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Differentiate Yourself

15 Jul, 2009 By: Carla Nasse imageSource

Differentiate Yourself

Yes, we know it’s tough out there.  Everybody says so.  The economy is the
subject of conversation on every TV newscast, late night talk show, newspaper,
and most presidential speeches. Companies have been riddled with layoffs,
right-sizing, downsizing, and corporate retrenchment.  Call it what you will –
it’s a tough market for just about everyone. So what’s best to do if your in the
office technology channel you ask?

Differentiating yourself and your company to garner sales may be a matter of

IT certifications have been a way to make that differentiation. 

When a company has techs that are Network+ Certified, adding network services
to the product offering is a great way to increase revenue without added
expense.  If you’re a sales person, having an IT certification can open a
prospect’s door. If you have personally felt the effects of downsizing or
corporate retrenchment, now may be the right time to finally get studying and
earn a valuable IT certification.  In the document imaging industry, more and
more it’s becoming the norm.

Some changes have happened at CompTIA since the subject of IT certifications
was last discussed.  They have updated the Network+ exam to better reflect the
skills and knowledge required for someone in a network administrator position.
PDI+ (designed specifically for the document imaging industry) is starting to
take hold in Canada.  Unfortunately for the industry, CDIA+ has not been

CompTIA Network+

CompTIA launched the first Network+ exam in 1999.  In the ten years since,
over 235,000 people have become Network+ certified.  Most recently, the Network+
2007 (which was actually launched in 2005) is retired on July 31, 2009. On a
scale of 100 – 900, a passing score was 554 with the Network+ 2007 exam, based
on 90 questions.  That was exam N10-003.  The new exam, launched January 9,
2009, is exam number N10-004.  A passing score now is 720 on the same scale,
based on 100 questions.  It’s important to match this up when looking for study
materials.  The changes in the new exam are significant.  Caution: old study
materials are out there at bargain prices for a reason.  Caveat emptor! 


CompTIA PDI+ (Print and Document Imaging) is taking hold in Canada.  In a
rare show of cooperation, OEMs in Canada are collectively mandating CompTIA PDI+
by sometime in 2010 as a mandatory certification for dealers to perform warranty
work.  It makes sense.  If a technician has the basic skills and knowledge to
service today’s document imaging equipment, problems will be diagnosed more
accurately and quickly.  If issues are more accurately resolved the first time,
fewer parts are claimed as warranty replacements.  The only way to consistently
determine the skill levels is certification.  OEMs in the US will probably stand
back and see how the program rolls out in Canada, and then follow their lead.


CDIA+ hasn’t changed much since the 2002 exam was first launched. (I passed
the exam that January!). My class was told that the exam was going to have a
different focus and set of questions.  So we all worked hard studying to get
certified.  The 2002 exam saw a change from a more technical skill set required
for scope and implementation to a more sales-focused skill set for document
management design.  The most current exam was released in 2005, yet there were
very few changes from the initial 2002 exam.  A couple of topics were moved to
different objectives.  There are still 85 questions on the exam and a minimum
score of 700 is required to become certified.  When CDIA+ was first introduced,
there was a big push from the OEMs to get their sales and support people
certified, but slowly the number of people being certified leveled off.  Then
from 2005-2007, the numbers grew by 57 percent.  Currently, more than 9,000
people have been CDIA+ certified. 

A “challenge” to the current CDIA+ exam is that some of the technology that’s
covered in the exam is now obsolete. “Memory” is now relatively inexpensive. 
That’s changed how systems are designed.  Nothing is currently scheduled for a
re-work on CDIA+.  That said, even in its current state, CDIA+ is still a
valuable certification for sales people who are serious about a career in the
document imaging industry.  The certification is more common at the OEM level. 
At the dealership level, it’s just starting to gain ground.

Get ready for a bigger push for PDI+ in the US.  It’s coming. CDIA+ is
starting to see a rise in numbers again and Network+ is brand new.  Watch any
training materials you may be contemplating.  Check out the CompTIA website to
make sure that you are getting the correct study guides.  Match up the exam
number with the study guides or classes.  Visit CompTIA’s website at
www.comptia.org for details.

CompTIA PDI+ Basics In Office Equipment

CompTIA PDI+ is an entry-level, vendor-neutral certification proving
competence in basic maintenance of printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines.

This certification covers a technician's understanding of basic
electromechanical components and tools, print engine and scan processes and
components, color theory, connectivity and networking. The exam also covers soft
skills such as customer service, professionalism, safety and environment. While
there are no prerequisites for the CompTIA PDI+ certification exam, it is
recommended that entry-level candidates have foundation-level knowledge or
hands-on experience working with printing and document imaging devices.

CompTIA PDI+ certification is recognized by several industry leaders,
including Canon, Sharp and Xerox, as a benchmark certification for professionals
that service & support document imaging devices.

Carla Nasse is a manager for a Government Sales Division and has been CDIA+
certified since 2002.  Carla was a Cornerstone Committee member at CompTIA for
the development of PDI+.  Carla can bee reached at

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