Technology 101

Why Certification Is Important

Think of certification as an official stamp of approval on your training and skills — one that can be very appealing to employers. Certification involves a formal testing process to make certain that an individual is qualified with particular knowledge or skills. Most employers prefer job candidates with industry-standard certifications, and some even require their employees to be certified. The facts speak for themselves:

  • Eighty-six percent of hiring managers indicate IT certifications are a high or medium priority during the candidate evaluation process. (CompTIA®, Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification, January 2011)
  • Eight in ten HR execs verify certifications among job candidates. (CompTIA, Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification, January 2011)
  • Ninety-one percent of hiring managers consider certification as part of their hiring criteria. (Microsoft®, Microsoft Certification Program Satisfaction Study, April 2012)
  • Sixty-four percent of IT hiring managers rate certifications as having extremely high or high value in validating the skills and expertise of job candidates. (CompTIA, Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification, January 2011)
  • Certification, training, and experience are three of the top four most important characteristics when selecting a candidate for a cloud-related position. (IDC/Microsoft, Climate Change: Cloud's Impact on IT Organizations and Staffing, November 2012)

After you’ve successfully graduated from a Westwood program, you should be prepared for certification exams from CompTIA that cover the specific tasks and knowledge required for many IT jobs. Depending on your area of focus, you may also be prepared for specific Cisco Certified Network Professional exams, Microsoft® exams and VMware® exams.

Cisco Certification

Cisco Systems, Inc. is one of the world’s leading technology corporations that designs and sells consumer electronics, networking, voice and communications technology and services. Westwood College’s relationship with Cisco Systems, Inc. spans more than a decade.

All Westwood College physical locations are Cisco Networking Academies (Westwood College - Online is not included). The Cisco Networking Academy® program provides the resources necessary for Westwood students to develop practical skills that will help them earn Cisco certification exams and improve their career prospects.

Cisco offers five levels of certification: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert and Architect. Within these levels there are a variety of tracks including Routing and Switching, Network Security and Service Provider, Voice and Wireless, along with many others.

Many of Westwood College’s information technology programs help students prepare for Cisco professional certifications. These include Information Technology: Associate of Occupational Studies Degree, Information and Network Technologies, Information and Network Technologies: Major in Network Management, Information and Network Technologies: Major in Systems Security and Information and Network Technologies: Major in Cisco Network Systems — each providing the building blocks of success in this important sector.

Westwood College also hosts and pays for a Cisco Certified Network Associate® (CCNA) Exam Review Session and the CCNA exam fee for eligible Information and Network Technologies majors. For more information on eligibility, click here.

Microsoft Certification

Microsoft specializes in developing software, services and solutions for consumers and businesses. Today Microsoft focuses on five product divisions: Windows Division, Server and Tools, Online Services Division, Microsoft Business Division, and Entertainment and Devices Division.

A Microsoft certification is an industry standard that is recognized worldwide and can help open doors to potential job opportunities. When you pass a Microsoft certification exam, you become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) community with access to all of the benefits provided through the Microsoft Certification Program.

Microsoft offers four certifications Microsoft: Certified Solutions Associate® (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert® (MCSE), Certified Solutions Developer® (MCSD), and Microsoft Certified Solutions Master® (MCSM).

Students who select the Microsoft Systems Administration emphasis will graduate prepared to earn their Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification, which validates the ability to design and implement server networks in an office environment. This certificate is also the prerequisite for the MCSE Desktop Infrastructure certification, which validates the skills to help companies support the work styles of the modern marketplace without sacrificing corporate security. The certification also validates your skills in desktop virtualization, remote desktop services, and application virtualization.

Westwood College is a Microsoft® IT Academy Program Member, which makes an extensive collection of online learning materials available to Westwood students.

VMware Certification

VMware Certification VMware is a global leader providing cloud and virtualization software and services. Westwood College is a VMware IT Academy Program member and introduces students to VMware technologies and equips them with technical skills needed to help launch a career supporting virtual environments.

VMware certification signals to employers that students are trained and pass standards set to effectively design, operate and evolve a cloud environment.

VMware offers 22 certifications within four areas of emphasis: Cloud, Data Center Virtualization, End User Computing and Cloud Application Platform.

Westwood students who select the virtualization emphasis in the Information Technology associate degree will graduate prepared to earn two valuable VMware certifications. The VMware Certified Professional-Desktop certification showcases the ability to install and configure the VMware View environment and enable View Client users. The VMware Certified Professional Data Center certification confirms that an individual can successfully install, deploy, scale and manage VMware vSphere environments.

Westwood prepares graduates for certification. Graduates wishing to attain certification must take and pass any applicable test/exams.