He may still be a student, but when it comes to certifications, Dominic Eldridge is a real pro. To date, he has taken and passed tests to earn nine professional IT certifications:
- CCNA R /S (Cisco Certified Networking Associate Routing and Switching)
- CCNA Security (Cisco Certified Networking Associate Cisco IOS Security)
- MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate Server Infrastructure)
- MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Server Infrastructure)
- MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist System Center Configuration Manager)
- Suse Linux Administrator
- LPIC (Linux Professional Institute Certified Linux Administrator)
[Tweet ““There are graduates out there who are well into their careers who do not have half the certifications that Dominic has earned.””]
“There are graduates out there who are well into their careers who do not have half the certifications that Dominic has earned,” says Jeremy D. Johnson, Richmond/Moorefield Campus Director of Career Services.
Clearly, what Dominic has accomplished is way beyond the norm. So, what’s motivating him to relentlessly pursue one certification after another? Chances are that it’s not what one might think. No, he’s not a chronic overachiever. He just stumbled onto something that seems to make his life a bit easier.
Last year, he needed a job to help make ends meet but wanted to do something that would also benefit him professionally. So, he went to Jeremy Johnson who helped him find a temporary position doing IT work for a local company.
“I was really struggling at first so I decided that I would go to our campus library and check out the A+ Certification book and try to figure some things out,” says Dominic. He figured it out, all right. He became so comfortable with the material that he sat for the exam and passed. He soon became one of the company’s “go-to” techs.
That experience got him to thinking: Why not try another certification? So, he went back to the library, got another book, read it, then took and passed the test. It became a habit and Dominic says it has really helped him in the classroom. And for those who think what he’s accomplished is only for “super students,” he’s quick to dispel that notion. “Anybody can do what I have done,” he says. “I think a lot of people are worried about failing the test. That’s a waste of mental energy. It’s no big deal if you fail. I’ve failed five different times on these tests. You just go back and figure out what you did wrong and take it again.”[Tweet ““I think a lot of people are worried about failing the test. That’s a waste of mental energy.””]
Applicants with certifications are highly-valued by most employers. Just ask Michael Pfaff. He’s Director of Information Technology at NDSE (Network Data Security Experts).
“Having certifications allows you to provide that ‘up-front’ proof to clients or employers that you have the dedication, education, and interest in expanding your technical skills,” says Pfaff. “To put it into perspective, if you were an employer and you had two prospective candidates for a position, one of which was not certified in any capacity and the other was MSCE, CCNA and/or Security + certified, who would you look to bring on board? And from an employee perspective, certifications offer you an opportunity for higher starting pay.”
Dominic’s beefed-up resume is already paying big dividends. Just weeks before completing his studies, GE offered him a position as a network security analyst.