Brad Henson, having recently been let go from the job he had held for years as a freight broker, was throwing himself wholeheartedly into a softball game—a welcome distraction from the rough career choices he was facing. The batter swung. Henson saw the ball soaring in his direction. Just out of reach. He ran. He dove. He caught it. It was the kind of catch that can make you feel like you’re on your way to the majors—a catch worthy of ESPN. Maybe it was the adrenaline that had Henson feeling fine as he stood up and brushed himself off. By the time he reached his car after the game, though, he was in too much pain to drive and had to get a ride from his sister. Diagnosed with a torn labrum, Henson had a long road to recovery ahead of him. But as he started down that path, other things came into focus.
“[The injury] made me realize that I had to switch what I was doing and go towards something else,” said Henson. “It finally got better and I realized that I needed to start studying again. I realized, ‘I can get my life back in order. I can get this certification.’“
Before that fateful game, Henson had entertained the idea of pursuing a career in IT. He had some experience rebuilding computers years earlier but no formal IT background. He knew that getting certified was the first step, but when he had tried using other study tools over the past few years, he found them cumbersome and ineffective, throwing a lot of information at him in a way that didn’t quite make sense. And so he had repeatedly put off taking the CompTIA A+ exam. He didn’t think he was ready.
As he healed from his injury and tried to get his life in order, he searched for an ordered way of studying that would truly prepare him for the CompTIA A+ exam—he found it in CertMaster.
Since its rollout in June, CertMaster has allowed users to take advantage of its cutting edge, confidence-based teaching methods. Now those just starting out in IT, as well as those looking to advance their careers, are using this powerful tool to master the material crucial to certification, which in turn is helping them differentiate themselves in a crowded job market. For Henson, CertMaster has been invaluable.
“CertMaster made me think in a totally different way, where I realized—OK, that’s what that means, that’s what that is,” said Henson.
Henson used CertMaster to guide him through his study for the 801 section of the CompTIA A+ exam, and he walked into it with no question that he was prepared.
“I felt like I was the Incredible Hulk before I went in there,” said Henson. “I knew everything. If it wasn’t for CertMaster, I would not have passed that test.”
Now, as he uses CertMaster to study for the 802 section of the CompTIA A+ exam—the final test between him and the first step in his new career—Henson is grateful for his injury, and for CertMaster.
“To go from where I was to where I am now with just a little scar tissue, and as a result I’m halfway through my A+, I’ll take that any day,” said Henson.
The Way to Learn
CertMaster has proved popular and successful the world over with budding IT talent.
Matt Gill, a 23-year-old UK-based developer preparing for his CompTIA A+ certification exam, said that once he got the hang of the tool, he found the quiz-like structure of CertMaster preferable to pouring over a course book. It helped him learn information, rather than just memorize it.
James Dennett, also from the UK, who used CertMaster to prepare for his CompTIA Security+ exam, said that CertMaster not only helped him prepare for the exam, it has been critical in helping him recall information for his job.
“CertMaster is the way to learn,” Dennett said.
Paul Richards, an IT manager for a small co-op style grocery store chain in Maryland, is at a different point in his career. Richards began working on computers when data was still stored on punch cards, and has worked in the industry for the better part of the last three decades. He took a few years off recently to be a stay-at-home dad, though, and found that as he returned to a competitive job market, up against fresh out-of-college candidates, his skills and experience weren’t quite enough.
“Being back in the job market at this point I realized how important those certifications are,” said Richards. “A+, Network, Security, all of the different certifications that are out there, and without them I was not going to be able to prove that I’m current in the knowledge that I have.”
CertMaster played an important role in Richards getting that proof. He had tried using other study guides and found them to be like reading stereo instructions. They tested his knowledge but didn’t add to his knowledge. CertMaster, on the other hand, provided a structured way to learn and improve. CertMaster’s algorithm tailors itself to a user’s individual needs, learning what a user does and doesn’t know—a feature that Richards found invaluable.
“[CertMaster] explained the answer and then tested again and tested again until it was sure that I knew those answers,” said Richards. “Learning where your weaknesses are and then stressing those questions over and over, I found that to be incredibly effective and helpful for the exam. I thought that was an amazingly good way to study. It is effective for me.”
Richards now has his CompTIA A+ certification hanging on the wall at work. He says that many of the things he learned through CertMaster have been valuable not just for test-taking, but for implementing real solutions in his job. Now, as he pursues higher-level IT positions, he is also pursuing more certifications, and is doing so with CertMaster as his chosen study tool.
“I would highly recommend CertMaster to anybody at this point. I find it to be—and this will be the third time I will say the word—effective,” said Richards.