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Internet Professionals Have New Way to Show What They Know


by Lisa Wilson


The tremendous growth of Internet business and e-commerce has created a serious shortage of skilled Internet technical professionals, an issue that CompTIA's new i-Net+™ certification addresses. CompTIA® is an association that represents more than 7500 computer hardware and software manufacturers, distributors, resellers and others in the computer technology industry in the areas of public policy, workforce development and electronic commerce standards. CompTIA certifies IT professionals with its widely adopted and vendor-neutral A+, Network+ and Certified Document Imaging Architechä (CDIA) certification programs.

i-Net+ certification is a CompTIA vendor-neutral designation for Internet technical professionals. This internationally recognized certification will serve as proof of baseline knowledge of Internet, intranet, and extranet concepts for professionals responsible for hands-on implementation and maintenance of Internet infrastructure and services as well as development of related applications.

"There is an acute labor force shortage in the Internet professional industry," said Eva Chen, i-Net+ certification program manager at CompTIA. "Many people want to enter the industry but don't know how. i-Net+ certification will be a vital tool for them to use to prove their skills and knowledge to prospective employers."

"The idea of i-Net+ certification has garnered much industry-wide support, as well as demand, from hardware and software manufacturers, consultants and businesses engaged in e-commerce," said Christine Atienza, director of business development at Wave Technologies International, Inc. and a member of the i-Net+ Advisory Committee. "Industry statistics show that the number of Internet users will grow from 97 million in 1997 to 227 million in 2001. Revenue from U.S. businesses on the Web will grow from $43 billion in 1998 to $1.3 trillion in 2003. In order for a business to be successful in today's marketplace, it must engage customers over the Internet. Because of this, there is a great need for qualified Web site professionals."

The shortfall of qualified Internet technical professionals is not unique to the United States. In September, British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned businesses in the United Kingdom that they were in danger of falling behind in the world economy because they are failing to properly make use of Internet. Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands are also lagging behind. Small-to-medium businesses will be affected most by the skills shortage.

However, the skills crisis is an opportunity for those who wish to undergo training: the demand for certified professionals translates to high salaries and benefits packages.

i-Net+ Certified Professionals may expect to enter the workforce in a variety of sought-after careers:

  • Internet systems administrators manage and tune corporate Internet and intranet infrastructure and manage machines running Internet services down to the operating system level.
  • Internet security specialists define, develop and manage corporate Internet security policy, audit security mechanisms such as firewalls and attack recognition products and technologies. They also manage the deployment of security solutions.
  • Internet application developers develop client-side or server-side Internet applications.
  • An Internet site designer's work entails designing Internet site structures and user interfaces.
  • Internet e-commerce specialists develop transaction-based systems, including commerce-, inventory- and workflow-related systems
  • Internet network specialists manage and tune hardware, connectivity, network protocols, routing and switching.
  • Internet database specialists develop and implement solutions for integrating the back-end database system with Internet applications for real-time access to customer or corporate information.


The CompTIA i-Net+ Advisory Committee has developed the exam objectives for i-Net+ certification. Cornerstone members include CompTIA, Association of Internet Professionals, Global Training Solutions, HyCurve Inc., IBM, Microsoft, Novell,, Sysoft, and Wave Technologies International. The Committee's advisory participant is Comark.

i-Net+ exam objectives include Internet basics such as addressing, caching, site performance, Internet browsers and clients, programming terms and multimedia file formats.

Also included are such topics as connectivity, hardware and software connective devices, domain name registration and definition of security concepts. The i-Net+ exam additionally features business concepts such as copywriting, trademarking and licensing and working in a global environment.

Prerequisites for the exam, recommended by CompTIA, include six months of experience for A+ candidates and 18 months for Network+ candidates.

CompTIA initiated the i-Net+ exam in November in beta form. Beta testing will take place across the globe in Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States. The price of the beta exam is $75 for the United States and most countries with a $50 special fee for Africa, China, India and Latin America.

After the beta testing is completed, CompTIA expects the exams to go live worldwide on January 21. The goal is to have delivered 12,000-15,000 i-Net+ certification exams by the end of 2000. Companies and individuals in North America interested in registering for the i-Net+ exam may call (877) 803-6867.

You may order a complete copy of the i-Net+ job task analyses for $20 from CompTIA's Julie Murkowski at jmurkowski@ or (630) 268-1818, ext.1336. The report could aid you in designing your i-Net+ curriculum. It provides quantitative data on the relevance and importance of the identified tasks, skills and knowledge levels of an individual pursuing an Internet-related career. The blueprints for the i-Net+ exam were based partly on the baseline standards determined from this report.

Companies that will be offering i-Net+ certification training include Global Training Solutions,, and Wave Technologies International.

Lisa Wilson is a freelance writer and editor based in St. Louis, Missouri.


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