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Certification For Beginners

What is computer certification, and how do I get it?


Computer certifications exist for a single purpose: to provide a measurable account of a specific set of skills and/or product knowledge. If you are an expert, a certification is proof. If you are not yet an expert, the path you must take to become certified will provide you with the tools to become one.

There are many paths to certification and the first step is to do some research. Spend some time defining your current skills, deciding where you want to take your career, and then look at the certifications that are applicable to your goals. There are several resources on this site that will help you decide what, if any, certifications are right for you.

Are you new to IT (Information Technology)?

Breaking Into IT
This article will give you some insight into how you can get your foot in the door of the recovering IT industry.

Certification Forum
There are quite a few people trying to decide how to get into IT. From those just out of school, to mid and late career changers, there are several discussions in the forum that will provide insight into how others are making their way into IT. Feel free to post your own questions and get advice from those who have "been there, done that".

Do you have IT experience but don't know what certification to go for?

Certification Glossary
If you just need to get a handle on what certifications are out there, how much they cost, and what you need to do to get one, check out the glossary.

2004 Salary Survey
Find out what people with a specific certification are earning.

Top Certification Books and Software
Find out what books will suit your level of experience and what training software will give you the most bang for your buck.

Beginner Certification Resources
Which certifications will get you started?

Do you need to know more about certifications by a specific vendor?

The best way to get this information is by using the links to the left. But, for your immediate gratification, here are some of the most popular resources:

Microsoft Resources
How to Get a Microsoft Certification
MCSE Defined

CompTIA Resources
A+ Resources

Cisco Resources
CCNA Central
Cisco Defined

Java/Sun Resources
Java Certifications Defined

Security Certification ROI
Security Certification Basics

Web & Internet Certifications

Do you just want some practice tests?

Well, there is my link to all of the great places that provide free and fee-based practice tests, there are the ones that are on this site (free and no registration required!), or there are several links in each individual subject (Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA, etc.) to the left. Use all of these to find the the best practice tests on the internet.

Practice Tests on other sites
Practice Tests on this site
Reviews of Fee-Based Practice Tests

Need to know the basics on how to register for an exam and get that valuable credential?

There are two places that you can register for most IT certification exams. The first is VUE and the second is Prometric. Both offer online registration and several locations worldwide. You can search for a training center near you and get all of the information you will need to sign up for and take your exams. In most cases you will need to show up with nothing more than a picture ID. For detailed information on exam objectives, time limits, and number of questions, you must visit the vendor's website. Helpful links:

Vendor List

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