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Certification FAQ
| Certification | Training | Testing |

Certification

 

Will certification help me earn more money?

Certification demonstrates that a certified individual is

  • more productive
  • able to solve problems faster
  • more confident with their solutions
  • more professional in the workplace
  • more respected by clients by showing that they have the most current knowledge appropriate for the IT industry

and this often aids to a salary increase.

Salary surveys reveal the power of professional certification to boost income when compared to vendor certification. ICCP certifications result often in 10% to 20% increase in salary.

What's the difference between vendor and professional certifications?

Many professional associations report between $14,000 to $15,000 differential between those certified when compared to those not certified. Vendor certifications result in $4,000 to $5,000 increase between those certified and those not.

If you run your own company, then as a consultant or contractor, as your complete set of skills grow and are assessed against the best standard in the industry, you can command a higher payrate.

Even if you cannot negotiate your professional certification into a raise in the short term, it has been proven in the long term, to provide a strong base assessment of your knowledge, qualifications, which increases your marketability to other companies.

Will certification help me get a promotion and why?

Many companies and government departments provide pre-approved movement up various salary grids based on education, certification and experience.

The Certified Computing Professional (CCP) designation is recognized and approved by thousands of organizations. CCP holders know the industry better than their colleagues, they work in teams better and perform their job better with greater confidence. This all leads to higher productivity.

Confidence comes from knowing that you have the knowledge and skills, which match with the best in the industry. Individuals are more professional, follow more structure in their work, and act in a more professional manner. One manner in which to distinguish yourself from amongst the crowd is to demonstrate your superior knowledge and skills by passing a thorough and objective test such as the ICCP examinations.

A significant number of people fail the ICCP examination. But all examination takers receive a detailed breakdown of their skills, strengths and weaknesses (gap analysis), which they then use as guide to plan their professional development program. These individuals fill the gaps with a sound on-the-job training program or at a local college, university or private training school. This update in skills, methods and knowledge then makes them a much better employee, who is likely to pass the ICCP examination on a retake.

How marketable am I with a CCP or an ACP?

Holding a CCP shows that you are current and wish to remain current, since there is a recertification requirement. However, the CCP is for life, much like getting a B.Sc., M.Sc. or Ph.D. and differs from the vendor certifications where different versions of the software/hardware invalidate your hard earned credential.

Additional credentials improve your marketability, significantly. By achieving a CCP credential you are recognized as holding an equivalent professional status to that held by a Professional Engineer, Doctor or Accountant. In choosing to get the CCP you also show that you can take initiative and manage your own career, and this is a trait that many employers look for in interviews and resume assessment.

Today, recruiters and hiring managers are looking beyond the alphabet soup of vendor credentials and want to know they are hiring experienced, knowledgeable and initiative driven people, who compare well to the best the industry has ever developed. A CCP credential raises your resume a great deal higher than the best vendor credential and right onto the "interview" pile.

If a company doesn't select you first, amongst its applicants to interview, then as a professional you should feel good about not getting an interview with that company, since they are oblivious to the real talent in the I.T. industry.

Who really benefits from certification programs: Company, me or someone else?

Everybody benefits in a significant manner. The Company benefits because as a holder you have an external code of ethics, code of conduct and code of practice to conform to. The public benefits since they can easily recognize a professional who adheres to national and international standards and can be counted on to protect the public good. The individual benefits from receiving acceptance by the highest rank of professionals in our industry, by gaining confidence that their knowledge and skills is second to none, by getting a detailed assessment of strengths and weaknesses, so that future professional development can occur in a rational manner to improve the overall knowledge and skill set.

To employers, certification serves as independent evidence that you have demonstrated the skills and abilities required to pass an examination set at an international standard. It also offers a method for bringing employees up to speed on the most standard approaches, as well as a way to provide for the continuing education computer people often crave, this in turns keeps them motivated to stay at the company. Certification training can reasonably be billed as an employee benefit. Research has also shown that certified employees are more satisfied and more productive than their non-certified counterparts. (courtesy of www.gocertify.com)

If I don't have the experience can I pass the ICCP examinations?

It is very difficult to pass the ICCP examinations at the professional level (70% or more) without practical experience. The test items are developed by a highly divergent and broadly experienced group of authors, professors, practitioners and high performers on the ICCP examinations.

Test items are classified according to 6 levels of difficulty, which match Bloom's Taxonomy of learning objective quite closely. Without experience, most new entrants into the I.T. field pass between 50-69%. Various experienced individuals sometimes perform not quite as well as they expected. This is generally due to their narrowly focused experiences in industry. Study programs and review courses are critical to assisting them to get prepared to take the examinations.

The ICCP tests allows individuals and human resources personnel to figure out which areas of knowledge and skill need improvement. So in that sense the ICCP examinations can be used to perform a gap analysis for individuals. That is, the gap between what the job requires and the skills those individuals possess, so that a sound professional development program can be created for that individual. This is particularly useful for human resource departments.

If I get certified, will that help me move into another career or job?

Getting certified will ensure that you receive more opportunities to move into another career or job. The certification provides evidence of your new capabilities and the professional nature of your knowledge. This will distinguish you from the crowd and raise your resume above others in the pile.

Companies often do not want to pay for certification if that individual is looking to move to another company. If you are looking for promotion or another career within your organization, one way is for you to prove that you are serious about your profession, and are prepared to study and work hard, is to test yourself through attaining the CCP designation. Companies often reward this kind of behaviour and pay for your training, professional development and testing.

What certification program should I take or which one is best for me?

This is dependant on what career goals you have in mind. If you intend to be a systems analyst, I.T. supervisor, senior consultant, I.T. Manager, Chief Information Officer, IT Architecture, Database Administrator, Datawarehousing and Business Intellingence leader, etc., then you need the highest standard professional designation: CCP-Global: Certified Computing Professional or Information Systems Professional (I.S.P.-Canada); Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP-Global) or the Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP-Global), all equivalent due to consistency of a centralized body of knowledge and examinations from the ICCP.

If on the other hand, you want to be a CISCO specialist, a Novell Network Administrator, a Microsoft Specialist, etc., in other words, a product specialist with a particular version of software or equipment, then it is best to achieve these short term goal driven vendor certifications.

If you are looking for a long-term career goal in I.T., then the CCP, I.S.P., CDMP or CBIP are the professional standards that many covet and only the best achieve.

You could just pick a certification based on a gut feeling, but if you want to be certain of the best match, it's going to take a bit of homework. First, you'll have to identify just what it is you're trying to accomplish, which can be more difficult than it sounds. It's like deciding what to major in at college, but at least this time you'll have the advantages of perspective and experience, which will allow you to visualize the options more clearly.

Second, once you've managed that, you'll have to pin down the details of your current skills and experience and see where the bridge needs to be built, or maybe just the foundations strengthened, to get where you'd like to be. These two steps come easily to some people, but take quite a bit of thought for others. Completing just these steps will put you halfway there.

Next comes the research part. Because there are more than 600 certifications to choose from, and more are being added all the time, you'll want to browse through the options until you identify the ones that might suit your purposes. Don't stop when you uncover the first possible program because there may be several that make the first cut. Then you'll want to find out as much as you can about the certifications on your tentative list before settling on one or a group.

Again, this process will cost you some time and effort, but putting in the work up front will be time and effort well spent if it lands you in the right certification program. (courtesy of www.gocertify.com)

If I already have a vendor certification can I get credit towards the CCP or ACP?

No.

How much will getting certified cost me?

Typically a person should budget a minimum of $1,200 which includes 3 exams and a selection of study materials.

  • For the CCP, the normal cost is $285 x 3 examinations = $855
  • For the ACP, which requires 2 examinations, the minimum cost is $285 (ISCore) + $175 (language) = $460 or $285 (ISCore) + one Specialty = $570.

If training is required before taking the examinations:

  • Training cost at a University or college or private institution will vary: from $595 up to $2,500. From a two-day course, to a five-day course, up to a full 4 month semester course running one 3 hour evening per week.
  • The ICCP offers a number of 12 week tutor-led online courses: Information Systems Core; Systems Development; Data Management; Data Warehousing; Data & Information Quality; Business Intelligence & Data Analytics. These online courses can also be purchased as self study modules.
    Visit the ICCP training page for more detail.

Do I need a college degree to get certified?

No, but you would get additional credits with a degree, which would reduce your work experience requirement.

In fact the ICCP examinations count towards your degree credentials since all of the examinations carry credits towards university degrees (as approved by the American Council on Education: ACE).

One of our business partners, Excelsior College (www.excelsior.edu), uses the ICCP examinations as criteria to award computing and Information Systems degrees.

If I already have a degree such as a Bachelor, Master or Ph.D., will certification be useful for me?

An increasing number of I.T. professionals have advanced degrees (Master's level and beyond), and use the CCP credential in their professional life as a second business and industry qualification to make themselves more attractive to industry and consulting opportunities.

Holding a M.Sc., or Ph.D., doesn't mean that you will pass the CCP examinations at the professional level, since the tests require substantial practical experience.

Many (out of subject) professors teaching computing are required by their college to attain the ICCP professional credential as part of their full requirement to continue teaching.

Colleges and Universities requiring re-accreditation of their program by ACBSP (www.acbsp.org) must ensure that their faculty are fully qualified to teach the degree's subject matter and endorse the CCP as the additional qualifying criteria for all of the faculty in these programs.

Once I start my certification program, how long will it take to complete?

Most people complete the certification program within 2 years. You are allowed up to 3 years to take all of the examinations (except for the CBIP designation which requires exams to be completed in 1 year). This allows an individual the time to take training and educational programs, which will assist in her/him in passing the examinations.

Make sure you take the examinations initially to see if you can pass them, with some preparation, and if you don't pass the first time, you will get a good idea from the ICCP performance profile, of where to put your training dollars.

If I don't stay current with my certification, how can I get re-certified?

From time to time many holders get promoted and their new job role is different from the time that they certified.

There are many ways in which to become re-certified. One is to continue your professional development via a variety of ways: courses, reading, vendor training, creating new examination questions, developing new courses for teaching, etc.

Finally, if you haven't kept everything up to date and haven't submitted the recertification credits, you can always retake the examinations, since the testing subject matter is continually updated by the certification council and you would be taking a new current knowledge examination.

Can anybody anywhere else in the world take this certification program?

Anybody, anywhere in the world can access and take the ICCP certification programs.

Please contact us if you need help in accessing a training program or a test location by contacting us.

What kind of immigration and mobility opportunities exist if I have a CCP?

We have established mutual recognition agreements between Canada and the USA for the two specific certifications: CCP and I.S.P. In other countries we rely on reciprocal agreements with our constituent and affiliate organizations. For example CIPS has reciprocal agreements with the British, Australian and New Zealand Computing Societies.

For people wishing access to the USA market, we provide an assessment service which is used by the immigration department and various lawyers to assess the professional status of immigrants, especially for 01-VISA applicants.

So you can speed up that process by taking the ICCP examinations first and providing the external validation of your professional status before making an application for an appropriate VISA.

ICCP is also working with the Canadian Information Processing Society and the Canadian Government to provide testing for individuals wishing to enter Canada as IS/IT professionals.

End FAQ

 

| Certification | Training | Testing |

Training

Where can I go to get Certification training?

ICCP runs 2-3 day examination-review courses on-site for companies and for groups of individuals who may desire such a course. Costs for these courses include course fees plus travel in addition to examination fees.

You local university or college is being encouraged to put on a training course. If enough of you call the continuing education division/faculty of extension with your requests and let them know that the ICCP will help/partner with them develop and deliver a standard course, we would be happy to do that, including providing the instructor, course outline and relevant training materials.

We provide a number of review courses around North America, and these are done in concert with our partners: The Association of Information Technology Professionals (www.aitp.org), The Canadian Information Processing Society (www.cips.ca), DAMA the Data Management Association (www.dama.org), The Data Warehousing Institute (www.tdwi.org) and various regional and local professional groups.

In addition online courses are available. We are also partnered with the SOX Institute (www.soxinstitute.org ) and Business Process Management Institute (www.bpmi.com) and the Services Oriented Archecture Institute (www.soai.com) who provide seminars and conferences to a global audience.

Where can I buy study materials on certification?

You can purchase a number of different sets of learning materials. We have specified independent textbooks for the various examinations. Most of these can be purchased from the publishers or online bookstores such as amazon.com.

The ICCP's Complete Guide to Professional Computing is the best textbook, which can be used to prepare for the examinations or to help colleges and universities set up training programs. A new textbook called the ICCP's Study Guide for the Certified Business Intelligence Professional is being prepared.

Are there any conferences or other events that I can attend to get my certification?

The AITP, CIPS, DAMA and TDWI conferences have ICCP review courses at their annual and regional conferences: you can get this information from ICCP News.

And the ICCP is always willing to establish new review courses at various other conferences.

If you would like to see the ICCP conference at an event of your preference, please contact us, so that we can establish a review course for you.

The ICCP will also create a special course for any company or group of 4 or more people to be delivered in a two-day review session anywhere in North America or other parts of the world.

End FAQ

| Certification | Training | Testing |

Testing

What happens if I fail? I am worried about failing and others in the company, including my supervisor, finding out?

The ICCP office works with the examination taker, in a totally confidential manner. Each exam taker is provided a detailed printed analysis of performance including strengths and weaknesses, to their preferred or home address.

If you get 50% or more you qualify at the Associate (ACP) level and if you achieve 70% or more you qualify at the Professional (CCP) level. Regardless, you receive a detailed assessment, in written form for your own personal use.

The ICCP holds all your information in a highly confidential and secure manner. You may choose to receive your results at home or anywhere else you feel secure. The ICCP never reveals any information about any holder or exam taker, not even if they ever took an examination with us, unless she/he approves the release, first.

Even if the employer is paying for you to take the examinations, we insist on receiving a signed release from the examination taker before considering the release. Even then our preference is to mail all information to the holder and she/he can share it with whomever they please.

Where can I go to get tested?

You can get yourself tested at almost any location at work, or university or community college, or training location in the world. All you have to do is to provide The Office in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA the name of an acceptable, reliable college, university, community college or ICCP Certified Professional who can act as your test proctor. ICCP will contact this person and verify if she/he is acceptable to the ICCP and then arrange to transmit the test to that person at a specific time and place, including appropriate procedures to administer that test.

The ICCP recommends selecting any person from the following list: A university professor, a person from your Human Resources or Training department, a CCP, CBIP, or CDMP holder, a doctor, lawyer, accountant, professional engineer, or other similarly attributed person.

This is a similar list to those people who may attest your official documents for your passport.

Tests can be administered via computer, over the Internet, or via a paper and pencil format. The preference is to provide testing using computer based assessment, so you may know your unofficial mark at the end of each test. A formal verified and validated paper communication from the ICCP office confirms the informal/unofficial mark that you received at the end of each test.

If you have difficulty finding a suitable location and time for a proctor, contact the office we can now conduct proctored remote testing with ID verification. You will need fast internet access, a web camera and open internet access to facilitate a webconference using a Java driven process.

End FAQ