A New Project begins

I was away from my blog for few days now. I was doing research and assessments on the possibility of a new project. The new project is a website. Before I go on and give you the URL to the new site, I will brief you about what this website will be.

The idea of this project started in my mind two weeks back (well it was in my subconscious mind for a long time). Some of you might know that I love vendor certifications and it is a great way to me to measure how much of a product a person knows. I always get email and requests from my blogs from people asking about resources and material for preparing for Certification exams. Most of them are for Microsoft, Cisco and other security certifications. I know many people including myself who will look for all the free and good resources on the web when they start preparing for any certification exam. I will look for information like exam objectives, exam tips, list of labs, recommendations from people, recommended books, practice questions, reviews about exams and what people think was easy and difficult in exams and any extra preparation material that can help me to prepare for the certification exam. Although I read books I still prefer to get another source from which I can read and re-instate my reading so far. I know many friends and have read about people on the web doing the same. There is a lot of time spend on the Internet just looking for resources and some of which is in accurate. Than some resources are expensive than the others and cost a lot of money. Certification exams are expensive in themselves and all these additional resources are an added cost in terms of time and money.

I know that there are many sites/forums that are dedicated to vendor certifications. Some forums are specific for questions/answers and some are generic forums. Some websites that I see have good exams tips and stuff on them. Than again people have to search for technical topics that are a part of measured skill in the exam and this can be on any site on the Internet or on Vendor’s website itself. This all again consumes and lot of time and confusion as to what is correct and what is wrong. Than again there are Microsoft User groups and others like those.

I always wanted a website that was a central resource on certification with most of the things on the same site. I wanted the information to be updated regularly. I wanted the information to be accessible by all and for free. I wanted to give a chance to everybody who has the knowledge and willingness to edit the write the stuff to be able to do so. I wanted a central website where people could share their experiences about exams so everybody can benefit from it. As I understand there is a huge pass/fail ratio for vendor exams. I wanted to reduce that ratio. I know people who have years on experience working on the product but they still fail to pass the exam as they are not familiar with what’s on the exam and they are not prepared to do enough research on the Internet about the exam. Some people just rely on one resource for passing the exam and than fail the exam. Sometimes in such cases the blame goes to vendors for making a stupid exam and I always don’t agree with that.

I have been following Wiki world for a little while now and I am fascinated with the possibilities that it provides. The advantages it holds over other forms of communication and the scalability of it. So I decided to start up a project called “CertRef” (Certification Reference) hosted at http://www.certref.com . I start this website with an intention to make a central repository for information relating to certification exams. The wiki based website will hold the following and many more features in it:-

○ Categorised vendor examinations
○ Details on each examination
○ Exam tips for a given exam
○ Study tips
○ Recommended labs that are associated for a exam
○ Videos & Podcasts ( I am excited about these)
○ Recommended external links for a given skills
○ Practice questions and answers
○ Exam reviews
○ Certification news
○ Place to discuss things
○ Brief introductions to all the topics covered in the exam which can be handy for revision and links to external sites (my vision is to expand these in to study guides in the future)
○ Case studies
○ And a lot. Bring on your requests to add to this list.

Ofcourse, being Wiki based website, it is a collaborative effort. I am not a guru in all the vendor certifications nor I have a desire to be one soon. I want this to be a website for people by people. We all can chip in some thing or the other in this project. People spend huge amount of time on forums and newsgroups answering the same question again and again. I heartily invite them all to visit this website and update the contents that will help hundreds/thousands of people preparing for this certification. I have a dream of making this website as a central reference pool (My friend Nirav also suggested to name the site as Certpool.com) for vendor certifications. I will like to have this site updated with latest and correct information so people can benefit from it. People should be well informed on what the exam is about before they go ahead and sit the exam. I want this site to make them well informed.

I myself am still learning the language of Wiki and I am sure will learn as the time goes by. I am exploring more and more capabilities of wiki system as I play more with Wiki. Well now as the site is registered, the wiki is all setup and working, the next thing on my list is to set a structure as to how things will be organised on the wiki. I think this will be a evolving thing for a while as I learn more and more capabilities of the wiki system. I decided to use MediaWiki which is used by Wikipedia. Any other recommendations on other Wiki’s and why it is better than MediaWiki? I tried TikiWiki but it is way too much and am not happy with it’s cluttered interface.

One other thing I will need help is with selecting the right license type! Is there any expert here who can help me explaining different license types and which one can go well with my intentions for this site?

So spread the word about this site and the intentions of this site. Email me if you have any questions related to Certref project and if you want to be an active participant on this site. Throw ideas if you got them for this project. Well I am all juiced up for this project! More to follow.

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