Technical certification, having expertise vs. using expertise

Technical certifications at IT and telecommunications companies offer an established path for certified individuals to build advanced skills and command salary premiums. Recently, Tim Roberts, an engineer and network operations supervisor based out of Virginia, shared his experience failing and then excelling on Cisco’s CCNP advanced certification exam. His certification program required intense study and four, instructor-led courses followed by a rigorous exam that included theory and practical, lab-based simulation questions.

The first time Tim took the exam, he studied his coursework and used an exam simulator of hundreds of questions for practice. The test was not what he expected.  Instead of questions, the exam was in the form of case records that needed troubleshooting. Tim failed and was out a few hundred dollars in fees.

Afterwards, Tim took a KT workshop that focused on Problem Solving & Decision Making in a tech environment. He then prepared to retake the test, studying the same materials in the same way. This time, Tim was able to separate and clarify the concerns, properly identify the problem using the KT format object/deviation (problem statement) and to complete a problem spec solving all of the tickets. Using the KT processes and methodologies along with technical expertise, Tim was able to cut through the clutter that was in the case description and to categorize and resolve all of the issues presented. He aced the exam with an almost perfect score.

“I was worried after I failed that I needed more on-job experience,” comments Tim. “But when I started thinking about it, it was how I approached problems that was weak. KT helped me close the gap between what I had learned, and how I could apply it.”

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