Your Untapped Career Arsenal

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If you’re currently working as an IT professional, you’re already in one of the hottest industries of 2019. If you’re considering a career in IT, hang on. It’s a bit of a crazy ride. But you’ll end up with great job prospects and a salary to match.

The key to success in the technical world is not just a college education, but to obtain and stay current on your programming certifications. These are tests of aptitude for specific programming languages and tools as well as vendor-specific and vendor-neutral platforms. These programming certifications show aptitude or competency at different levels. 

“But, It’s Just A Piece Of Paper!”

“What Really Matters Is How Well I Can Code!”

This is what a lot of professionals are crying. However, that piece of paper matters. Let’s take a look at why. This is what IT professionals, hiring managers, certified and self-taught developers, and programmers had to say:

If You Have The Chops, Prove It

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Most IT professionals, who are generally divided into web developers, web designers, and programmers, know how good they are. And they share it on their resumes and online profiles. They also know it’s important to diversify.

However, listing programming certifications on your resume or profile doesn’t prove proficiency.

John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology says, “Certifications may be seen as a key differentiator for candidates seeking roles on technology teams,”

In short, programming certifications prove what you know. It may be “just a piece of paper,” but that piece of paper may the difference between a job and no job. Programming certifications show you’re serious about the IT industry.

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When you’re new to a field, anything you can do to set yourself apart is a win. And who doesn’t want to win? Certifications can give a young developer or programmer an edge.

So think of that “piece of paper” as the edge of a sword that allows you to cut through the competition. It sounds brutal. But, the job market can be brutal.

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After five years or so, your experience may start to overshadow your programming certifications, but you should still continue your education periodically. It can be just as bad to become irrelevant as it is to be brand new.


Show Me The Money

It’s no secret that programming certifications can lead to higher pay rates. Data has shown that employees with certifications make up to 10 percent more than the national average. And it’s directly due to those programming certifications.

Those pieces of paper say, “I’m willing to go above and beyond,” or “I care about staying current.”

Both of these are very appealing to employers.

The one exception to this “rule,” is when you’re dealing with smaller companies, such as startups. These companies tend to value experience and the face-to-face interview. However, those certifications certainly don’t hurt.

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One final way certifications affect the workplace is by leveling the playing field among international workers. What’s the best way to tell if 10 years of experience in China is equal to 10 years in the US? Give those employees a test.

Proficiency on an exam helps employers know that their multi-cultural candidates are all at the same level.

What’s In A Name?

The IT industry is full of titles that sound very similar. There are web designers, web developers, and computer programmers. But, what’s the difference? And how does that determine what programming certifications they need?

Before we dive into the best programming certifications, let’s take a look at the different roles available in the technical world. 

 

Jobs That Require IT Certifications

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Photo by Lukas from Pexels

  Web Designer

›  Web Developer

›  Computer Programmer

›  Computer Technician

›  IT Project Manager

›  IT Specialist

›  IT Director

The most common positions that require one or more programming certifications include:

 

Web Developer

This person is a “bridge” between the web designer and the programmer. They are the “big picture” person. A web developer takes all that “artwork” the designer has created and makes it function as a site. They make sure all the apps, plug-ins, and web programs function.

The developer must put together a puzzle built by two different departments operating in very different ways.

Yeah, it can be crazy.

Programmer

A programmer or a “computer programmer” as they were once called, writes code for specific programs that need to perform specific tasks. This is a very technical job. They write code that keeps the web running and data secure.

Programmers see “code” like an artist sees his work before he paints it.

And like an artist needs lots of colors, programmers need to know lots of languages.

What are those languages? Let’s find out. 

 

Breaking Down All Those Letters

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There are over 100 programming languages dating back to the 1970s. Yeah. That feels like forever ago. Back when computers took up whole rooms.

As computers grew, or shrank actually, they required more languages to do many different things. Check out this link for an article on all the different computer languages:

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To summarize it, these are the basic kinds of languages:

Interpreted Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • APL
  • AutoIt
  • BASIC
  • Eiffel
  • Forth
  • Frink
  • Game Maker Language
  • ICI
  • J
  • Lisp
  • Lua
  • M
  • Pascal
  • PCASTL
  • Perl
  • PostScript
  • Python
  • REXX
  • Ruby
  • S-Lang
  • Spin

Functional Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • Charity
  • Clean
  • Curry
  • Erlang
  • F#
  • Haskell
  • Joy
  • Kite
  • ML
  • Nemerle
  • OPAL
  • OPS5
  • Q

Compiled Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • Ada
  • ALGOL
  • C
  • C++
  • C#
  • CLEO
  • COBOL
  • Cobra
  • D
  • DASL
  • DIBOL
  • Fortran
  • Java
  • JOVIAL
  • Objective-C
  • SMALL
  • Smalltalk
  • Turing
  • Visual Basic
  • Visual FoxPro
  • XL

Procedural Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • Bliss
  • ChucK
  • CLIST
  • HyperTalk
  • Modula-2
  • Oberon
  • Component Pascal
  • MATLAB
  • Occam
  • PL/C
  • PL/I
  • Rapira
  • RPG

Scripting Languages

These languages include:

  • AppleScript
  • Awk
  • BeanShell
  • ColdFusion
  • F-Script
  • JASS
  • Maya Embedded Language
  • Mondrian
  • PHP
  • Revolution
  • Tcl
  • VBScript
  • Windows PowerShell

Scripting Languages

These languages include:

  • AppleScript
  • Awk
  • BeanShell
  • ColdFusion
  • F-Script
  • JASS
  • Maya Embedded Language
  • Mondrian
  • PHP
  • Revolution
  • Tcl
  • VBScript
  • Windows PowerShell

Logic-Based Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • ALF
  • Fril
  • Janus
  • Leda
  • Oz
  • Poplog
  • Prolog
  • ROOP

Concurrent Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • ABCL
  • Afnix
  • Cilk
  • Concurrent Pascal
  • E
  • Joule
  • Limbo
  • Pict
  • SALSA
  • SR

Concurrent Programming Languages

These languages include:

  • ABCL
  • Afnix
  • Cilk
  • Concurrent Pascal
  • E
  • Joule
  • Limbo
  • Pict
  • SALSA
  • SR

“Speaking” The Right Language

That’s a lot of languages. A whole lot. It’s not possible to be an expert at every language on those lists. So, what’s most important?

What programming certifications should you get to succeed as an IT professional?

First, it matters whether you are a Developer or a Programmer. Remember—Programmers write code for individuals apps and programs. Developers are responsible for the function of an entire site or collection of sites.

Check out this link for a longer explanation of the differences:


Now for those programming certifications.

Let’s break down what you need.


Speak My Language: Programmers

Programmers are very technical employees who spend most of their day writing code. In order to succeed in this position, you need a command of some key programming languages.

The top 10 are:

  • C
  • C++
  • C#
  • Visual Basic .NET
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • PHP
  • SQL
  • Objective-C
  • Python

We’re going to dive into each one, so hold on. For each language, you’ll find the available programming certification, how to learn the language, and how to prepare for the exam.

It’s going to get technical, but we’ll keep it fun.


Java

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Java was first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995 and, in spite of its name, it has nothing to do with coffee. Many applications and websites require Java to run properly. If you’ve ever used a computer, you’ve probably had a pop-up that asked you to run or install Java.

Here’s a sample of Java.

/* CallingMethodsInSameClass.java
*
* illustrates how to call static methods a class
* from a method in the same class
*/

public class CallingMethodsInSameClass
{
public static void main(String[] args) {
printOne();
printOne();
printTwo();
}

public static void printOne() {
System.out.println(“Hello World”);
}

public static void printTwo() {
printOne();
printOne();
}
}

Available Certification
You can get your Java certification from Oracle online in a few simple steps. You will:


1. Choose A Certification Path

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Java 8 is the most recent version, so you’ll want to start with the Java SE 8 Programmer certification. This covers the basics and gives you good ground-level knowledge. Check out this link:

Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer certification site

for more information about certification paths and to learn about Oracle certifications.

The following chart shows the path to becoming a Java EE Enterprise Architect:

  • Complete one of Oracle Academy Java courses
  • Pass Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Certified Master 1Z0-807 exam
  • Pass Java (EE) Enterprise Architect Certified Master Assignment 1Z0-865 exam
  • Pass Java (EE) Enterprise Architect Certified Master Essay 1Z0-866 exam

The path you choose will be determined by your end goal, which depends on what job you hope to get.

2. Crack Open The Books

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You’ll have to read up on the programming certification to pass the exam, even if you already have experience with Java. A deeper understanding will help you excel in this common language. Here’s a couple of recommended books from Oracle:

 

  • OCA: Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide: Exam 1Z0-808
  • OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Certification Guide

3. Are You Playing With The Right Deck?

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Make sure you are up to speed on the latest version of Java and determine which new programming certifications you may need before you pay for a test.

4. Trial And Error

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The best way to prepare for your test is to take as many sample tests as possible. You can find sample tests online at places such as:

Enthuware

You will find six sample tests that will prepare you for your exam. The test is multiple choice but can be difficult because there is usually more than one correct answer. Here’s a link to the Enthuware site:

Enthuware’s Java 8 SE certification

5. Hand Over The Dough

You will need to register with Oracle and pay the exam fee of $245 to take your Java certification. You have six months to take the test and, if you fail, you can take it again within 14 days.

6. One Test, No Waiting!

Your test results are available within 30 minutes of taking the exam! This takes a lot of the stress out of testing. Just check your email for fast results. A few days later you’ll receive an electronic certificate for your programming certification.

C And C++

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The “C” family of programming languages have been around since the 1970s. As computers have grown and changed, C++ was created as an extension of C. C#, however, is a different animal in the same family.

Think of C# as the stepchild of the family.

But we’ll look at all three together.

Here’s a sample of C++:

#include
using namespace std;

int main()
{
int firstNumber, secondNumber, sumOfTwoNumbers;

cout << “Enter two integers: “;
cin >> firstNumber >> secondNumber;

// sum of two numbers in stored in variable sumOfTwoNumbers
sumOfTwoNumbers = firstNumber + secondNumber;

// Prints sum
cout << firstNumber << ” + ” << secondNumber << ” = ” << sumOfTwoNumbers;

return 0;
}

C is a foundational programming language, and the C++ Institute offers programming certifications in both C and C++. They use Pearson VUE test centers to administer the tests, which means there’s a testing center near you when you’re ready.

The C++ Institute is the premier location to study, and they have students all over the globe.

Available Certifications

There are two paths you can take at the C++ Institute. They are:

  • C Programming Language Certified Associate to C Certified Professional
  • C++ Certified Associate Programmer to C++ Certified Professional Programmer

Exam Preparation

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The C++ Insitute provides excellent resources for preparing for your exam. The goal is to provide positive motivation that leads to your success. Here’s what’s available:

Once you register, you will have to online courses with open-ended start dates! Take the courses at your leisure. Then, receive a coupon for 50% off the exam fee.

There’s also a community of other students and enthusiasts to help you along. Use them as a resource on your journey!

Even if you choose not to take the exam, this is the place to learn more about C and C++!

 

Sample Certification

If you choose to sign with the C++ Institute, here’s a sample of what you can expect from one of the exams:

CPA – C++ Certified Associate Programmer Certification
Before testing, you should understand:

  • Universal programming concepts
  • The syntax and semantics of C++ and its data types
  • Principles of the object-oriented model
  • How to resolve typical implementation problems

Test Information:

  • Duration of 65 minutes
  • 55 Total questions
  • Single-choice and multiple-choice format
  • Passing score is 80%
  • Price is $295

C#

C Sharp wordmark

Image via Wikimedia

C Sharp, and it is pronounced, came 30 years after the original C language. Unlike its predecessors, it’s a “multi-paradigm programming language encompassing strong typing, lexically scoped, imperative, declarative, functional, generic, object-oriented, and component-based programming disciplines.”

Here’s a sample of C#:

#include
using namespace std;

int main()
{
int firstNumber, secondNumber, sumOfTwoNumbers;

cout << “Enter two integers: “;
cin >> firstNumber >> secondNumber;

// sum of two numbers in stored in variable sumOfTwoNumbers
sumOfTwoNumbers = firstNumber + secondNumber;

// Prints sum
cout << firstNumber << ” + ” << secondNumber << ” = ” << sumOfTwoNumbers;

return 0;
}

Available Certifications

The C# programming certification is available as part of the Universal Windows Platform or the Web Applications under Microsoft. The MCSA or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate and the more difficult MCSD or Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer will include training in C#.

These certifications also include training in other programming skills and languages, which means you can kill a few birds with one very big stone.

Taking the exams necessary to get that MCSD certification shows employers you have a set of skills that will be very useful in the office environment.


Exam Preparation

You’ll want to check out the Microsoft Learning link located in the Resources section for great resources for preparing for Microsoft certifications.


Python

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Python is, “an object-oriented, high-level programming language with integrated dynamic semantics primarily for web and app development. It is extremely attractive in the field of Rapid Application Development because it offers dynamic typing and dynamic binding options.”

This definition can be found in long-form at:

https://www.pythonforbeginners.com/learn-python/what-is-python/

Here’s a sample of Python:

import urllib2
import urllib
import json

url = “http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/services/search/web?v=1.0&”

query = raw_input(“What do you want to search for ? >> “)

query = urllib.urlencode( {‘q’ : query } )

response = urllib2.urlopen (url + query ).read()

data = json.loads ( response )

results = data [ ‘responseData’ ] [ ‘results’ ]

for result in results:
title = result[‘title’]
url = result[‘url’]
print ( title + ‘; ‘ + url )

Python Certification

Certification in Python is available through The Python Insitute. Their mission statement says:

“The Python Institute is committed to the development of an independent global standard in Python programming certification, which will allow programming specialists, software developers, and IT professionals from all over the world to assess and document their programming skills objectively, and to gain recognition for their expertise.”

Simply, their goal is to make Python globally available. In order to do this, they seek to train as many IT professionals as possible. If you’re looking to learn Python, this is the place.

Their training is vendor-neutral, so they won’t be pushing products on you.

Their training is internationally standard, so you will be ready to work anywhere in the world.

There are three levels of competency:

  • Entry
  • Associate
  • Professional

You can take the entry-level test online. However, the Associate and Professional level tests must be taken at a testing center operated by Pearson VUE.

Their classes are intended for:

  • students of secondary schools
  • university students
  • students of vocational schools
  • or simply anyone interested in learning programming

Levels Of Certification

PCEP—Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer

PCAP—Certified Associate In Python Programming

PCPP-32-1—Certified Professional In Python Programming 1

PCPP-32-2—Certified Professional In Python Programming 2

CEPP—Certified Expert In Python Programming

Visual Basic.NET

The official definition of Visual Basic.NET is:

Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET) is a multi-paradigm, object-oriented programming language, implemented on the .NET Framework. Microsoft launched VB.NET in 2002 as the successor to its original Visual Basic language. Although the “.NET” portion of the name was dropped in 2005, this article uses “Visual Basic [.NET]” to refer to all Visual Basic languages released since 2002, in order to distinguish between them and the classic Visual Basic. Along with Visual C#, it is one of the two main languages targeting the .NET framework.

Available From Microsoft

The following certifications can be obtained from the Microsoft Learning platform on their website. Since Microsoft is such a widespread product, having the standard certifications for their products is a definite bonus on your resume.

MTA_logo

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) - Entry Level

  • The fundamentals of IT
  • Developer
MTA_logo

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) - Associate Level

  • The skills for your professional career
  • MCSA: Web Applications
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
MTA_logo

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) - Expert Level

  • The globally recognized standard for developers
  • MCSD: App Builder
  • MCSD: Web Applications
  • MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management
  • MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
  • Specializations
  • Microsoft also offers several more specialized certifications in the following:
  • Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 Specialist
  • Programming in C# Specialist

Exam Availability

Microsoft hosts a ton of exams on their Learning Center site, which is located in the Resources section of this article. There you can take exams on a long list of products related to Microsoft.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a programming language that allows web pages to operate complex things. Anything that moves, scrolls, or makes sounds is probably JavaScript.

This is an example of what JavaScript looks like. It’s probably familiar even to a layperson because it’s so common. It’s often mistaken for HTML.

Click this link and play with some JavaScript applications on your own!

Multiplication Table

<html>

<head> 

<title>Multiplication Table</title> 

<script type=”text/javascript”>   

var rows = prompt(“How many rows for your multiplication table?”);   

var cols = prompt(“How many columns for your multiplication table?”);   

if(rows == “” || rows == null)    rows = 10;    if(cols== “” || cols== null)    cols = 10;   

createTable(rows, cols);   

function createTable(rows, cols)   

{      var j=1;      var output = “<table border=’1′ width=’500′ cellspacing=’0’cellpadding=’5′>”;      for(i=1;i<=rows;i++)      {    output = output + “<tr>”;        while(j<=cols)        {    output = output + “<td>” + i*j + “</td>”;      j = j+1;    }    output = output + “</tr>”;    j = 1;    }    output = output + “</table>”;    document.write(output);    } 

</script>

</head>

<body></body>

</html>

<html>

<head> 

<title>Multiplication Table</title> 

<script type=”text/javascript”>   

var rows = prompt(“How many rows for your multiplication table?”);   

var cols = prompt(“How many columns for your multiplication table?”);   

if(rows == “” || rows == null)    rows = 10;    if(cols== “” || cols== null)    cols = 10;   

createTable(rows, cols);   

function createTable(rows, cols)   

{      var j=1;      var output = “<table border=’1′ width=’500′ cellspacing=’0’cellpadding=’5′>”;      for(i=1;i<=rows;i++)      {    output = output + “<tr>”;        while(j<=cols)        {    output = output + “<td>” + i*j + “</td>”;      j = j+1;    }    output = output + “</tr>”;    j = 1;    }    output = output + “</table>”;    document.write(output);    } 

</script>

</head>

<body></body>

</html>

JavaScript Certification

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In order to begin your JavaScript programming certification, you need to have knowledge of HTML and the fundamental of JavaScript.

You can take the certification exam through w3Schools. The link is in the Resources section.

Your JavaScript certificate will set you up for success as an IT professional. It is the number one scripting language on the web and it’s used in millions of sites. It detects browsers, creates cookies, and more.

JavaScript works with Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Your web pages will be dynamic and stand out from the rest. And who doesn’t want to stand out? In a good way.


Must-Have JavaScript Exam Info

Before you take the exam, make sure to use all the study resources and remember the following things:

  • This is an internet exam, but you should choose someone to supervise you
  • There are 70 multiple choice questions
  • The time limit is 70 minutes
  • You must get a score of 75% to pass
  • If you score above 95%, you will get an Excellency Degree notation on your certificate
  • Your score is sent to you immediately
  • You can retake the exam one time
  • When you pass, you can download your certificate

Your supervisor must watch over you as you take the exam. This person makes you there’s no cheating! Their name must be on your certificate and will add credibility.


PHP

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PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a widely-used, open source general-purpose scripting language. It’s mostly used for web development.

To put it simply, PHP is a way to run HTML functions without displaying them, so your code is not seen by anyone but you.

Here’s a sample of PHP:

Example

<html>

<head> 

<title>Multiplication Table</title> 

<script type=”text/javascript”>   

var rows = prompt(“How many rows for your multiplication table?”);   

var cols = prompt(“How many columns for your multiplication table?”);   

if(rows == “” || rows == null)    rows = 10;    if(cols== “” || cols== null)    cols = 10;   

createTable(rows, cols);   

function createTable(rows, cols)   

{      var j=1;      var output = “<table border=’1′ width=’500′ cellspacing=’0’cellpadding=’5′>”;      for(i=1;i<=rows;i++)      {    output = output + “<tr>”;        while(j<=cols)        {    output = output + “<td>” + i*j + “</td>”;      j = j+1;    }    output = output + “</tr>”;    j = 1;    }    output = output + “</table>”;    document.write(output);    } 

</script>

</head>

<body></body>

</html>

PHP Certification

In order to get your PHP programming certification, you need to have some previous experience with PHP and MySQL.

The exam is available through w3schools online. The cost is $95 and it is readily available.

PHP will help you create dynamic websites in a more efficient manner. It’s great for web development and embeds into HTML. SQL, or Structured Language Query, is an American National Standards, or ANSI, standard. What do all those letters do?

They retrieve and update data in a database.

Both of these certificates, PHP and MySQL, will help you develop dynamic websites that are interactive. They can receive and update data from databases over the internet.

Make sure you have a solid knowledge of both PHP and MySQL before taking your exam!

 

Must-Have PHP Exam Info

  • The exam is done online, but you’ll need a supervisor.
  • There will be 70 multiple choice questions
  • You must get a 75% to pass the exam
  • If you score more than 95% you’ll get an Excellency Degree notation
  • You’ll receive results immediately
  • Not happy with your score? You can take the exam again.
  • Once you pass, you can download your certificate immediately

Make sure to choose a supervisor that you trust to oversee your exam! They will need to sign your certificate.


SQL

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“SQL” stands for Structured Query Language. It’s used to communicate with a database online. All major database programs use SQL.

Here’s a sample of SQL:

create table RandomKeys (RandomKey int)
create table RandomKeysAttempt (RandomKey int)

— generate m random keys between 1 and n
for i = 1 to m
insert RandomKeysAttempt select rand()*n + 1

— eliminate duplicates
insert RandomKeys select distinct RandomKey from RandomKeysAttempt

— as long as we don’t have enough, keep generating new keys,
— with luck (and m much less than n), this won’t be necessary
while count(RandomKeys) < m
NextAttempt = rand()*n + 1
if not exists (select * from RandomKeys where RandomKey = NextAttempt)
insert RandomKeys select NextAttempt

— get our random rows
select *
from RandomKeys r
join table t ON r.RandomKey = t.UniqueKey

SQL can do the following:

  • SQL can execute queries against a database
  • SQL can retrieve data from a database
  • SQL can insert records in a database
  • SQL can update records in a database
  • SQL can delete records from a database
  • SQL can create new databases
  • SQL can create new tables in a database
  • SQL can create stored procedures in a database
  • SQL can create views in a database
  • SQL can set permissions on tables, procedures, and views

Since SQL creates and manipulates databases, there are lots of practical functions for its use. This is great certification to have, and it can be obtained through w3schools in just a short time.


SQL Certification

The SQL exam is almost the same as the exams for PHP and JavaScript. You will take the exam over the internet, so you’ll be on the honor system to select a supervisor.

  • There will be 70 multiple-choice questions
  • There is a time limit of 70 minutes
  • You must score 75% to pass
  • If you score more than 95% you will get an Excellency Degree notation
  • You will receive your results immediately
  • If you fail, you can take the test once more
  • After you achieve your status, you can download your certificate

Make sure to appoint an honest supervisor who will monitor you while you take your test. Their name will appear on your certificate.

Objective-C

Objective-C is defined as, “a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that adds Smalltalk-style messaging to the C programming language. It was the main programming language supported by Apple for the macOS and iOS operating systems, and their respective application programming interfaces (APIs) Cocoa and Cocoa Touch until the introduction of Swift.”


This is a great program to get into if you want to work with Apple or Mac products.

The Objective-C Certification

The test is available online and will cover the following material:

  • Best Practices
  • Exceptions
  • Protocols
  • Categories
  • General
  • Memory Management
  • C
  • Internals
  • Messaging

There will be 40 multiple-choice questions and one or more answers may be correct.


Programming Certifications: Resources

Are you ready to get certified? If you’ve made the decision to take one or more tests, use the links below for test information and study materials for each language.

You’re Hired!

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With these programming certifications, your chances of landing your dream job are much higher. As an IT professional, the more you have to sell yourself, the better the chance that your resume will make it to the top of the stack.

Whether you are a computer technician in an entry-level position or a seasoned IT Director, you can always improve and hone your skills. Keep up with the ever-changing computer market through online classes and exams. It’s worth every penny.

So get out there and get certified!

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