When seeking certification, keep in mind that not all types of certification require applicants to complete online training programs. In many cases, certification can be awarded simply by passing an exam. Most certification providers provide training and test prep, but they often charge additional fees to access it. It’s generally best to check the provider’s website for information on the certification first to get a good feel for what preparation is required and what you’ll need help with. Once you decide that the certification is right for you, note the cost to take the exam, and whether the certification provider offers any online assistance free of charge. Fortunately, there are some excellent resources for preparing for certification online that are available free of charge.
Some of the more common certification types include: Comptia A+, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Cisco Certification (CCNA & CCNP), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), and the Certified Novell Engineer (CNE).
Comptia A+ CertificationEmployers often ask that those looking for IT type position carry some form of certification. For those looking to work with computer hardware, one of the most common certification sought is Comptia A+. The A+ certification demonstrates that you possess the basic foundation of knowledge necessary to provide IT support and is often considered a good jumping off point for those looking to have a career working with computers. Information on the exam as well as links to online preparation options are available at Comptia.org. Free test prep can be obtained from ProfessorMesser.com.
Microsoft Certified System EngineerThe MCSE is a good certification to get if you’re looking for employment with a business that uses Microsoft networked systems. It’s good for those with a year or two of experience with networks and some familiarity with Windows systems. Information on the certification as well testing locations is provided at Microsoft.com. Free preparation for the exam as well as training material can be found at mcmcse.com.
Cisco CertificationCisco certification, particularly the CCNA, is highly valued by employers with large networks. Those looking for a career working with computer networks, network security and internet service providers will be well served by Cisco certification. Information on certification can be found at Cisco.com. Free study guides and tools can be found at Semsim.com.
Microsoft Office Specialist CertificationThose looking to work with Microsoft office products such as Excel or Power Point will be well served with an MOS certification. While not often specifically requested by employers, an MOS certification is a strong way of demonstrating ones aptitude with a specific Microsoft application. They are also less intense to prepare for than some of the other common certifications. Information from Microsoft on this is available at Microsoft.com. Free test preparation can be difficult to find, but some practice tests are available for free at Techulator.com.
Certified Novell EngineerThe CNE is ideal for those looking to, or currently working with Novell software such as Netware. As Novell products seem less used today than they once were, this certification is probably ideal only if you already plan to work with Novell networks. Information on the certification can be found at Novell.com. A directory of free preparation materials can be found at Certification-Crazy.net.
Whatever certification you choose to pursue, be sure to review the preparation requirements and costs. Some of the most difficult certification types can take many months to prepare for, so be sure that you’re able to invest the time and resources necessary to get certified. If your virtual certification efforts go well, you may also be interested in earning an online degree.