My view on IT Certifications

The topic of many discussions I’ve been involved in lately, are in relation on whether or not IT professionals should get certified. Many people are completely opposed to the idea, while others believe this is a great way to improve your skills and get ahead in your career.

I’m CERTainly on the second group, and I will explain what certifications did for my career. I started my IT career as a pc hardware repair technician. I was making little to no money, and had a very limited understanding of the software side of IT. Not knowing what other technical guys were talking about, drove me to pursue some certifications. After several months of studying hard, I was able to earn a couple of certifications, before I started to pursue college degrees.

POSITIVE aspects of earning certifications:

  • I was able to acquire the knowledge of other areas of IT
  • I was promoted to a better position with higher financial compensation
  • My self esteem improved
  • Became hungry for knowledge and resulted in many other certifications

NEGATIVE aspects of not getting certified:

Notice I used the word earned, in this post. Many people opt for brain dumps to pass certifications and are only hurting themselves. It is very easy to spot the cheaters from the ones that earned a certification. A person that is “certified” but does not know the basic information, presents itself as incompetent and everyone can easily infer that such individual did not earn the certification. In IT, there are many tight communities of professionals, and your reputation as an IT professional is imperative for career advancement. If your reputation is one of a cheater, you won’t get very far.

Interviews is another way to find the cheaters. During my career, I was involved in many interviews. I was able to discern the fake IT professionals within five minutes or less. Not only did those individuals not get the job, but would also get the negative reputation I previously mentioned.

Many people decide not to get certified for many reasons:

  • People that used brain dumps, gave the certs a bad reputation – don’t want to be part of that group
  • Too busy, don’t have time
  • No value
  • High Cost

I was once in this set of mind. Finding out that people with the same certs I had did not know anything about that topic, made me lose trust on certifications. I was also really busy with two little kids and going through my Master’s degree program. Although, I had some legit excuses (so I thought), I decided to keep getting certified. I’m not going to lie, it was incredibly hard to juggle all this things and study for certifications, but doing so I was able to obtain my a very satisfying position, where I get to learn new things, have fun, and of course; get certifications.

Storage Virtualization: Yep, NetApp

Just as VMware has been the pioneer for server virtualization, NetApp seems to be the virtualization player to beat in the realm of storage at this moment. Although NetApp’s ONTAP Cluster Mode (C-Mode) is not a new release, it is taking some of the legacy, 7-mode users some time to not only understand, but also implement C-Mode given its complexity compared to 7-mode. But an easy way to think of C-Mode, is to find the similarities with VMware’s vSphere.

Cluster mode breaks apart the physical aspect of the storage into a virtualized setup where several virtual storage environments can be created to segregate the diverse logical configurations. C-Mode can be a great use case for a public cloud service provider where the segregation of storage virtual machines is necessary; but let’s keep in mind, that this kind of segregation can also be heavily utilized within a private environment for many use cases.

Having recently achieved a master’s degree in Cyber-security and Information Assurance (CIA), I learned a few things about securing not only public environments, but also making sure we are internally secure. Your company is only as strong as its weakest link. After all, a great number of the attacks are generated internally by users with lack of knowledge or even malicious users. Through storage virtualization and the segregation of storage virtual machines, we can achieve not only better security but also better management through the use of policies.



This virtualized storage environment allows for a more direct relationship with virtualized server environments such as VMware, where more granular control is needed. In my humble opinion, NetApp C-Mode and VMware vSphere are not that much different from each other. As I was preparing for my NCDA certification for NetApp (C- Mode), I couldn’t help but notice the similarities in their architectures. C-Mode acts as the Hypervisor, or in this case vSphere, and both platforms have virtual machines that act as independent identities. Such identities have their own personalities such as IP addresses, login information, mappings to a physical underlying network, etc.

While VMware uses servers for the physical platform, NetApp C-Mode uses their hardware and data ONTAP software to deliver storage virtualization; that once joined with VMware, become an extremely powerful solution for businesses of all sizes. Clearly, I am drinking the NetApp cool-aid, but I believe their technology in addition to VMware’s products make up for great SMB, and enterprise solutions. The two companies provide even better integrations and solutions through the use of VASA, VAAI, VVols, VSC, etc. More on them soon…



Not your next Internet protocol…

For those of us that like to test our knowledge with certifications, I got good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it). VMware has released a new End User Computing certification for VMware Horizon View. This certification will validate your skills and experience with Horizon View.

The previous version (VCP5-DT), has not been deprecated as of now.

More information on VCP6-DT as well as blueprint info can be found here.