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With XML experts commanding an average salary of $86,000 per year, and much higher in places such as Silicon Valley, IT professionals seeking to document their expertise in this hot technology can turn to certification. Combine this official endorsement of your skills with a bit of experience and you'll have a resume combination that's hard to beat.
There are two XML certifications to choose from: Brainbench Certified XML and IBM Certified Developer - XML and Related Technologies. Both require broad-based knowledge of XML, but beyond that they differ substantially.
IBM's designation was the first to hit the streets in November of last year. To earn it you'll have to pass a closed-book, multiple choice exam administered via computer at a Prometric testing center. If you've taken any certification exams in the past, you already know all about Prometric. If not, you can read about this worldwide testing network here on GoCertify. See: Testing with Prometric
The objectives for this exam cover information modeling, XML processing, XML rendering, and XML query, as well as questions on W3C recommendations regarding XML. The exam is closed book and contains about 74 questions. You're allowed up to 90 minutes to complete it. Try your hand on the self-assessment exam to judge your readiness. When you're ready to plunk down your $150 and sign up for the real thing, call 800-959-3926 and register for IBM Test 140. You can also register online at www.2test.com.
Your other option is the Brainbench XML certification, which went live in June of this year. This exam is available right now, online, and costs nothing. Exam objectives encompass general and specific XML knowledge, with questions on DTDs, XML structures and specifications. You may also encounter questions about stylesheets. The exam is taken over the Web, using a standard Internet browser. You're allowed to use any reference materials (but not people) you have on hand, but you'll have to be quick you'll have just a few minutes to answer a question before it disappears and is marked incorrect. Passing score is 2.75 out of a possible 5. If you score 4.0 or above, you earn the Master designation. You can take this test through the Brainbench Web site.
Either designation will give you a nice certificate and permission to use a fancy logo to advertise your certified status. IBM throws in a lapel pin and inclusion in their official directory of IBM Application Development Certified Professionals. Brainbench designations also come with an online transcript you can present to employers. If you're looking for name recognition, go the IBM route. If expediency is important, consider Brainbench. Heck, when it comes down to it, why not get double duty out of your studying and earn both?