Jason Ward has worked in IT his entire adult life, having earned his first CompTIA certification – CompTIA A+ – in 2004. But in the 11 years since that certification, a lot has changed in the IT world. So when he returned to earn his CompTIA Security+ certification in May 2015, the network engineer did so with help from perhaps the biggest of these new developments – CompTIA CertMaster.
“I played a hunch on it,” said Ward of his decision to try CertMaster. It had been so long since his last CompTIA certification that he had forgotten how to even register. While researching certifications with the help of his wife, he discovered a new tool to help candidates study for exams. After crunching the numbers in his head, Ward decided that buying CertMaster was a worthwhile value compared to more traditional study methods. So he downloaded the app to his iPhone and was ready to go.
It wasn’t until a day out shopping for clothes with his wife that Jason started using CertMaster. He opened his first course in the checkout line. By the time they got home, he had finished two modules. The flexibility of the mobile app was what Jason needed most from CertMaster. It allowed him to tend to his demanding job while keeping an eye on the future.
“I would log in, put my head down and work on CertMaster in the five or ten minutes between calls,” he said.
Jason loved CertMaster’s repetition-based approach to developing a confident and firm knowledge base of course materials. Users must correctly answer questions with full confidence twice before they are considered to have learned the material. He found this system preferable to the inflexibility of books or instructor-led courses that are often subject to human biases and error.
“I wish I had something like this in college,” Jason said. To this day he can’t find anything comparable to CertMaster’s Swiss army knife of study tools. He considers it a must-have for anybody considering a career in the IT industry and wonders how he was able to make it so long without it.
The confidence and comprehensive course material CertMaster provided during his errands, work hours and designated study sessions were all Jason needed. On the day of the CompTIA Security+ exam, Jason strolled in and passed in his first attempt. The experience made him as proud as his first certification success.
“When I passed it felt so rewarding because I put so much work into it,” he said. “Nobody gave me the answers. I did it on my own.” Jason is putting his recently earned certification to work, bolstering his own career while also assembling his own teams and playing more of a leadership role.
Now, with over a decade of experience at a CompTIA-certified professional, he cannot imagine an IT industry anymore where certification isn’t a prerequisite for success. Though he still values more traditional formal education, the extra work that goes into certification is what sets candidates apart from the rest in his mind.
“People want to see you go the extra mile and that you put some effort into it,” said Jason.
Ward’s CompTIA journey isn’t done. He plans to enroll in the Continuing Education Program to ensure that his knowledge continues to evolve with the industry. And during that three-year renewal process, Jason promises to make CertMaster a cornerstone of his training. Whatever professional challenges come up over the next ten years, Jason looks forward to having CertMaster in his pocket to help.