The IT Certification Resource Center

Featured Deal

Get CompTIA, Cisco, or Microsoft training courses free for a week.
Learn More ❯

Novell's 2000 Master CNE of the Year is a Multi-Certified Wonder

It all started with a computer technician job in 1992. Now, he's CEO of his own company...and a strong proponent of the IT certifications that helped him achieve his goals.

When Paul Anderson accepted a computer shop repair job in 1992, he had resigned himself to never earning "the big money". That was before Anderson's employer suggested that he take the Netware CNE self-study course that the employer had just purchased.

Eight years later, Anderson not only exceeded whatever modest financial goals he had, he became Novell's Master CNE of the Year, CEO of Novacoast, a California-based systems integration company, and holder of no fewer than twenty-seven certifications.

Paul Anderson loves preparing for certifications the way Mark McGwire loves low fastballs. He completed his first CNE in seven months and then followed that with another nine months later. Beginning in 1998, he picked up the pace dramatically, earning fourteen certifications in three years. He is currently studying for three additional certifications.

Novell is not Anderson's only specialty. He holds certifications with Microsoft, Bay, Cisco, HP and Callware, and he is A+ certified. His emphasis, however, is Novell, with twenty certifications.

Anderson uses a relatively unorthodox preparation method, rejecting preparation classes and online prep tests as too easy. "Classes teach you how to pass tests but not how to install and support products. We are in the business of implementing solutions, NOT passing tests," he says. "There is no substitute for getting your hands dirty and working with the hardware."

Anderson also swears by vendor-authorized study materials, rejecting third party publications. "Go straight to the source," he maintains.

His preparation is straightforward. First, read the prep materials published by the corporation that is the focus of the certification. Then, work with whatever hardware is involved. Finally, thoroughly reread the prep materials because, and Anderson emphasizes this point, "you will discover many things you missed in the first run through the material." When he has failed exams, Anderson pinned the blame on spending too much time on the prep material and not enough on the practical side.