Here's how certified professionals advise approaching an exam:
1. Experience is not enough. You need to know the right answers according to the book, not your experience. Don't give the answer you want—give the answer that the vendor wants. If that strikes you as unfair, tough. No one ever got an MCSE by bellyaching to Microsoft.
2. Cramming isn't good for you. Whether it's a holiday dinner or subnet numbering schemes, don't try to digest everything at once. Study for several weeks, then rest up for the exam. One successful CCIE who flunked on his first try notes, "A restless night and nerves are what got me. The second time around, I brought a 'what the hell' attitude and aced the exam."
3. Know your subject. If you're not ready, you're not ready. Wait until you master the material and then take the test. Limited knowledge plus crossed fingers does not equal a passing score on a multiple-choice test.
4. Don't second-guess yourself while taking the test. As Regis often says, go with your first instinct. Only go back and change an answer if information in the test itself makes you realize that you made an earlier mistake.
Certifications: What They Are And How To Earn Them
Always go straight to the source before taking any step along your certification journey. Certification programs change constantly; what might be a "must-take" course now might prove to be a waste of time tomorrow.
|3Com||Certified Solutions Expert (CSE)||www.3com.com/
|Association of Web Professionals||Certified Web Designer (CWD)||www.a-w-p.org/
|Allaire||Allaire Certified Professional Program (ACPP)||www.allaire.com/services/
|Cisco||Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)||www.cisco.com/warp/
|Citrix||Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA)||www.citrix.com/training|
|Compaq||Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE)||www.compaq.com/ase|
|Intel||Intel Certification Program||www.intel.com/training/
|Java||Certified Programmer for the Java Platform||suned.sun.com/HQ/
|Linux||Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)||www.lpi.org|
|Lotus||Certified Lotus Specialist||www.lotus.com/home.nsf/
|Microsoft||Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)||www.microsoft.com/
|Novell||Certified Novell Engineer (CNE)||www.novell.com/
|Oracle||Certified Professional Database Administrator (CP/DBA)||education.oracle.com/
|Red Hat||Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)||www.redhat.com/training/
|SCO (Caldera)||Advanced Certified Engineer (ACE)||www.sco.com/education
|Sun||Certified System Administrator (CSA)||suned.sun.com/HQ/
Cashing In On Certification
What can you make with a certification? Here are this year's average salaries for some of the more popular certifications. as you might expect, the coveted CCIE is easily the most highly paid certification on the market today.
Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE): $120,000
Oracle Certified Professional/Database Administrator (CP/DBA): $82,500
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE): $62,500
Certified Novell Engineer (CNE): $60,000
CompTIA Network+: $49,500
CompTIA A+ Certification: $40,000
Sources: ComputerJobs.com, Certification Magazine, CertITcom, Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine, Pencom Systems, Sm@rt Partner.