When you open GetCertified.com , the Web site for CyberTech Institute, you’re hit with a lot of marketing rhetoric—and promises. CyberTech Institute makes some strong claims for its certification programs, including better jobs, increased income, and promotion potential. The question: Is this site just full of thin-air promises, or does it really provide IT professionals with effective tools for getting ahead?
CyberTech Certification courses are affordably priced at $75 for nontechnical applications and $95 for technical disciplines courses. CyberTech also sponsors the Training Alliance Partnership (TAP), a national network of training and testing centers where students can take exams. Upon successful completion of an exam, students receive a listing in CyberTech GOLD (Graduate On-Line Database) and a CyberTech Certification Certificate.
What CyberTech has to offer
Some of its certifications are approved Microsoft courseware, and others—such as Windows, PageMaker, Photoshop and NetWare certifications—are helpful study aids for the respective company certification exams. More than 100 CyberTech Certifications are available for user applications (such as FileMaker, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word, and Macintosh OS) and technical disciplines (such as UNIX, Microsoft Windows NT, and Oracle 8.0).

Once registered on the site, you can read brief course descriptions and view sample exams of 10 questions each for some of the courses. The small sample lesson on Working with Access Objects reads like a well-written “how-to” book. To use the lesson easily, you need to print it out or have a second machine on which to follow the examples.

About the courses
All the courses are Web-based training (WBT), which you complete at your own pace. CyberTech does not provide instructor-led training, nor could I find links for students to send in questions. Textbooks and courseware are provided by such publishers as ComputerPrep, Macmillan Computer Publishing USA, QUE, New Riders, SAMS, and Ziff Davis Education. Helpful links point users to downloadable software demos but provide no reduced-price packages. If you don’t want to read, a Windows-based utility, Webster, will read the course materials to you. Only Windows 95/98 or MS Windows NT 4.0/5.0 and MS Explorer are supported.

Ready to practice?
Practice tests for certification exams, including A+, MCSE, Novell, and Microsoft, are available for purchase, but only one test question is provided free as an example. A wrong answer generates the correct response and a link back to the appropriate material, which can be helpful. Implied in the practice test information is that tests for CyberTech Certification and Master’s Certification are the same, but the certification varies by the grade received. (Scores of 70 percent of higher qualify for CyberTech certification and a grade of 90 percent or higher nets the Master ranking.) The preview tests that I tried, all Macintosh, were rather basic.

The Certification Acceptance Program (CAP) offers employers tech support and provides companies with access to its CyberTech GOLD database of Certified candidates. CyberTech also offers corporate discounts on annual or volume training contracts. The site claims that it has more than 360 employer members at this time.

The look and feel of the site offer no clue as to the importance or usefulness of CyberTech certifications. There are no company testimonials nor any links to published press, so you’re really left in the dark as to how accepted and/or well received its training is in the corporate market.

Ilene’s opinion
In my opinion, there are other WBT sites that are stronger and make available more resources. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll look at more training sites.

Ilene Hoffman, MS, is a Macintosh/Internet writer, trainer, and consultant based in the Boston area. She is senior editor at MacFixIt.com, contributing editor at MacTech Magazine and faculty member for MACWORLD Expo conferences. She also hosts weekly conferences on Talk City and AOL.