Why So Many Certifications? — It’s All about the Bas(s) — The BASICS that is!

I often refer to myself as a certification junkie. The truth of the matter is I am an education and learning junkie. I love to learn and all of the certifications are a side effect of that wonderful disease. That addiction to lifelong learning is probably why I teach. In teaching, I learn more than I could ever teach. Yes, I said it, teaching is a selfish business for me. When I teach I get much more than I give. When I am in the front of a class and when I am facilitating the class properly, I learn so much more than I could ever teach. Look at it this way, if I have a room of 25 students and the average experience of the student is 10 years then the collective student experience is 250 years. Compared to my 27 years of experience, I am the weak link in the class. My job is to draw out the unique experience from each of these students and make their experience, knowledge and skill part of the collective. During this process, I can’t help but learn. Of course, I develop an follow curriculum that works toward a learning and/or performance goal and share information that I have gathered from classes and experience that I have, but I can guarantee that the information transfer goes both ways. This is definitely a win-win situation.

certification-0715So, the question are, why do I have so many certification? Is there value to these certifications? Can there be value in such a broad range of such certifications? To answer these questions I would put together some rules for certifications and education goals for technologist and sales engineers in AV/IT:

  • Begin with the end in mind — (one of my favorite quotes and based on seven habits of highly effective people – Stephen Covey) – What is the end game? Is there a promotion, target job, target company, target degree or similar goal that a certification or education path will lead you to.
  • Determine the disciplines that you want to follow — Technical, Project Management, Design, etc – or do you want to head towards multiple disciplines and be a renaissance man (or woman) –this was my goal and why I took so many certifications, my goal was to be multi-disciplined and be as much like Leonardo Da Vinci as possible (read more about this at my site for my book.
  • Set a plan – The concept here is to ask yourself, how do you eat an elephant?…One bite at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once. If someone told me I had to have all of these certifications, I would have said that would be impossible, but I took it all in small bites.
  • Use all of the resources available to you and barter where you can — you have some skills and knowledge you can trade. Do it. Someone out there needs to know what you know and they have what you need.
  • Share. I have lived my educational life based on that core belief and that is why I teach and learn to this day. The number one reason that I am by any means successful at what I do (teaching wise) is because I believe in what I do. It is about sharing. Do it!
  • Stop Procrastinating — Take the test or class– so what if you fail? Failing is learning. I will not say if or how many times I have failed certification test…YES I WILL. I HAVE! And I still have my certifications. Failing can be a study method. If you take and fail a test, you have then seen the test and can better study for the test to take it again and pass.
  • Enjoy your win – celebrate and brag and help others win to – that is part of sharing too.
  • Keep going – don’t lose your certs. It doesn’t say much when you put on a resume’ r discuss how you used to have a CTS or whatever certification. As a hiring manager, I put very little weight in expired certifications. Keep them renewed. Some of the certifications I have are just to keep other certifications renewed. Sometimes it is a vicious circle, but it is a fun one.

I know I talk a lot about certifications in the blog, but in this blog if you replace the word certification with classes or education or other synonym for learning, it would all hold true. The certifications I currently have could not have been achieved without learning and that is what it is all about. That is why I believe certifications is all about the BASS. ALL ABOUT THE BASICS that is. EDUCATION and LEARNING is the most basic aspect of certifications and I have never encountered an instance where education and learning is not a good thing.

By the way, I guess I should actually answer those original questions about why I went and got so many certifications:

  • Q. Why do I have so many certifications?
  • A. With the goal of lifelong learning I can’t help but constantly set my own goals for some form of a metrics to make sure that I can prove to myself that I am constantly learning. My certifications are confirmation to myself that I am constantly learning.
  • Q. Is there value to these certifications?
  • A. Absolutely – I have received promotions and new jobs that relate directly to some of my certifications. They also help with credibility with some of the customers I deal with.
  • Q. Can there be value in such a broad range of such certifications?
  • A. This was one of my goals. I wanted to target having a very broad range of technical and business certifications. This also helps with dealing with customers in business and with helping to relate the technology and the business needs.

In business, in home life and in life in general, education is one of the greatest freedoms one can have and this weekend most of all we can celebrate the freedom of education.

Max Kopsho, CTS-I/D, CCENT, CCNA R&S and Security, PMP, CQT, CompTIA Network+ and CTT+, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and a few more, but they stopped fitting on the business card…