Putting a guarantee into certification.
Retail items can often be returned, but if you forget what you learned in class, they’ll laugh you right out of the admissions office if you request your money back. Brian Gens, founder of Boston-based CertiViable, isn’t laughing. Tired of watching students who couldn’t get certified, he created a course that’s guaranteed to work, or the company will pay. Gens chats about education, the economy, and turning away MCSE seekers.
Why did you decide to start the company?
It was founded out of frustration. I was a regional vice president for a national chain of network certification test preparation centers and Boston was part of my region.
It struck me that there were quite a few individuals who were enrolling in our Boston facility who had previously paid thousands of dollars for IT certification training programs that just couldn’t provide what they needed to get certified. So I started one that could.
The company was founded in July 2001; what was it like to start a company during such a volatile time in the tech economy?
The first two months as a new company was definitely a honeymoon period. However, I feel the hardest part about starting a company in any economy is garnering name recognition.
It takes time to establish credibility as a quality facility, especially, in the “Education Capital of the World”. We have always held firm to the belief that technology itself is not influenced by the economy, it is ever changing. The need for qualified certified professionals may have its ups and downs, but there will always be a need.
How exactly is your certification program guaranteed?
We guarantee that anyone entering our program will leave completely certified by the vendor. Not by CertiViable, but by CompTIA, Microsoft, Novell, Cisco, etc.
If someone follows our recommended study process and goes through an examination barrier then we promise in writing that that person will take and pass their exam the first time. If they do not, we provide a tutorial to cover their gray areas, put them through another barrier, issue another guarantee and pay for the next examination.
What future training trends do you see?
This market is on the verge of requiring multiple certifications of IT professionals. Employers want to have someone available to deal with multiple problems on multiple systems.
In terms of training areas, we see information security certification as one of our hottest future projects. We also feel that Linux is on the verge of a major break-through in the corporate market, especially because of its backing by IBM.
What kind of advice do you give students who are unsure of what certification to go after?
When we meet with a potential candidate we really take the time to evaluate where they are coming from, what their background is and why they want to be certified. We seem to get a large number of people who are making career changes who want to jump right into an upper level certification like MCSE or CCNA, without a proper background or a work history in IT.
My recommendation is always going to be the same: start at the beginning. Get A+ certified and Network+ certified and then move into a more advanced certification.
I will not enroll someone into an MCSE program, without viable résumé-worthy skills that can show experience in IT. No matter how much you know as a hobbyist, hiring managers are not interested in what kind of network you have set up in your home. They want to know what kind of network you have set up at your workplace.
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