A Look at Web Certifications

I recently became curious about web certifications. What kinds are available and how much did they cost? I found three candidates online and the following compares w3cSchools.com, WebProfessionals.org and CIWCertifies.com certification information and process.

Before we get started it’s worth noting that my initial search started with taking a look at Comptia’s Server+ and Network+  exam overviews. While both seem to cover a great deal of information, they both are geared towards mainly the hardware and connectivity issues rather than a focus on web, which was the goal for my searching. I then went over to Global Knowledge and took a look at their Cloud Computing Essentials course, which does cover some very key and relevant concepts for those interested in migrating to a cloud environment, but there is no certification offered and it’s far from complete or specialized.

Google was my real guide in this search and resulted in me finding www.w3schools.com, which should not be confused with w3c.org. The site looked promising as they had many tutorials and if you’re at all interested in learning the basics of web coding it’s a decent place to start. However, I stuck out my tongue when I saw their information saying to use <b> for bolding text. For those that arent’ aware you should be using <strong>, yes it’s more typing, but it lets readers know that there should be a strong emphasis on the word. The same idea applies to their information on using <i> instead of <em>. Also, because this is a pet peeve of mine, if you really just want to style text without applying any meaning to why it’s styled then why not just use some CSS?

I next came across webprofessionals.org which offered numerous courses on specific topics but a few things rubbed me the wrong way on each. The site has a weird setup for their exams. You pay them $95 via Authorize.net and then they’ll contact you within 48 hours to tell you where to go to take the exam. Um, no thanks. I don’t want to pay almost one hundred bucks and then find out that the nearest test is two states away. I’m sure they have places that are local to me, but I’m not someone who is going to pay for something unless I know what and where I’m getting it. Also, you can’t select what course you’re paying for and the description lists several exams, but not all of them, so does the price include the Professional Web Master Certification or not? If not, how do I buy that one? Their site information needs to be a lot better here, it feels too much like a scam.

Finally I came to www.ciwcertified.com which was the most promising of the purely web certification companies. However, their gimmick seems to be the selling of Certification Pathways. So you’ll end up taking at least two courses to get a basic certification from them. I don’t really have an issue with this, but then I took a look at their Website Manager Pathway, which consisted of having to take their Foundations (makes sense), Site Designer (good), Server Administrator (sure), Javascript Fundamentals (ok) and Perl Fundamentals. The last course through me for a loop. While chances are you’ll use Javascript at some point on any website you work on, Perl is a bit more specialized. If it were up to me I’d want to substitute a PHP course in place of Perl as it’s much more common, but there doesn’t seem to be an option for this available. Even an ASP course substituted in here would seem to make more sense than Perl as a mandatory course for certification, but neither PHP or ASP is a language course offered. It’s worth noting that the Master Website Certification is being retired this month from CIW, so we’ll see what is offered next month.

While CIW is probably the most promising looking one out of the three, I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t recommend any of these certification courses or companies. I wouldn’t waste my time and money on them and I don’t think any web person should either. At least not until they revamp them to cover information that is more useful and relevant to what web designers and developers actually work with.

If I were to create a web course pathway I’d want to start with web fundamentals, which would cover concepts for hardware, software and cloud. The next series would include HTML, CSS and Javascript courses which, along with at least one other specialized course, would complete a basic “web design certification”. Specialized courses would be covering CMS’s, accessibility and security. You’d have to choose at least one of those three, but this way it’d be relevant to what you specialize in doing.

This path would then be followed by a course covering a LAMP setup and install, with optional courses for more in depth learning of Linux, Apache, MYSQL and PHP. Alternative Windows, ASP and .NET courses could be available as well. This would complete a more advanced “web manager certification”.

Unfortunately I don’t see anything that exists like this online or off. If anyone would be interested in contacting me to work on setting something like this up for students and professionals I’d love to help out. Until then, save your money or spend it on something else.

One thought on “A Look at Web Certifications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *