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4: I Have Worked with Only One Vendor's Platform. Can I Still Move Up in the Field?

The problem here is being vendor-dependent. When I got certified with Novell, I was immediately confronted with the following question: What if Novell drops off? What will I do then? Since I can remember, I always believed that being vendor-dependent is an obstacle. It is bad for business, and can be devastating if there is a major shift. As it turned out, I was right. Interest in Novell began to shift in late 1997 and 1998.

Thankfully, I was proactive. I earned the MCSE twice over (3.51 and 4.0), several of CompTIA's certifications, and was working on several other prospects. I made a decision when I entered IT that I would not become a negative statistic. Thankfully, up to this point, my strategy has worked. The strategy is simple: DIVERSIFY! I have continued increasing my skills through advanced certifications and support challenges. Many friends have laughed at me sitting in a testing center, stockpiling authorizations and certifications. What I have found is that the stockpile has kept me working. When one vendor goes through a slowdown, I can keep working because I wear multiple hats.

When I teach classes, I try to encourage my students to be dual-certified. Not because I will make a living off them taking classes, but because dual-certification offers job security. You can move up the ladder with a single certification, but dual-certified people have an easier time being promoted. I don't care if the dual certifications are Novell-Microsoft, Microsoft-Cisco, or Microsoft-Oracle. It does not matter. What matters is having a means of staying employed and earning a good living. Again, it is a matter of attitude. It is easy to get certified, and rest on that certification. For job security, diversification is the answer.

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