The University of Arizona

A Method of Optimizing Programming Topics to Succeed in IT Certification Exams

Mohammad Rob, Vance Etnyre


This paper focuses on the skill sets required for an information technology (IT) graduate to be successful in the fast-changing technological world. It addresses the value of professional IT certifications offered by various technological companies in the job market. Specifically, it focuses on how to optimize various topics that should be covered in a graduate-level programming course such that students are not only technically prepared for their professional careers but also equipped to succeed in the widely recognized Microsoft Certification exams on programming. The authors investigate the use of the Solver feature of Microsoft Excel to evaluate strategies for selecting topics that should be included in a graduate-level programming course. The results indicate that to succeed in the Windows-based Microsoft certification exams, we need to increase the coverage in the areas of object-oriented programming, database, XML, COM and other advanced topics . To succeed in the Web-based Microsoft certification exams, we need to increase the coverage in the areas of database, storage and advanced topics . This increase in effective coverage correlates with an increase in passing rates from approximately 40% to over 50% after making a change in our curriculum. Our findings can be useful for instructors who wish to reformulate their programming courses and challenge students with professional certifications that prepare students for successful IT careers


Programming; Teaching; Information Technology; IT Certification; MIS

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