Some changes at my work are driving me to renew and gain new CompTIA certificates. What is a bit odd about the system, however, is the “stack-able” feature. Now you can not only get certificates for completing various exams, you can now “stack” some of the certificates to get special combined certificates.

Overall it is nice to have extra fluff for the resume, but I can’t help but feeling like I’m playing Gunstar Heroes and that I’ve just combined the laser beam with the flame thrower.

In any event, by taking one test, I have not only gained a certification, but I also gained two more stack-able specialties. Added to the one I already received, I now have effectively “doubled” the amount of certificates I have, without actually doing anything extra. If this sounds odd, let me explain:

At my work, I was required to get the Linux+ and the Network+ certificates, which I did. When I renewed them a couple of months ago, I was given the new stack-able certification of “CompTIA Linux Network Professional”. I’m now a registered CLNP. However, I’m a CLNP because I have a Linux+ and a Network+. Both of which are required for my job. You cannot be a CLNP without them. But I didn’t do anything extra to be a CLNP, there is no exam to become one.

Conversely, it was “strongly recommended” that I also go back and get the A+ certification, which I did, and received the A+ certificated. At the same time, however, having an A+ with a Network+ made me a “CompTIA IT Operations Specialist” (CIOS), and having an A+ with a Linux+ makes me a “CompTIA Systems Support Specialist” (CSSS). Since I didn’t do anything extra to gain these titles, I am just wondering if they hold any weight or have any real meaning.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not objecting to these new stack-able certs, I’m just not sure I understand the purpose of them. To maintain them, you have to maintain the two or more certifications that were combined to get them. On my certifications for A+, Net+, Linux+, there is a verification number, but there isn’t one for these combined certs. I suppose you would have to look them up by requesting if the applicant is certified in the underlying certifications.

It is pretty impressive, though, that in less than six months I have taken two tests (one renewal, one new) and effectively doubled the number of certifications that I hold. Can’t complain about that!

Linux – keep it simple.

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