While on one hand their idea that things change, and certifications are not always an index of a person’s knowledge, it can’t help but be argued that pure, naked greed is the basis for the change in the policies of CompTIA.

The changes are coming in 2011, which gives people time to get the last of their certifications guaranteed valid for life. After this year, all certifications will only be good for 3 years.

The explanation in Ars Technica is fairly complete, but not very satisfying –

Chalk up a victory for nerd rage.

Less than a month after retroactively declaring that its A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications would expire three years after the testing date, industry group CompTIA has reversed its position. All current holders of A+, Network+, and Security+ certs will remain certified for life, as they were promised when they took the exams.

In addition, anyone who takes those exams during 2010 will remain certified for life. Starting in 2011, however, new certs will expire after three years. Holders who wish to maintain their certification will then have to pay an annual fee to CompTIA of $25 or $49 and will need to rack up sufficient continuing education credits to renew their certs.

The initial decision to retroactively invalidate certifications generated considerable anger among cert holders, which we described in today’s story on the fiasco. An hour after our original report went live, CompTIA contacted us with news about the change.

CompTIA president Todd Thibodeaux, announcing the policy change, said, “We do not wish to disenfranchise any of the individuals who have supported our certification program. The right thing to do is honor our past commitment to those certified under our original ‘certified for life’ policy.”

Under the new plan, CompTIA can still maintain its own ANSI/ISO accreditation (both groups require that industry certifications have some mechanisms for ongoing training). “Our ISO accreditation is extremely important to us because of the global credibility it carries,” added Thibideaux.

The news does not yet appear on CompTIA’s website, but we’re told that all the details of the revamped program will soon be available online.

My guess is that had all older certs become invalid, not many new ones would be forthcoming, and some other governing body would come up with a way of acknowledging ability in the computer field.

The fact that so many were in on the lifetime certification, it might be that another form of certification appears, spiked by the anger of those not yet certified.

At this point in my life, I am actually surprised that some other form of certification is not used, where the training and testing could be administered by junior colleges, which seem to be the place where so many technical certification programs are found.


Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.
Frank Zappa

I am in full agreement…