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2003: The Year Ahead

What does 2003 hold for those seeking certification in IT and for those already entrenched in IT? I don't think that it's all bad. As I said at the outset, I am very positive and hopeful that IT Certification and Training will grow and expand in 2003. Because my crystal ball is out being serviced, I cannot promise that my prognostications will be dead-on. But based on what I have heard and observed, I think the following are worth paying attention to.


  • Novell will continue to grow and quietly make inroads back into the certification business. I doubt that Novell will return to the status it held in the mid-90s, but I think it will make a lot of so-called industry experts eat their words. I think the job market in 2003 will increasingly seek out those who hold the CNE and Novell's CDE.

  • Security certifications will continue to grow. I firmly believe that CompTIA's Security+ is the entryway of choice for those seeking security certifications. I also believe that the CISSP will grow in popularity and demand. Anyone who is anyone in security will need to have the CISSP to prove their worth. It is one heck of a certification.

  • Oracle certifications will quietly take a bigger percentage of the certification market. They have attracted a decent percentage of candidates who are interested in the database and application developer market in 2002. In 2003, that demand will only grow with Oracle 9i.

  • Like Oracle, Cisco certifications will continue to grow in popularity. The CCNA and CCNP will become the de facto standards for WAN professionals.

  • Many will continue to migrate to other desktop operating systems, making the world of Linux very popular. Microsoft will have to bend over backwards to regain its earlier status in the IT certification market. It is losing ground in certification and even in the desktop market. If Microsoft doesn't make nice with those in the IT community, others will gladly take its place.

  • The IT industry will begin to come back, and many who are now laid-off will be re-employed. Those who are re-employed will be those who are certified with some experience. Certification and experience are the keys to IT 2003.

  • There will be a continued migration toward eLearning opportunities and a continued decline in instructor-led training opportunities. Those that are tooled-up to provide the platforms needed for IT certification content will benefit the most. Products such as Authorware, Flash, and ColdFusion will be on the frontline in this next wave of cost-effective training. Those who are currently certified trainers will have an increasingly difficult time getting jobs, which will drive many trainers back into the market as system engineers, programmers, and institutional teachers.

Will everything in 2003 be good? No way. There will be some bad and ugly events also. But hopefully, the good will outweigh the bad and ugly, and many will continue to flourish in IT as certified professionals. That is my hope.

Okay. So, based on my look back at 2002 and my thoughts for 2003, what advice would I give to others in these days full of uncertainty in IT? The only way that I can answer that question is by telling you the advice I have given to myself. It is a four-fold response/strategy:

  • I will maintain my position in the Novell community.

  • I will quietly learn as much as I can about Oracle 9i. I am not sure whether I will pursue the certification, but I definitely want to obtain the skills necessary to function in an Oracle environment.

  • I plan on earning the CISSP. The CISSP is the only certification goal I have for the year because of its value in this era.

  • Finally, I want to continue advocating IT certification, in hopes that employers and brokers will again come to the realization that certified experienced professionals are more important than the bottom line.

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