Free or Accredited Training – Which is Best?

Friday, 3 June, 2022

By Jim Ragle

When preparing to take an IT-related certification exam, one needs to decide whether to self-study using free content found online or to pay for an accredited, on-demand training course specifically designed to prepare you for the relevant certification exam.

I’ve had to make this choice several times.  And while I like to think of myself as resourceful and adept at filtering through online nonsense to find the good stuff, when it comes to certification exam prep it’s not worth the effort and risk to go it alone with free online content.

Choose the accredited training.  You’ll get certified much easier and faster.  Why?

First, let’s talk about the certification program content – the stuff that you will be tested on.  For most certification programs, that content is copyrighted by the owner of the certification program.  ITIL certification content, for example, is developed and maintained by Axelos, which is owned by PeopleCert.  Axelos/PeopleCert protect their copyright, as any commercial company developing content would do.  They make money by licensing that content to accredited training organizations and selling the certification (via an exam) to would-be practitioners like us.  As such, non-accredited training programs that do not license the ITIL content from Axelos/PeopleCert are prohibited from using the copyrighted content in their training offerings.

So, how can a free, unaccredited ITIL training program do a good job of training you for the exam if they aren’t allowed to share with you the copyrighted ITIL principles, practices, and methodologies?

One way they try to get around this is to simply provide free (or even paid) “practice exams” or sets of test questions you can review.  Just test questions and answers – no theory, no context, nothing taken from the copyrighted material (or not enough to raise any copyright issues). I’ve seen plenty of these free exam prep questions and they are often terribly written.  Here are some issues I’ve repeatedly seen in free exam prep questions:

  • Only basic knowledge of English grammar is needed to select the right answer.  The question asks you to select the “action” that is most important in….whatever.  Of the four answer choices, only one of them (the right answer) is an action.  The other choices are simply not actions at all.  Trust me, your actual certification exam will NOT pull this trick on you.
  • Only a basic ability to count is needed to select the right answer.  The question asks you to select the three elements of…whatever.  Each available choice is a list of items, but only one of the choices lists three things.  Again, you won’t see anything sloppy like this on a certification exam.
  • Harder to spot are just wrong answers, where the available choices don’t contain the correct answer or the answer marked as correct is, in fact, not the correct one.  If you’ve not been exposed to the program content through training, how would you know that the answer is not D, but is actually C?  You are putting blind trust in these free test questions.
  • Also hard to spot are questions that are simply irrelevant, off-topic, and thus highly unlikely to be on the exam.  Again, if you’ve not been trained, how would you even know that the question was irrelevant?  Why waste your time on this?

I’m not saying all the free exam prep content out there is bad.  It probably isn’t.  But how do you know if it’s good or bad if you don’t know the subject matter?  After all, you are admittedly a beginner if you are seeking a training course in ITIL Foundation V4, for example.

  • As a beginner, can you spot training content that is wrong, misleading, or irrelevant and thus highly likely to not be on the test?
  • Can you spot test questions that don’t include the correct answer in the available choices?  How would you know?

If you have a lot of time and are willing to wade through an abundance of ad-supported sites offering free sample test questions and can spot the red-flag test questions as described earlier, then maybe it will work for you.  However, you still have to pay for the certification exam, and there is a risk that you fail the exam and have to pay to retake it.  Are you willing to take that risk?

I’d rather pay for an accredited training program and save the time, hassle, and significantly reduce the risk of failing the test.  What you get when you select an accredited training program is the following:

  • Actual content from the certification owner’s materials, which is what the test will be based upon.
  • If the training program is specifically for certification exam prep, then it will be targeted to exactly what will be on the exam, nothing less, not much more.
  • If the training program is good, it will likely be developed and presented by someone who is expert in the field and who can provide context, real-world anecdotes, and other supplementary information to help build a fuller understanding of the content, but still within the bounds of what will be covered on the exam.  This never hurts, as the test questions can and do change and sometimes they are situational and require more than just memorizing definitions.
  • In addition to training content, good training programs include practice quizzes and practice tests, to help you gauge whether you are assimilating the content well enough to tackle the certification exam.

When I was preparing to take the ITIL Foundation V4 exam, I reviewed some of the free content (mostly free mini quizzes) and quickly realized this was a minefield.  After some research into accredited training programs, I chose the ITIL Foundation V4 training program offered by GogoTraining.  The course is structured as a series of modules (all on-demand) that include video presentations with accompanying slides, delivered by Dr. Suzanne Van Hove, who is a seasoned expert in IT Service Management and ITIL.  She brings vast, real-world Service Management experience to the training and does a fantastic job of adding context to the sometimes seemingly abstract concepts in ITIL.  Even with this additional context, the presentations were quickly paced – fast enough that I didn’t feel like I was wasting time but slow enough to follow (also, you can always pause and go back). Dr. Hove’s delivery is enthusiastic and animated, which helped make the training interesting and engaging.  Also, after every couple of modules, there are quizzes to gauge your progress and two full practice exams to take after finishing the course.  All helpful.  Most importantly, after taking the training, I immediately took the ITIL Foundation V4 certification exam and passed quite easily.

Accredited is the way to go, in my opinion.  And GogoTraining worked great for me.

Is VeriSM, ITIL, Agile and DevOps Friend or Enemy?

Thursday, 26 April, 2018

The Top 5 Benefits of Learning IT Asset Management

Thursday, 9 February, 2017

IT Asset Management

IT professionals need to upgrade their skills constantly to stay relevant for the long term. Top performers understand the importance of continuous learning. Therefore, they actively seek knowledge and get certified in various fields to accelerate their professional growth.

Many IT professionals choose an online course to gain certification. GogoTraining has been certifying IT Asset Management professionals in Certified Software Asset Management (CSAM), Certified Mobile Asset Management (CMAM) and Certified Hardware Asset Management (CHAMP) for more than 10 years and offers superior training from industry professionals who are masters of their functional areas.

In this article, we will analyze the main advantages of learning IT Asset Management (ITAM) skills:

1 – High Demand

In past few years, organizations have substantially increased their spending on IT Assets. For most businesses, the investment in IT assets is their second biggest expenditure. Moreover, significant compliance and regulatory risks are associated with the usage of the assets. Therefore, most of them need dedicated professionals to manage these assets efficiently. This has led to a massive surge in the demand for IT Asset managers. Limited availability of certified ITAM professionals has resulted in a huge gap in the demand and supply of ITAM professionals. Thus, a certification in IT Asset Management will open the doors to unlimited opportunities for IT professionals.

2 – Global Recognition

Professionals with IT Asset Management skills are required for firms of all sizes across the world.  A certification in IT Asset Management will bring global recognition.

This is because a qualified Asset Management professional knows the nuances of contract management, vendor management, effective reporting, tools implementations, and operations management. Thus, they have the option of moving to other areas of IT management. They can even become Software Category Managers or Process Framework specialists. This kind of exposure helps ITAM professionals to interact flawlessly with global IT leaders.

Very few IT disciplines provide such an intense cross-functional exposure which turns managers of today into global leaders of tomorrow.  

3- Prerequisite for Many Top IT Roles

For many IT roles, especially in Fortune 500 companies, knowledge of IT Asset Management is a precondition. It means even if the candidates are qualified enough to apply for a job, they may not be eligible for the interview if they don’t have the basic knowledge of IT Asset Management.

An analysis of job advertisements by large multinational IT firms reveals that most of them have made IAITAM certifications mandatory. Thus, the demand for IAITAM certifications is growing rapidly.  Knowledge of IT Asset Management is necessary to grow professionally in large IT firms.

4 – Host of Unexplored Career Opportunities

ITAM experts can navigate a career path which very few can imagine.

They start their career as analysts using standard tools to collect raw data and normalize it according to the vendor reporting standards. Then they generate the compliance summary report by reconciling the normalized data with contract entitlements.

In some companies, the dedicated Asset Management teams takes care of global contracts and provides license consulting services. Many companies have made SAM (Software Asset Management) a part of their consulting practices. They help clients in optimizing IT investments and also make them renewal & audit ready. They also become Subject Matter Experts of large publishers like Oracle and Microsoft. Later, they start deploying these licenses and provide consulting services in IT Asset Management and its auditing.  These consultants also have the option to become implementation specialists and work for tools providers.

Many IT Asset managers become Vendor Managers, Sales Leaders, and Contract Negotiators, etc. Many others move to Service Management.

A  few of these professionals choose to become auditors and either participate in auditing activities at customers’ premises on behalf of publishers or work directly with publishers.

It is evident that IT Asset Management has something for everyone. Whether you are a technical person, a salesman, a business oriented person or a compliance guy; you will have immense opportunities to showcase your skills and move forward in your career like a boss.

5 – Excellent Compensation

Given the length and breadth of roles of ITAM professionals, they are entitled to command a better salary than their peers. A survey by “Salary.com” indicates that “IT Asset Managers earned a median wage of $102,571 in December 2016.” This figure is estimated to grow further for next few years. Since most of the ITAM professionals come from diverse backgrounds, their compensation depends on their work experience. However, most of the IT professionals see a growth in their salary and designation in the long term after learning IT Asset Management skills.

Bottom line

Investment in IT Asset Management learning and certification can pay you rich dividends over time. From asset management analyst to IT Strategists and Intellectual Property Management, you can explore several fields in IT which are unexplored and waiting to be capitalized. In the time when most of the IT jobs are at risk due to increased automation at the workplace, IT Asset Management can be a life saver for many IT professionals. Thus, learning IT Asset Management and acquiring a relevant certification can prove to be one the best career decisions of your life.  

If you are interested in learning how to get certified as an IT Asset Manager, GogoTraining.com  has everything you need.  Let us know how we can help you succeed!

ISO/IEC 20000 Foundation and Associate Bridge Courses

Thursday, 16 May, 2013

GogoTraining announced yesterday that it will offer ISO/IEC 20000 Foundation and Associate Bridge Courses beginning in June 2013, rounding out it’s curriculum in the ISO/IEC 20000 topic area.

The ISO/IEC 20000: IT Service Management Foundation Bridge course offers you an expedited method of learning about ISO/IEC 20000, the international family of standards around Service Management, by recognizing your ITIL® Foundation certificate. Learn what needs to be in place to manage the Service Management processes and initiatives, and the contents, requirements and use of a Service Management System (SMS). Explore the fundamental concepts around what you ‘must’ do in an adapt and adopt initiative in Service Management.

The Associate Bridge course focuses on the Service Management System (SMS) – internationally accepted requirements for managing Service Management initiatives. These requirements, briefly covered in ITIL, are clearly documented and supported in the standard. Additionally, this course will focus on the similarities and differences between ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL processes as well as the benefits of deploying the PDCA model.

The Associate Bridge course allows one to fast-track into the study of ISO/IEC 20000. Recognizing the student who has already gained a Foundation Certificate in ISO/IEC 20000 and who has earned at least two (2) ITIL® Practitioner (v2) or Intermediate (2007/2011) certificates, the requirements of the Associate certificate in ISO/IEC 20000 have been reduced.