Certification Spotlight: Joe Schueler

Joe Schueler works as a sales engineer for Cloud Solutions at Verizon Terremark.

Me

Why did you first pursue a professional certification?
As part of a corporate-wide migration from NetWare to Windows NT, many of the IT staff were given free training manuals and a free pass to one Microsoft exam. I took and passed the Windows 3.1 exam to become an MCP and have continued the certification process ever since.

Are you considering getting any additional credentials?
Always. I’m not currently pursuing anything today due to some continuing education credits I need to work on, but I will probably look at expanding my cloud certifications in the next few months.

What advice do you have for someone pursuing an IT certification?
Stick with it. Make yourself committed to getting that one exam out of the way. Don’t try to learn material for 3 or more exams at once, or worse, different vendor’s material. It will confuse and distract you. If you are new to the field, start with something simple like a desktop operating system exam. Don’t try to jump into CCIE or CISSP. Assuming you own a home computer, you can probably use a couple of self study books and go pass the exam. The trick will be for the person that needs to upgrade their certifications to the server level. That may take some time and money if your company isn’t helping you out with expenses.

How has being a certification holder helped you make strides in your career?
I’m not even sure if you can get hired anymore without multiple certifications.  At least not at my level. When I used to review resumes, I always wanted to see experience and a variety of certifications. I think it helps round out the person’s knowledge base.

Can you describe a valuable professional experience that may not have been possible without certification?
Certification doesn’t always mean that the person knows what they are talking about. But at the same time, when I’ve done consulting work, I doubt I would have been taken seriously by the customer if I wasn’t certified on the solution I was recommending. I’ve done security audits, and showing the customer that I hold several security, 2 operating system, virtualization, project management, and networking certifications together all present that I have a broad skill set to work with for assisting that customer.

How has the field changed over the years?
I love “new” products that are really just old solutions with a new name. Most of them have new features, but the core concepts are all the same. Once you understand that, I think you can adjust to the various changes this industry keeps going through. One other change I am seeing is the shift back to centralized control over the IT. I think that compliance issues forced this change, but I do think it is time for the enterprise to take ownership of the various networks and platforms their departments have been purchasing in the past.

Certification Spotlight: Victor Armbrust

Victor Armbrust works as an Infrastructure Solution Architect for 2Worx Technology and has been in the IT industry since 1998.

victor-dba

Why did you first pursue a professional certification?
IT companies are always looking for specialized professionals. Getting specialized for a specific product (or products) is really important to make a difference among others. My first certification was related to Oracle Database, which I´ve worked for the last 5 or 6 yeas, so I decided to study and take my credential.

For many years, I thought getting certified was not an important thing; today I know I was wrong.

Are you considering getting any additional credentials?
Yes. Specially for Oracle Database 12c and Systems (Exadata and Exalogic). I´m also studying for Solaris 11 Certified Professional.

What advice do you have for someone pursuing an IT certification?
My main advice is: “Don´t look for excuses! Time goes by too fast. Opportunities are always available to anyone, but being prepared depends only on your wish to be a great specialist.” Most people don’t have time to study on a daily basis, so you should manage your agenda and find some time to study (depends only on yourself.)

How has being a certification holder helped you make strides in your career?
It has helped me a lot for the last few years, especially when I had a job opportunity. I have worked with IT consulting companies since 2004, so I have some experience with database consulting. Experience is (in fact) the most important thing in your career, but companies are always looking for new contracts or customers, and it is very important to have certificated professionals in their portfolio. At the same time salary negotiation can be more easily discussed.

Can you describe a valuable professional experience that may not have been possible without certification?
Basically all activities for a Database Specialist need a higher level of technical skills, including Operating Systems, Network and Storage knowledge. Certification helped me a lot during all these years as I need to study a lot of material to do a great job, especially in database migrations and backup/recover implementation.

How has the field changed over the years?
I’ve been working in the IT industry since 1998 and I can tell you it has changed a lot. As technology grows, we need to adapt ourselves to it. Back in 1998 I started my career as a Novell Network administrator, and at that time there were not too many certified professionals. In today’s time, companies are looking for a complete professional with great skills not only at the technical side but also at business and internal process side, that´s ITIL. What I’ve learned as a DBA is: To keep doing a great job, it is necessary to study a lot and maintain your technical skills and your certifications updated so you´ll be prepared for any further challenges.