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Certifying the class of '99
--Remember the terror of your school examinations? Well, they're back.
by Hugh Ashton

Walk-in applicants
Walk-in applicants during
online IT certification testing

More and more companies are demanding certification as a prerequisite for their IT employees. This does not just apply to overseas companies here in Japan. Japanese companies, for so long concerned with recruitment based on background and promotion based on seniority, not achievement, are starting to see the advantages of certification standards such as the Microsoft MSCE program as indicators of an employee's current skill level. Employees, too, find that having official certification on their résumé has more effect than a vague "three years of experience with computers". The bad news is that examinations, like it or not (and who does?) are a part of our lives once again.

Mark Navin, President of Forefront Technologies, headquartered in Shinjuku, provides the counterbalancing good news. "We are now a VUE authorized testing center. This allows anyone to walk in, register, and take any of the examinations in an authorized environment." Just like that. And there's no more nervous waiting for the examination results to drop into the mailbox. "You'll know the results instantly." Furthermore, Navin adds, a full array of translated tests is available. The main demand will of course be for Japanese and English, but other European languages are available for many tests.

Kyle Uphoff, Managing Director of the Asia Pacific operations of VUE, points out that candidates' records are stored in a central database, and can be accessed via a secure Internet connection to testing centers such as that in Forefront Technologies. This VUE database is also updated by, and updates, test vendors' databases (Microsoft and Lucent are currently available in Japan, others to be added soon). Good news for those building a technical career path as they are seconded from office to office with their test results following them around the world.

The VUE technology provides a secure test system; the Testing Center server downloads the tests from the VUE central server, feeding the testing computers themselves with the tests. Elaborate scheduling and cache-flushing mechanisms provide a secure test environment. However, the system is flexible enough to allow easy last-minute postponement or rescheduling, in contrast to other computer testing systems available up to now, where appointments must be made a few days (rather than minutes) in advance, and rescheduling is more difficult.

The end result is that it is now easier than ever before to become fully certified in your chosen field, in your chosen language, without leaving Tokyo, and without having to rearrange your life to do it.

Details of available tests and registration at Forefront Technologies by e-mail to, or call +813-5362-9839. For nationwide information, call VUE's toll-free number at 0120-355-583

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