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To certify or not to certify?

To certify or not to certify?

What Lotus Says
A 1998 survey of 1,880 Certified Lotus Professionals, Instructors and Specialists worldwide, conducted by Lotus Development Corp. with the Boston Research Group, indicates the following:

  • CLPs earn $70,000 annually
  • CLIs, $73,000
  • CLS, $55,000
  • Independent CLPs who are Lotus Business Partners garner an average of $105 hourly

Earnings, growth and promotions:

  • 64% received a raise after completing certification
  • 40% of consultants raised their fees
  • 30% received a promotion within six months
  • 63% of those who earned more and 68% of those promoted said they believed their certification was key

Observations: The survey doesn't compare the compensation or job prospects of certified pros with those of their non-certified brethren.

What users say:
Burke Allen is a CLS and president of NovoLogic Inc., Atlanta, a Lotus Business Partner that hires consultants. Nancy Abela is a Principal CLP in R/4 applications development and a client/server database analyst with a Toronto-based fast-food restaurant chain. They say the real value of the credential is the perception it creates. But, Allen notes, "To an extent, perception is reality."

  • That perception can add a premium of $5,000 or more to a job offer, Allen says. He looks for certification because it gives his company additional credibility with clients.
  • Abela, who was studying for certification when she got her job, says it was a "significant factor" in getting the initial interview. As for the job offer, "There wasn't any specific feedback about it. I think (the company) used it more as a way to weed people out."
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, Allen says that in gaining a client's confidence, the importance of certification rates a 4. As a measure of someone's abilities, certification rates a 2.
  • "Getting certified doesn't replace practical knowledge," Abela says. "Anybody could study and pass the exams, but ... if you don't have the hands-on experience, certification won't get you anywhere."

Leslie Goff is a contributing editor based in New York.

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