The Future Of Computer Certification Exams

The Future Of Computer Certification Exams



The Future Of Computer Certification Exams
The format and difficulty of​ computer certification exams is​ constantly changing .​
When I​ took my first certification exam (Novell NetWare 3.1x CNA,​ January 1997),​ there was no such thing as​ a​ simulator question,​ and my practical skills really were not tested .​
The exams then were much heavier on​ memorization.
One factor that helped make up for that was that the​ Novell exams were adaptive .​
If you missed a​ question on​ a​ particular topic,​ you would continue to​ be asked questions about that topic until you got it​ right .​
You couldn't afford to​ be weak in​ any topic,​ because the​ exam would most likely find that out and keep hitting you with questions on​ that topic until you failed.
Adding to​ the​ stress,​ after a​ certain number of​ questions your exam could end at​ any time .​
You had no idea how many questions you would get,​ just that you would get at​ least 15 .​
Every time you hit the​ next button after question 15,​ you didn't know if​ you'd get another question or​ if​ the​ exam would suddenly end and give you a​ pass or​ fail response.
Times have changed .​
Cisco has led the​ way in​ introducing simulator questions to​ their exams,​ where the​ candidate is​ presented with a​ simulation of​ a​ router or​ network and asked to​ perform tasks that someone who is​ ready to​ earn that certification should be able to​ perform .​
This is​ a​ much better test of​ competency than the​ exams were eight years ago.
What will be the​ next big jump in​ computer certification exams? To earn the​ world's most difficult technical certification,​ the​ CCIE,​ the​ candidate must first pass a​ rigorous 100-question qualification exam,​ and must then pass a​ practical lab exam .​
The candidate is​ presented with an​ exacting set of​ network requirements and must build that network on​ a​ pod of​ Cisco routers and switches in​ less than eight hours.
This is​ just personal opinion and not insider information,​ but I​ believe the​ day will come when the​ CCNA,​ CCNP,​ and other Cisco certifications will require some kind of​ hands-on practical lab to​ earn the​ certification .​
What better way to​ test competency than to​ have to​ perform tasks on​ real Cisco equipment? There would be more overhead for Cisco with this kind of​ testing,​ since lab equipment and lab proctors would be needed,​ but the​ already-prized CCNA and CCNP would become that much more valuable in​ the​ workplace if​ employers knew that to​ earn that certification,​ the​ job candidate had to​ pass a​ hands-on exam.
This would benefit the​ candidates as​ well,​ since it​ would do an​ even better job in​ protecting their investment in​ time and money .​
This could also be the​ next step in​ ferretting out candidates who try to​ get past the​ CCNA and CCNP exams via braindumps .​
As I​ always tell my students and customers,​ when you're standing in​ front of​ that router or​ switch,​ there is​ no multiple choice .. .​
you either know it​ or​ you don't!
Chris Bryant
CCIE #12933




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