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Certification Starting Points

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Get the rundown on the most popular and most useful certification programs, from MCSE to CCIE, in this article from Certification Magazine.
This article is reprinted here with permission from Certification Magazine.

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In recent years, IT certifications have multiplied like Tribbles in an old "Star Trek" episode. First, there was one, then two, then four, then...you get the point. The problem is that with so many possible certifications to choose from, it is hard to know which certification is right for you.

Before you select a certification track to pursue, there are few things to remember. First, certification is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Each certification you earn opens the doors to many more options that you can use to enhance you career prospects. Second, certification is no substitute for real-world experience. No amount of monogrammed paper can ever make up for the nitty-gritty, hands-on experience you get sitting in front of the keyboard in a production environment. It's important to know that any certification you earn needs to be supported with a solid background of experience.

From most standpoints, the two certifications that make the most sense to begin with are the CNE from Novell or the MCSE from Microsoft. These certifications are excellent starting points because they offer an excellent picture of the overall networking landscape and are general enough in scope that they easily lend themselves to additional certifications. Furthermore, the majority of networks around the world are running either Novell or Microsoft operating systems, and, in many cases, both at once. These two certifications give you the option of enhancing your certification with a credential from another vendor or building on your base certification with other certifications in the same product line.

Certified Novell Engineer (CNE)

Certified Novell Engineers have a variety of career choices because Novell offers several different versions of the CNE, including for NetWare 5. Additionally, Novell offers a CNE for its GroupWise collaboration and messaging system. If your company runs GroupWise on top of its NetWare network, you may want to consider getting the GroupWise CNE to make yourself more valuable to your employer.

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