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Certifications

Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Dec-2009 13:00:10 EST

Overview

    I love learning new techs. I tend to pick up certifications in the areas that interest me the most (security and operating systems/platforms) along with those that pertain to my current work. Certifications provide me with a way to gain new knowledge and to feel a sense of accomplishment after spending hours and hours reading training materials and running through practice labs.

    At this point, I've given up counting the number of pages I've read but a good guess would be over 10,000. I really do it for myself because I like it and have fun. The fact that hiring managers and HR people like to see them on my resume is, of course, nice but not my main concern.

    Current certifications: (in reverse chronological order)


      Linux Professional Institute Certification / Level 2 (LPIC-2) - 12/2005
      Linux Professional Institute Certification / Level 1 (LPIC-1) - 10/2005
      Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer: Security for Windows Server 2003 (MCSE:S) - 8/2005
      Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer for Windows Server 2003 (MCSE) - 8/2005
      Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator: Security for Windows Server 2003 (MCSA:S) - 8/2005
      IBM Certified Solution Developer - XML and Related Technologies - 6/2005
      Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator for Windows Server 2003 (MCSA) - 6/2005
      (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) - 3/2005 (renewed through 2011 -- but I'm letting it lapse)
      CompTIA Certified Security Professional (Security+) - 10/2004
      Microsoft Certified Solution Developer for .Net (MCSD) - 9/2004
      Microsoft Certified Application Developer for .Net (MCAD) - 8/2004

    Pending Certifications:

      None.

    Certifications I'm actively studying for (and intend to get):

      None. I'll pick something else soon.

    Future certification interest:

      Primary group:
      Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
      Microsoft Dev Certs for .Net 2.0
      Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

      Secondary group:
      GIAC / SANS certs (I find them to be overpriced)

Linux Professional Institute

    The LPIC (Linux Professional Institute Cerification) is a vendor-neutral cert for Linux. It has two levels, LPIC-1 and LPIC-2. You could (roughly) map the LPIC-1 to a MCSA and the LPIC-2 to MCSE. LPIC-3, when it comes out, will likely map to a MCSE:S or similar. It comes in two flavors (which is supposedly being phased out), RedHat and Debian (mostly for the install tools, i.e. rpm vs apt-get). It requires significant shell-based experience to obtain the higher levels.

    I'm planning to get LPIC-2 by the end of the year, 2005. I'll start at the beginning (obviously), so I have to take:
LevelTestDateStatus
LPIC-11019/27/2005 
10210/21/2005 
LPIC-220111/3/2005
20212/8/2005 

Microsoft

    The goal here is for each cert column to be green (excluding white squares), meaning the cert has been earned. Red blocks are still required tests and yellow are the tests I'm currently studying for. Italicized dates are assumed test dates, not definites.
MCPD
    The MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) is part of Microsoft's new certification tracks. "Enterprise Application Developer" appears to be the big dev cert for .Net now and I can use my current MCSD to upgrade to it. At a later time, I may also get the MCPD: Web Developer and MCPD: Windows Developer.
TestTest DateEnterprise Developer
71-553
Upgrade: MCSD Microsoft .NET Skills to MCPD Enterprise Application Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework - Part 1
? --
71-554
Upgrade: MCSD Microsoft .NET Skills to MCPD Enterprise Application Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework - Part 2
? --


MCAD/MCSD
    The MCAD is made up of 3 exams. I earned it on 8/2/2004. It is mostly aimed at developers doing departmental type work.

    The MCSD requires the MCAD, plus an additional 2 exams. I earned it on 9/18/2004. This cert is aimed more at problem analysis and solution architectures than the MCAD. Microsoft considers it their premiere software development cert.
TestTest DateMCADMCSD
70-315
Developing and Implementing Web Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET
7/2/2004    
70-316
Developing and Implementing Windows-based Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET
7/16/2004    
70-320
Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# .NET
8/2/2004    
70-300
Analyzing Requirements and Defining Microsoft .NET Solution Architectures
8/30/2004    
70-340
Implementing Security for Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET
9/18/2004    


MCSA/MCSA:S/MCSE/MCSE:S
    All of these certs relate (for me) to Windows Server 2003.

    The MCSA/MCSA:S is a system's admin certification, with security specialization. I earned the MCSA for Windows Server 2003 on 6/15/2005.

    The MCSE/MCSE:S is the engineering/design certificate for setting up network infrastructures running Windows Server. I earned it on 8/23/2005.
TestTest DateMCSAMCSA:SMCSEMCSE:S
CompTIA Security+
Counts as elective credit.
10/2/2004        
70-290
Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
5/19        
70-291
Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
6/1        
70-270
Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional
6/15        
70-293
Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
7/6        
70-294
Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
7/28        
70-299
Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
8/9        
70-298
Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
8/23        

(ISC)2

(earned: 3/26/2005)

The CISSP is a huge test of a wide variety of information security management and related topics [domains]. It is generally very highly regarded in the industry. For this particular test, I've read three books (Sybex CISSP Study Guide, Shon's All-In-One CISSP Certification and (ISC)2's Offical Guide). For the page counters out there, that's about 2,400 pages. I look at it this way: the test is expensive and I want to master the material; now isn't the time to skimp on preparation. I've adhered to a 2 month prep cycle which, in retrospect, was probably too long.

CompTIA

(earned: 10/2/2004)

I was interested in the CompTIA Security+ cert, mostly because I received a free voucher.