Started in 1997, CIW (Certified Internet Web Professional) is becoming one of the larger certification vendors in the world. CIW works not only with IT professionals, but high schools, colleges, universities, and training providers as well. One of the major benefits of becoming a CIW Professional is that the certifications are very specialized and defined into job roles. While a blanket certification might look good on your resume, a “Web Development Professional” certification would look a lot better if you’re looking for a job in web development.
CIW Certifications are divided into four different categories: Foundational, Design, Development, and Security. In this guide, I’ll be briefly going over each of the different categories and the specialized exams offered in each to help you better decide if becoming a CIW Professional is right for you, and if so, what certification you should be studying for.
CIW Web Foundations Associate
The first option offered by CIW is the Web Foundations Associate certification. This certification is targeted at High School, College, and Technical/Trade School students interested in website development. As an entry-level certification, there are no prerequisites required to take the exam aside from a standard knowledge and ability to use the Internet, basic web development, and basic network configuration.
There are two ways to become a Web Foundations Associate. You can earn the certification by either completing the blanket exam, 1DO-510 (Web Foundations Associate), or by completing all three individual specialist exams (Internet Business Associate, Site Development Associate, or Network Technology Associate). Successfully completing any of the three individual specialist exams will earn you that exam’s title.
The first exam, Internet Business Associate, will test your knowledge of various topics ranging from Internet connection methods and protocols to project and program management. Many of these topics are level-appropriate and shouldn’t go too far into the technical side of things, but you should have a good understanding of the way the Internet works; basic web-browser functionality, browser plug-ins, advanced web searches, configuring email clients, and software development tools will all be included in the exam.
The second exam, Site Development Associate, will test your knowledge of similar topics, though more aimed towards the development of websites and e-commerce solutions. You should expect to see HTML/XHTML, CSS, CGI, CSS, and other general development topics covered.
And finally, the Network Technology Associate exam will go over various networking functions ranging from troubleshooting to deployment. Some topics covered include TCP/IP, wireless networking, network components and protocols, the OSI reference model, internetworking server types, and network security concepts.
CIW Web Design Series
The CIW Web Design Series consists of two specialist certifications and one professional certification. However, unlike the Foundations Series certification, there is no blanket exam to earn the professional certification. You must earn each of the two specialist certifications to be awarded the CIW Web Professional certification.
Unlike the Foundations Series, these certifications are not entry-level exams. Students with limited experience in web design should start with the Site Development Foundations course to learn the basics before attempting these exams.
The first certification offered, Web Design Specialist, is targeted at web designers, Internet consultants, IT professionals, marketing professionals, web and graphic artists, and business professionals. As you’ll notice below, one of the things that stands out about this exam is the fact that it not only goes over the core technologies behind web design, but also the development process, customer expectations, and ethical/legal issues. I feel that this is an important but often-overlooked aspect of web design, and it’s great to see it included.
As I briefly explained above, the Web Design Specialist exam will test your knowledge of the website development process, from basic web technologies such as HTML/XHTML and production tools to ethical and legal issues involved in web development. While these are fairly general topics, you should expect to answer detailed questions about various web technologies and strategies involved in web development such as plug-ins, databases, and various web programming languages.
The next exam offered in the Web Design Specialist category is the E-Commerce Specialist exam. This exam is targeted at the same group as the Web Design Specialist exam. Here you’ll be tested on e-commerce site development, security, business, marketing, and legal issues.
The E-Commerce Specialist exam, as the name suggests, will test your abilities to develop and maintain an e-commerce site. You’ll need to have a fair understanding about web security, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, marketing, legal issues, promotion, taxation, and international shipping. This exam will focus less on general development – web programming languages, for example – and more on actually conducting business online from start to finish.
CIW Web Development Series
In this exam, you’ll need to know the essentials in terms of Perl as a programming language; this includes syntax, regular expressions, data types, accessing/manipulating files, etc. You’ll also need to know your way around implementation, database connectivity, and various debugging techniques.
The final exam in the Web Development Professional Series is the Database Design Specialist exam. This exam will test your knowledge of the various database types, such as DB2, Oracle Database 11g, MS SQL, and MySQL. You won’t be required to have in-depth knowledge of all of these database types, but rather database fundamentals and the SQL language.
According to the CIW website, you’ll be tested on relational database fundamentals, planning, design methodology (including logical and physical database design), optimization, normalization, relational algebra, transactions, and database security. You should have a fair amount of experience using, managing, and developing with various SQL databases (as mentioned above).
CIW Web Security Series
The final certification category offered by CIW is the Web Security Series. This series is interesting in that it incorporates third-party certifications in its second and third tier certification options. You’ll start by taking the Web Security Associate certification (exam 1D0-571) to become a Web Security Associate. Once the exam is passed, you’ll need to complete one third-party exam to raise your rank to a Web Security Specialist. Finally, by passing a second third-party exam, you’ll earn the Web Security Professional certification. You can view a list of acceptable third-party certifications on the CIW website.
This exam is targeted at network server administrators, firewall administrators, system administrators, application developers, and IT security officers. You’ll be tested on corporate network security policies, authentication and encryption standards and procedures, commonly targeted ports and protocols, detection/response/reporting methods, and prevention methods. You’ll also need to prepare for whatever specialized third-party exam(s) you choose to take.
As you can tell, there are quite a few options available should you choose to become a Certified Internet Web Professional. CIW offers up a great, tiered certification program that encourages you to move up in rank not only within each individual exam series, but also from one series to the next, giving you the opportunity to expand your career options as you go.
Be sure to check out the CIW website to view full exam topic lists, as well as more in-depth overviews of each individual exam. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Good luck on your next exam!