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Certification Zone's Newest Study Zone Prepares
Subscribers for Two Highly Desirable Certifications

Ever since CertificationZone.com went live in 1999, we have considered expansion of our coverage to certification programs other than Cisco's. We recently became aware of a certification program that really excites us. The Field Certified Professional program offers the Zone community of over 20,000 one of the most meaningful IT-related certification opportunities available. We'd like to find out if you agree.

On Friday, August 22, 2003, Certification Zone will post our first Study Guide addressing a technical topic found on the exam blueprints for the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, the Field Certified Systems Engineer, and Field Certified Systems Administrator certification programs for Windows 2000/2003/XP. We will be inviting all members of the Certification Zone user community to preview the Tutorial, Study Quiz, and Lab Exercise components of this Study Guide at no cost. The only thing we ask in return is that you complete a short questionnaire after you've finished your review of this new material.

Most networking professionals are very much aware of the popular Microsoft certification programs. The same cannot yet be said for the relatively new Field Certification Program.

On July 1, 2002, the Field Certified Professionals Association (FCPA), the creator and driving force of performance-based certifications, announced the introduction of the first six Field Certification exams. To become a Field Certified Professional you are required to prove by personal examination before a proctor-examiner your field abilities to administrate, manage, and troubleshoot complex computing environments.

The benefits of becoming a Field Certified Professional are (1) clearly differentiates you from hundreds of thousands of others who hold "paper certifications", (2) provides potential employers with a greater comfort level that one truly possesses the IT skills sought in new hires, (3) provides the holder with greater self-confidence in their skill base, (4) industry peer admiration and recognition, (5) in time it is hoped that it will provide increased job security, and (6) increased earning potential.

To become a Field Certified Professional all you need to do is pass a FCPA Field Exam. The FCP designation is also available to IT professionals who have successfully achieved other third-party performance-based certifications recognized by the FCPA. At present these include Cisco's CCIE, Novell's CDE and Red Hat's RHCE. Professionals who already hold any of these certifications can apply directly to FCPA to become an FCP under the association's Pre-Qualification Program.

How the FCPA Field Exams Work: In the FCPA Certification Exams, candidates will be presented with a partially broken system or network in a lab environment. The exam requires that you perform assigned tasks and bring the system or the network back to a working status within a certain amount of time. The exams are designed to test ability to plan, design, implement, test, monitor, optimize and troubleshoot the system or the network. Candidates are provided with most of the resources typically available in a work environment such as tools, books, reference materials and online resources. The candidate may be asked to decipher appropriate information to perform a task, as all provided information may not be needed. Candidates may also be confronted by situations in which it may not be possible to meet all the requirements. The exams are also designed to test the ability to perform tasks within time constraints. Successfully passing a performance-based exam enables utilization of the Field Certified Professional (FCP) credential. The FCPA and its sponsoring companies believe the FCP will become a highly prestigious certification, distinguishing the holders from the multitude of IT professionals who hold only paper-based certifications.

The FCPA Certifications are ranked by degree of difficulty from entry-level to advanced-expert. These certifications include the following:

Field Certified Systems Administrator (FCSA)
Skill Level: Intermediate
For individuals wishing to prove hands-on expertise as system administrators. The exams are generally vendor-neutral, although some will specialize in a particular vendor's products. The FCSA certification is obtained by following one of nine tracks: FCSA for Windows NT, Windows 2000/XP, NetWare 6 (CNA 6/FCP), NetWare 7 (CNA 7/FCP), Linux, Unix, Cisco (CCNA/FCP), Citrix, or FCSA Cross Platform.

Field Certified Systems Engineer (FCSE)
Skill Level: Advanced
For individuals wishing to prove hands-on expertise as system engineers. The exams are generally vendor-neutral, although some will specialize in a particular vendor's products. The FCSE certification can be obtained by following the FCSE for Windows 2000/XP track. It may also be granted to Cisco CCIEs who meet the requirements of the FCP Pre-Qualification Program.

Field Certified TCP/IP Expert (FCTCP)
Skill Level: Advanced
For individuals wishing to prove hands-on networking expertise for new and existing TCP/IP networks. This exam is vendor-neutral and focuses on multiple platforms including Microsoft, Novell, Unix, and Linux. The FCTCP certification is currently under development.

Other Field Certifications exist or are under development. See details at http://www.fieldcertification.org.

We are extremely excited to introduce in this week's Zone Newsletter, the Zone's plans to partner with IT Solutions Group of Saratoga, NY (of NTBootCamp fame) to offer the Zone's community of users a whole new line of information and study tools to help you pass Field Service Certifications and Microsoft Certifications for Windows 2000/2003 Networks.

Check back on Friday, August 22, 2003, to see our first FCSA / MCSA Study Guide and preview the Tutorial, Study Quiz, and Lab Exercise at no cost. Then complete the short questionnaire after you've finished your review to help let us know how to proceed with these certifications at CertificationZone.

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