief (500 words or less) and address the topic of how your Red Hat certification has helped you improve job performance and benefit your organization. The winner will receive a travel package to attend the 2014 Red Hat Summit event April 14-17 in San Francisco, and will be recognized during the Innovation Hour reception.

That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..