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 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, etc.

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 life.

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 and academicians.

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

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 different tests?

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 executive.

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.

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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BenchPress is a monthly publication brought to you by Brainbench.
As a leading provider of skills measurement solutions, Brainbench provides individuals
and businesses with online assessments and certifications of more than 425 skills today.

BenchPress is a monthly publication brought to you by Brainbench.

As a leading provider of skills measurement solutions, Brainbench provides individuals
and businesses with online assessments and certifications of more than 600 skills today.