How Going to Tech Conferences Can Help You Become CertifiedWhile attending HP’s Discover conference in Las Vegas, I met with a few incredible individuals who took advantage of some of the services made available at the conference for IT professionals you don’t normally see on the one-sheet flier.

One of these individuals is Chris Wahl, an IT professional adding to his already-impressive list of certifications on enterprise-level systems he has to work with throughout his career. These certifications can help him earn promotions, better jobs, and credibility when proposing new ideas using the technology for which he is certified.

Certifications may not be an absolute measurement of ability or knowledge, but they certainly help in the IT field when being able to provide evidence that you know enough to get the job done is needed. This is, after all, a competitive field and any advantage you can get will help you stand out.

So what did Chris Wahl do at the Discover conference to help him achieve these certifications? Well, HP offered certification tests for free during the conference, which can save an IT professional a bundle. In addition, you can take as many as you have time for, so you aren’t stuck taking just one and then scheduling the next when you’re ready for it.

In addition, he utilized the knowledge of a virtual sea of experts from both HP and many of the vendors in attendance to get answers to the questions he didn’t know. In a sense, he had the best possible resource at his disposal on the day of the test. That’s something very few people can say.

During the first two days of HP Discover 2012, Chris completed two tests to receive ExpertONE certification in AIS Blade Systems. Prior to taking each test, he checked the certification guide to see what type of questions might be asked on the test. Once he had an idea of what he knew and where he might need some clarification, he headed out to the floor to ask the experts. With the gaps filled in, passing the tests was just a matter of filling in the blanks.

If you’re curious what ExpertONE certification in AIS means, it means that Wahl demonstrated an advanced level of understanding in HP BladeSystem servers. These servers are designed to minimize the amount of space they take up, allowing you to fit more discreet servers on a single rack.

Oh, and he wasn’t done just yet. The week is still young, and before we left him, he started talking to other members of HP staff about the next test he would be taking during the four-day event.

Companies, both big and small, send their IT professionals to these types of tech conferences to get a better understanding of what companies like HP, Dell, Cisco, Apple, Suse, and countless others have to offer. This knowledge can be invaluable to determining a proper course of action back at the office. After all, in the world of information technology, being well-informed is half the battle.

So perhaps you have a member of your team that could use a certification, or you yourself are an IT professional looking to gain that advantage during your next interview. Either way, you might want to check into whether or not the next conference being held by these large, reputable companies is offering this type of service. It may even justify the price of admission.

There are dozens (if not hundreds) if highly sought-after IT certifications that can help you in your career. Just about every major technology company has them, and some jobs require you to be certified on the servers and systems on which you will be working. Dell has a series of DCSE (Dell Certified Systems Expert) certifications that can give you an advantage in a situation where a company has dedicated some or all of its infrastructure to Dell systems. Microsoft, Apple, Lenovo, IBM, and just about any other force in the technology world has its own certification system in place to not only ensure that the person you hired to do the job knows what they’re doing, but that they have demonstrated their ability to the very company that designed the systems.

So, whether you’re into the networking, help desk, hardware, server administration, or any other area of IT, you might want to take a look at some of the certifications being offered by companies your company works with and see if you can’t get a trip to these conferences put in the budget. You might leave with something much more valuable than swag.