It's a great feeling to take a certification exam, get a passing score, and receive your official documentation, whether paper-and-ink (as has been the tradition for decades) or digital (as is fast becoming the new norm). Getting a certification is no small accomplishment, and anyone who completes the long process should feel justifiably proud of their efforts.
Before the elation of completing a certification, however, there's a long and often arduous process of preparation. In order to approach the exam with confidence, it's essential to master the IT concepts, processes, principles, and practices that any candidate is tested on. A well-prepared exam candidate is one who makes a study plan, and then puts in the time required to become comfortably fluent in the desired credential's body of knowledge.
IT professionals who are accustomed to certification and have earned several credentials typically settle into a preparation approach that works well for them. They use familiar means in familiar ways to master new material, or get up to speed on the latest developments in the tech realms where they already work.
For those who are new to the process of IT certification, however, the sheer volume of tools available to help you learn and master exam material can seem daunting. A common approach for many is computer-based study and training courses like the ones offered by TestOut Continuing Education. You can study anywhere that computer access and internet availability will allow, and progress through the course at your own pace.
There are many other methods available, however, including books and study guides, classes led by certified instructors, boot camps, practice exams, college courses, and even the double-duty approach of learning while carrying out the day-to-day responsibilities of a full- or part-time IT job or apprenticeship. It's a lot to take in, and those new to certification could be forgiven for struggling to know how to proceed.
On the other hand, what if you could a whole bunch of certified professionals which study methods are most effective? Certification Magazine did ask that, in their annual Salary Survey, and a recent article at CertMag.com reveals their findings. If you're struggling to grasp which methods might be effective for you, this is a good place to start.