By Mike Tarangelo, Associate Systems Engineer

I recently concluded working on a project with a client that needed a lot of assistance for even the smallest tasks. One of their employees was supposed to have a certification to serve as an Administrator, but never got it. This led to a lot of time lost on both sides.

When a client has an employee certified in whatever system we’re working in, they have greater independence. They don’t have to solely rely on us to troubleshoot or make changes to the system because they can do it themselves, which saves our clients time and money.

We highly encourage clients to go through the certification process. To make it easy, I wrote up a basic guide to the IBM Professional Certification Program.


The IBM Professional Certification Program is a way to gain credentials and demonstrate your knowledge of IBM technology. Certification programs range from entry-level to advanced and include many different job roles for IT professionals. The program consists of reading/study material and a test. Once you pass the test, you will receive a shiny new professional certification badge.


There are numerous benefits to obtaining a certification. A certification demonstrates your capability and expertise in a particular subject – which in turn allows colleagues to identify potential opportunities to utilize your skill set.

In the scenario I mentioned above, IBM really hesitated to grant the client certain access rights and permission in their own environment. They did not want the client to accidentally break the environment and then be called to fix things. IBM undoubtedly would have been less wary had the client had an IBM-certified employee to act as admin.


The Program is for any IT professional who recommends, sells, services, supports and/or uses IBM products and solutions. You can work with IBM Analytics, IBM Cloud, IBM Security or IBM Watson just to name a few.


Navigating the process to obtain a certification, or simply locating the correct learning materials can become a hassle and a half. Here is the process for how to become IBM certified so you don’t waste time searching and trying to figure it out yourself.

1) The first step is to determine the appropriate certification. An official list of the available IBM programs can be found here. If you need help narrowing down the list, you can filter it by text or a broad “by Unit” search. There are often multiple certifications of the same type because of different versions of the platforms, so it’s important to check the appended version number on the end of the certification and ensure that you select the latest revision.

2) Once you pick the desired certification, the next step is to look over the information specific to the test. The “Certification info” page contains basic information such as…

2a) A brief job role descriptionibm certification job description















2b) Recommended prerequisite skillsibm certifications prerequisites














2c) And a section titled “Test(s) required”ibm certification testing















2d) Listed under this section are links that provide information specific to the test, and a number of sample questions to use to prepare. I highly recommend browsing through the “Objectives” tab of the test page to identify if there are any aspects of the test that require extra review.

3) After using the list of objectives and sample tests to establish any shortcomings, it’s time to consult the learning material. The easiest place to look is on the ‘Test Preparation’ tab of the test information page. This page contains product documentation and links to related RedBooks.

IBM heavily bases the certification tests off of the official Redbooks, so these are the best tools to utilize. The following link is the official IBM Redbooks website, where you can search for specific Redbooks to suit your needs if you cannot find an adequate source on the test information page.

4) The last step is to register and take the certification test. To begin, navigate here and select “Create a web account.” After creating an account, log in and locate “View Exams.” This is a catalog of all of the currently available IBM tests – simply locate your certification, and follow the signup process. Once you select a location and time, you’re finished with the easiest part of the test and are one step closer to obtaining your certification.


The Professional Certification Program is always available so you can go through it at any time. You can prepare and register for the program from the comfort of your couch, but to take the test, you have to go to a testing location.

Hopefully, the five Ws and one H of the IBM Professional Certification Program taught you about the program, showed you the value in it or guided you in getting started. When we work with clients that get certified, projects run smoothly and they are able to support their own systems without relying on IT to help.


About the Author: I’m an Associate Systems Engineer for two of our lines of business: Enterprise Content Management and Intelligent Manufacturing. A majority of my work revolves around utilizing IBM FileNet P8. Currently, I spend most of my free time blowing out my eardrums and eagerly awaiting my trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula later this fall.

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