In the ever proliferating IT industry, certifications are paramount for employment and advancement. There are, however, several hoops and hurdles that can impede a student’s progress. To overcome these hurdles, one must first comprehend the challenges, and then adopt a successful approach to tackling them.

Developing the right habits can help you succeed in business.Developing the following five habits will help any certification candidate get maximum effectiveness out of their study and preparation for certification exams:

Proper Planning and Setting of Goals: Aspiring candidates must first determine what IT specializations are of interest. A wide range of specializations exist from which to choose. They include networking, cyber security, server and desktop infrastructures, private cloud, enterprise devices, apps and a great many more offered by technology companies like Cisco and Microsoft, education and training providers like TestOut Corporation and Certiport, and industry organizations like CompTIA and ISACA. Successful candidates will surf through the available courses paying particular attention to the specific details of what each course covers. Based on personal interest and experience, candidates can then plan their method of study accordingly.

Effective Studying: If studying alone is difficult, then arrange to study with coworkers or other students. You can shoot one another pop-up quizzes and consult on difficult problems. Studying with partners helps you capitalize on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

Having group members who have a variety of experiences meet one another two or three times a week in a library or a quiet restaurant is a great way to share and practice various training options, and will result in an increase in knowledge. Teaching others is a great way to learn yourself. Talking another through how to do something requires you to explain the concepts clearly and helps establish the subject matter in your own mind.

Also, try to find someone who has recently taken the exam you are targeting. Pick their thoughts on what should be studied and take their help on the tough areas.

Comprehensive, well-written study materials are a plus. Large numbers of books can overwhelm a student; use care when selecting them. Group members can also share useful articles, surf through a combination of websites and forums and discuss, motivate and push one another.

Experience and Training: No matter how good a book you consult, or an article you read, there is nothing like getting involved with the product — practical experience is the best way to grasp any subject.

There are as many ways to gain experience as there are certifications. Different ways include volunteering to work for a friend or charitable organization, finding a suitable internship, and calling your family and friends for help. One wonderful way to gain experience is to write articles on the topics you are studying. There are thousands of web-sites in regular need of content; find them and start writing.

You can also investigate instructor-led trainings to ascertain those that are worth your time and money. No doubt books and tools will augment your knowledge, but for some learners, nothing will be as helpful as an authorized instructor sharing his experience and comprehensive skills in a classroom setting.

Practice Exams and Mock Tests are Indispensable: A good set of practice exams is a great way to find out how well the study program has worked for you. It helps you spot your weak areas. Don’t just memorize answers to incorrect test responses, work hard to understand the concept and make it part of your skill-set.

Keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t do to rely on practice exams completely. Real exams can be quite different from mock exams.

Most importantly, don’t cheat in exams. Even if you pass, you will likely find it hard to adjust to the complexities of your job in the long run. This could result in your replacement, or what’s worse, you might cause a big project to flounder and get sacked.

Basics are a Key Ingredient to Becoming an IT Pro: Brevity is the soul of wit; likewise, basics are the soul of certification courses. Certain concepts and principles are used on a daily basis. As an IT professional, you must master these basic principles in order to ensure future success. In crux situations, if you are having difficulties accomplishing a task, sticking to basics is the best possible approach to achieve the desired results.

Besides the above habits, an IT professional must also possess concrete technical skills, the ability to think clearly in crucial situations, and especially be able to communicate effectively. Sharp management skills and problem solving are also major add-ons to help you on the path of creating a charismatic career for yourself — and cracking these certification courses with flying colors.