The July BenchPress
Interview - with Sumit Amar
This is the latest in our continuing
series of subscriber interviews. If you have experiences
or stories to share about using assessments and certifications
to further your career, and would like to be a BenchPress
interviewee, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are selected, we will extend your Brainbench
subscription for 1 year at no cost.
John Nicholson: Sumit,
thank you for agreeing to share some of your Brainbench
experiences with us. In the e-mail you sent me you
talk a bit about ‘benchmarking’ your skills.
Does Brainbench give you all the tools you need to
benchmark all your skills – for yourself and
a prospective employer?
Sumit Amar: Benchmarking has always
been important to me. Prior to Brainbench, I used
to take quizzes and questionnaires found in books
and web sites. These things changed my IQ and EQ (Emotional
Quotient) levels. However my association with Brainbench
has provided me a larger platform to benchmark myself
and compare myself with my peers, globally. Brainbench
is a platform where one can challenge oneself and
try to improve one’s understanding of technology,
JN: You also mentioned
that you found the Brainbench site useful in helping
you see that your previous academic training had some
real, practical value. How did that work for you?
SA: Although I went through hefty
case studies and decision making related to my MBA,
I was quite theoretical in managing people and my
work. However, at that time I had the chance to take
some good Brainbench management assessments that really
tested my patience and soft skills (e.g. change management,
human resources, training development etc.). I have
had these management scenarios come up in my work
It is interesting to note the difference
between management and IT tests. IT tests check conceptual
and syntactical knowledge of the technology, while
management tests present problem scenarios that require
soft skills to make a correct decision.
JN: OK, down to the
bottom line. Have you found that your Brainbench Certifications
carry real weight with employers? Are they impressed?
SA: Looking at the popularity and
associations Brainbench has, it’s not an exaggeration
to claim that it is the best vendor neutral certification
provider. For instance, if an employer wants to check
a candidate’s RDBMS skills irrespective of any
branded database, Brainbench will be the first choice.
Although I take Brainbench exams to benchmark my skills,
they are also quite impressive in the views of employers
Because various parties including the
newspaper agencies recognize Brainbench certifications,
I had the chance to be a part of newspaper headlines
(you can view some of them here http://rugs.8bit.co.uk/news.htm).
JN: Brainbench tries to keep
abreast of changes, particularly in the fast-moving
IT area. Do you think we have succeeded in that regard?
And are there areas where you see potential for more
improvement on our side?
SA: I congratulate Brainbench for
keeping up with the pace. Every few months I notice
impressive changes in the test number and quality.
I would especially like to highlight the update modules
[banks of new questions], which are being incorporated
in various tests frequently. That is nothing but a
clear sign of continuous improvement. Beyond this,
I feel that Brainbench has good potential in exploring
ERP related areas, which are nowadays hot.
There are two areas where I think Brainbench
can improve: Beta tests and discussion forums. I feel
Brainbench can do a little more in making their Betas
a faster success, maybe by counting it towards certification
as proctored exams do.
Regarding discussions forums – these
can be very helpful, if used to their potential. In
my personal opinion Brainbench should market their
forums to the fullest (may be a link on the home page)
so that more people could make use of them. I have
already seen some veteran members posting answers
to queries posted by various people.
JN: And what do you
think about the range and diversity of tests we offer
on our site? Do you see value in our offering so many
SA: Certainly yes, the diversity
of tests is something that attracts me a lot. I have
the freedom to test my analytical, managerial and
technical skills. Similarly people from the health
care industry have the freedom to test themselves
in almost anything. Brainbench has tests for people
ranging from a computer operator to top management
Diversity in their testing areas makes
Brainbench an "all-rounder" in this industry.
Diversity can be easily noticed in the inter-test
and intra-test environment. For instance Medical Terminology
and IT terminology represent the scope of the test
library, while tests like Business Fundamentals and
ERP Concepts show diversity within the tests themselves.
JN: Like many other
of our members, you seem pretty happy with the job
roles we have introduced. How have they helped you?
SA: The introduction of job roles
is a fabulous feather in Brainbench’s cap. Job
roles tie down an individual to concentrate on the
skills needed to perform a particular function (may
be the one they are playing, or wish to). I feel job
roles are no less valid than a proctored certification.
JN: And what do you see
as the long-term value as a Brainbench member? Will
you continue to take new certifications in the future?
SA: I have been a member of Brainbench
since 2000, and will continue to benchmark my skills
there in the coming years. Also I feel proud to recommend
Brainbench site to my colleagues and friends.
There are numerous reasons why one would
continue using Brainbench, the simplest one is the
continuous level of change, and Brainbench’s
ability to adapt and incorporate the latest in their
wide range of tests. A dynamic person like me always
likes new challenges, and welcomes the opportunity
to adapt and grow.
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Sumit Amar is a Senior Software Engineer
at Infinite Computer
Solutions (Bangalore, India). He is also an independent
researcher, having been published in leading newspapers
and management and science journals. In addition to
his 177 Brainbench certifications, Sumit has OCP DBA,
SCJP and SCWCD. He has an MBA in IT and Systems. You
can view Sumit's Brainbench transcript here.
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