Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.
Most people like to have options. Whether it's dining out, purchasing a home, or even treating a medical condition, we rarely encounter a non-emergency situation where everyone agrees that one particular item or course of action or method of getting something done is the best choice.
This is especially true of learning and skills development. There are many different ways to take in new information and make it your own, and individuals tend to have personal preferences or proclivities. A key element of learning is figuring out what works for you, while also understanding that your own best approach may differ from that of peers or colleagues.
Certification is an ongoing pursuit, of course, so you aren't likely to enter the IT industry, whatever your specialization, with every cert you'll ever need already in hand. For our recent Web Design and Development Certification Survey, we asked certified web professionals how they get the best results.
Survey respondents rated the effectiveness, per their most recent certification experience, of various certification study materials. As always, those surveyed had the option to mark Does Not Apply for study approaches that are foreign to their experience. Here's what we learned:
One of the first things that we noticed is that certified web design and development professionals are apparently a highly good-natured bunch. Almost no survey respondents gave out "Poor" ratings, with just online lists/forums and the always dubious brain dumps getting a dismissive wave of the hand.
Many certified IT professionals take a "lone wolf" approach to training, and that trend is certainly borne out here. The two training options rated most highly by a fairly wide margin are books and product documentation, both of which are entirely reliant on the self-motivation of the learner, but also don't require any sort of interaction with others.
The workplace is a key arena of learning for many, as demonstrated by the fact that a third of survey participants have furthered their certification efforts through on-the-job-training. If you know enough to get a job in IT, then you can do work, get paid, and enrich your skill set all at the same time. Other strong options include instructor-led training and practice exams.
We've already noted that very few options were rated poorly. You have to actually try something in order to rate its effectiveness, of course, but it's clear that many certified professionals didn't even contemplate going down certain roads (or at least didn't contemplate it for long):
Online learning, community college courses, boot camps and online mailing lists/forums are apparently beneath the notice of many certified web design and development professionals looking to study up for a certification.