You needn’t abandon the certification goals you set for the year just because you might be behind schedule or, worse, haven’t even begun preparations. With students back to school nationwide and fall just around the corner, it’s as good a time as any to pause and review your certification goals—and progress—for the year.

TechRepublic has published a number of articles to help you simplify the certification process, gain newfound motivation, become more resourceful, and maximize the time you spend preparing for certification exams. As you stop to revisit your certification goals and progress, be sure to relax. There’s plenty of time left. The important thing is to take time now to plot your plans for the remainder of the year. Here’s how you can do that.

Motivate yourself
It’s tough to keep morale up and motivate yourself to study when the economy and technology industry are performing worse than the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. But there’s hope in the Bengals camp that this could be a playoff year.

Whether the economy and tech sector turn around with the Bengals this fall remains to be seen, but I’ll venture this: The technology industry will enjoy a winning year before the Bengals do. Meanwhile, there’s no doubt that earning certification will better position you to weather the ups and downs of the current economy. Check out “Gain newfound certification motivation with these simple tips” to find tips on relighting your fire.

Keep costs down
In a tight economy, where layoffs are as common as covers of the Beatles’ Yesterday, few IT professionals I know want to throw money to the wind. It’s no secret that earning an IT certification can be expensive. Fortunately, several options do exist for minimizing your certification bill. “Use this five-step method for lowering certification costs” explains how you can begin reducing the expenses associated with accreditation.

Tap the Web
A ton of certification advice and countless IT resources are available on the Internet. But you’ll never get around to researching them all. Time is of the essence, especially as there are only four months left to achieve your certification goals.

Back in April, I listed what I felt were the top 10 certification sites on the Web. Save yourself some time and shoe leather by incorporating the helpful resources I discussed in “Here are the Web’s 10 best IT certification sites.”

Have a plan
The A-Team’s Colonel John Hannibal Smith gave contemporary culture the phrase “I love it when a plan comes together.” As irreverent as the television program was, it hit upon a universal truth. You almost always feel a certain satisfaction when a project completes according to plan. Many IT certification plans go awry simply because there is no plan.

Fortunately, your plan can be simple. “Follow these seven steps to your next IT certification” offers a road map you can download and begin using immediately to add structure to your efforts.

Learn from others
You can compete with other IT professionals or you can collaborate with them. The choice is yours.

I’ve long believed that it’s appropriate to share shortcuts, insights, and tips with others seeking certification. I’ve also found that when I share a helpful tip with another colleague, I often gain a tip in return. Nowhere is it written that you must blaze your trail independently. Share your study methods with others, and you’re likely to find yourself learning new ways you can study and discovering resources you never knew were available. In that spirit, be sure to read these collections of certification tips provided by TechRepublic members:

Eckel’s take
It was easy to motivate yourself to spend the money, find the time, and invest your energy in IT certification studies when the IT sector was a glamorous industry. But now that the shine’s rubbed off and the markets are shaky, it is considerably harder to muster the necessary enthusiasm to gain accreditation.

If articles I’ve read in The New York Times and other publications are correct, the volatility we’re experiencing is nothing new. It’s cyclical, and we’ve repeatedly recovered well from troubled times before. Sooner or later, things will level out. While waiting out the storm, consider your certifications to be insurance against today’s adversity and investments for the future when things turn around.