When Leonard Waker logged into CompTIA’s certification site to find out what it would take to pursue the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification, he found that he would first have to give his existing CompTIA certifications a tune-up. He had earned CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ and had begun working toward CompTIA Security+, but he quickly found that his existing certs were on the verge of expiring.
In 2008 Waker – a Navy veteran – attended New Horizons training center and quickly earned his first two CompTIA certifications. Since then he's been working in the industry and working his way up. He began as a government contractor then moved into a support role at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers two years ago. He went quickly from an entry-level role to doing more in-depth network management, and it had been smooth sailing in his professional life ever since. News that his certifications were about to expire was a small, but rough, wave that rocked the boat.
Waker knew that if his certifications lapsed, getting back up to speed could cost him a lot of time and a lot of money. And beyond that, he knew that keeping those professional certs, and his knowledge, as up to date as possible was a professional best practice.
"I just want to always keep my certifications current," Waker said.
The deadline was looming. With only a few days left before his certifications lapsed, he contacted CompTIA and learned about CompTIA CertMaster CE. The quick and convenient tool lets certified IT pros prove that their skills are up-to-date and renew their certifications.
Waker was on the path to keeping his certifications current – and in using CompTIA CertMaster CE to do it, he learned some important new tech skills along the way.
CompTIA CertMaster CE: A Refresher and an Exam in One
Waker logged into CompTIA CertMaster CE to renew his most advanced certification – CompTIA Network+ – and was greeted with a series of webinar-style modules, each giving a brief, accessible training on the need-to-know basics of network management. Going through them, he encountered things that he knew well, things he hadn't seen in the workplace yet and things that he had seen cropping up and wondered about, but hadn't had any formal training on.
I went back to work and applied the stuff I learned in the [CompTIA CertMaster CE] modules. It helps out a lot. It's good to have the knowledge, and the modules brought certain things to life.
At the end of each webinar, he had the opportunity to prove that he understood what had changed since he last certified. He took a quick exam after each section, and upon passing them, he renewed his certification.
Within a week of becoming recertified, Waker was promoted to a new position. And while his new responsibilities are more on the business end of IT than infrastructure management, he's already finding ways to apply what he learned from CompTIA CertMaster CE to make operations more efficient.
Updated Certs, Upgraded Skills
The phones were ringing off the hook as Waker deftly handled the demands of his busy new schedule. Within the past few weeks he'd been promoted to program information and records specialist. In his new role, he researches, bids on and manages computer equipment contracts, sometimes valued in the millions and tens of millions of dollars. Ordering tablets, computers, servers, printers and the like, he makes sure his department headquarters gets the technology it needs at the best price.
Despite being less directly involved with managing the network, he's already used what he’s learned from CompTIA CertMaster CE. He has identified problems that hadn't previously been on his radar and used his newfound tech knowledge to give the IT staff an informed account of what exactly was going wrong so they could fix it right away.
"I went back to work and applied the stuff I learned in the [CompTIA CertMaster CE] modules," Waker said. "It helps out a lot. It's good to have the knowledge, and the modules brought certain things to life. I'm jumping ahead of everybody to get things done so [the IT staff] won't have to put in a ticket."
And while he has pivoted away from the hands-on management of the IT infrastructure for the moment, his new role certainly hasn't diminished his desire to keep building his IT knowledge.
Working in government roles since he got his start in IT, Waker has seen the critical necessity of good, certified, high-level cybersecurity professionals to keep the nation's IT infrastructure safe. He's still studying for CompTIA Security+ and thinking about the CASP down the line after that.
"I didn't want to stop at A+ because that's the bare minimum," Waker said. "I got Network+ and I'm comfortable with that and then Security+ is out of this world. And if I get CASP, the sky's the limit."
And thanks to CompTIA CertMaster CE, the certifications Waker already has – and the knowledge they confirm – will stay up to date in the meantime.
Are your certs up for renewal? Check out CompTIA CertMaster CE to see what it can do for you!
Matthew Stern is a freelance writer based in Chicago who covers information technology, retail and various other topics and industries.