Certifications, Acronyms and perhaps I’m an idiot!

September 3rd, 2007
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

For years and years, I would hear people say “I want to be a CNA to which I would think to myself, “Wow, there sure are a lot of people who want to administer networks”, though to be more specific to that, Administering Novell.

However, with the rampant number of acronyms in the world, running into CNA being a Network/Novell admin, far more often than it has anything to do with Nursing, can you blame me?

How different are the two really? One requires you to pass a test, and another requires you pass a test, have confirmed a background check, completed various training programs, and any other number of things you can find on a site like this CNA Facts.

Taking things a step further, one is a stepping stone to becoming an engineer within a networking profession, whereas the other… Well, it is itself a doorway, which doesn’t lead elsewhere unless you choose to move on.

I’ve not met too many doctors who took the CNA stepping stone to progress their career, it was usually straight to doctor, few steps to start.
However, many an Admin, Engineer, Architect; started as a Network Administrator, Helpdesk “Technician”, ‘Consultant’, and any other amount of career choices.

So, while both are similar (in name) the similarities end there.

What does this mean for the casual certification geek? It means in “Technology”, no amount of schooling is required in order to get yourself a piece of paper which says you “know” something. Becoming the worlds youngest MCP or MCSE for example is a great accomplishment, if it means something to you, and you do something with those skills. And respectively, have the skills and knowledge to back up the “Test”.

Just like there are doctors and nurses who are completely incompetent, just because someone is an MD or CNA doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing or what they’re saying, it merely means they’ve passed a board and are recognized for being competent some of the time.

Be the best you can be, apply your skills, become the skilled person you are; don’t just go with the flow, assuming that because you got a “Passing” score, that the study and learning ends there.

Studies show, that if I am interrupted while writing something, it will get even more scattered than it originally was intended.

Recovering my thoughts…

Next time you have the intention to get a certification, degree, or some other piece of paper, ask yourself these few questions.

  • If I did not have this piece of paper, would I have the skills required to fulfill the duties of said paper?
  • Do I have the implicit knowledge required to understand and operate, without the paper?
  • If my career focus were to switch to solely what this piece of paper granted, would I enjoy doing that indefinitely?
  • Is not having this piece of paper holding me back. See next line.
  • If I didn’t have this piece of paper, am I comfortable in learning the knowledge required to achieve and advance beyond it?
  • Do I enjoy what I do now? Will this paper make things more enjoyable?
  • These are just some simple steps in the understanding and awareness of what is involved in arbitrary papers, and the value they have to a person and an organization. While some may be “Required”, by all means have those. However, fulfill the requirements with understanding, more than just obtaining a piece of paper.

    It goes without saying, that the worst thing I could ask for, is someone with a Degree in Literary English, who has absolutely no grasp of the english language, both in written, spoken and especially the *spelling* that goes into it.

    So, join me in embracing the future of “Certification”. Knowledge by understanding, and not by papering your way to success.


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