Picked up two more badges from CompTIA!

Well, I’m not 100% sure how valuable they are, but I picked up a few more CompTIA badges recently. I’ve been going through the CompTIA certifications to renew some that I had, and to pick up some new ones. All told, this now gives me eight badges: A+, Net+, Sec+, Linux+, CIOS, CSSS, CSIS, and CLNP. Now I just need a purpose for all of that alphabet soup!

Previously, my job required just one certification, Linux+, but the month that I went to take the test, my work changed the one requirement from Linux+ to Net+. So I finished taking the Linux+ test, and then the next month took the Net+ test. Now, my work actually doesn’t require any certification at all, “sort of”. It is a little bit complicated in the contractor world, but essentially, my actual employer does not require it, but while the company that they contract through does not either, they are pushing for it with bonuses for companies under them to have certified technicians. I get the feeling that my company will one day decide to secure the bonus by mandating certifications.

If that ever happens, well, I’ll be ready. But for now, I just have a lot of alphabet soup. Required or not, though, I like taking these certification tests because I feel it keeps me sharp and in the loop about the IT world. Sometimes we get rather specialized on a certain group of equipment, and we start to loose focus on the IT world as a whole. These certs help me with that by making sure I’m current on best practices, infrastructure, and technology.

Now I just have to decide which one to take next. I think I’ll go for something like Server+. Any suggestions?

Linux – keep it simple.

CompTIA Mobility+ certificate to be retired on December 15th.

One of the many things that my work requires is various IT certificates. In particular, they require Network+ for the job I am currently filling, and A+, Security+, and Linux+, for various other simulators at my work. So, I make an effort to keep my certifications current, and to have as many as possible, in the event that a position opens up to which I want to apply.

Now, there are a lot of certificates out there, and while I’m not intending to talk about them all here, I would mention that there are other great programs out there, other than CompTIA. For instance, I do hold an LPIC certification, as well as a SLES, and a LFCS. Two of the great things about CompTIA, however, is the fact that they are an industry standard, and that they have a pyramid hierarchy, which allows you to make current and hold numerous “lower” tier certifications by only taking the top level test.

It was a surprise to me to learn that they are retiring the Mobility+ certificate before the close of this year. Here is their take on why they should retire this certificate:

CompTIA Mobility+ certification will officially retire on December 15, 2017. The main reason for this retirement is that the job role for Mobility+ continues to merge into the Network Administrator role, and much of the Mobility+ content is covered in CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+.

What surprised me, though, was that this is the only certification from CompTIA, and one of the few certifications in general, that covered cellular data and infrastructure.

Sure, A+ does cover a lot of hardware, but it doesn’t seem to cover cellular towers, WiMAX, or even Satellite components, which are a part of Mobility+. Here in Alaska, with many wild and untamed areas of the state, various forms of wireless communications are utilized to get internet connectivity into remote locations.

Granted, Network+ does cover the majority of TCP/IP protocol stack, but cellular devices typically use odd protocols to control the transmission and reception of the TCP/IP data. The radio portions of Mobility+ helped differentiate between the various types of frequency shifting, hopping, and cells that are an integral part of the mobile world.

Of course, Security+ covers most aspects of authentication, authorization, and accounting, but in a more general sense. While it does cover wireless access, it only focuses on the typical 2.4 and 5 MHz bands and associated equipment, not covering the special needs of cellular devices. When it comes to MDM (Mobile Device Management), Security+ treats it as a footnote in section 4, in which all of section 4 is covered by less than 15% of the test. In Mobility+, however, Mobile Device Management alone is 28% of the exam!

It would seem to me that any cellular or satellite internet provider would make Mobility+ a mandatory requirement. Places like Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T would all be encouraging their technical employees to certify in this field in order to maintain their network.

What does that mean? I certainly think that the Mobility+ certificate is one worth keeping, but apparently CompTIA believes otherwise. Since it does not make logical sense to me, I can only believe that either too few people are taking the test to make it worthy of updating, or CompTIA is not earning enough revenue from Mobility+ sales to warrant it’s continued operation.

It could be that cellular technologies will be rolled into A+, Net+ and Sec+, negating the need for Mobility+, but I just renewed my Network+ and Linux+ certifications, and didn’t see any cellular references on the exam.¬†They say that CompTIA certifications are led by the industry, and not the other way around. In a world that is becoming increasingly more mobile, I just can’t see getting rid of Mobility+.

Linux – keep it simple.