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Table 1 presents a list of certifications that I situate within the proper domain of Web certification, per se. Following the table, I provide some additional analysis, competitive rankings, and information that individuals considering such certifications should consider when choosing one such program over another.

Table 1 Web Certifications Proper








Brainbench Certified Internet Professional (BCIP)


Web Administrator

Web Developer

Web Designer

Electronics Technicians Association

Certified Web Specialist certification/cws/cws_comp.htm

Global Knowledge


Web Developer


International Webmasters Association


Certified Web Professional (CWP) Program

Master Certified Web Professional (MCWP) Program

National Association of Communication Systems Engineers (NACSE)


NACSE Web Technician (NWT)

NACSE Certified WebMaster (NCW) whois/cert/web/ncw.htm

Prosoft Training








Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) Program

CIW Associate

CIW Professional

Master CIW Designer

Master CIW Administrator

Master CIW Enterprise Developer

Master CIW Web Site Manager

CIW Security Analyst


i-net Site Designer

World Organization of Webmasters (WOW)









WOW Certification Program

WOW Certified Associate Webmaster (CAW)


WOW Certified Web Designer Associate (CWDSA)


WOW Certified Web Developer Associate (CWDVA)


WOW Certified Web Administrator Associate (CWAA)


WOW Certified Professional Web Administrator (CPWA)


WOW Certified Professional Web Developer (CPWDV)


WOW Certified Professional Web Designer (CPWD)


Within the Web category proper, there are certainly plenty of certifications to choose from. Of late, it seems that those from—namely, the Certified Internet Webmaster family of certifications—are attracting the most serious interest and attention. Prosoft indicates that the size of its certified population (the number of individuals holding at least one CIW certification) exceeds 30,000. By the numbers, this makes the CIW program the biggest and most successful of its type. Prosoft also does an excellent job of supporting its certification exams with related classroom and online training offerings, including partnerships with some of the biggest training companies and organizations, and is starting to develop an aftermarket in the form of trade publications for specific exams as well as practice tests for such exams.

Programs that originate with Web industry associations—such as those from the International Webmasters Association (IWA)—come next in this hierarchy of Web-centric certifications. With sizable memberships and reasonably complete certification programs, they have much to offer Web professionals by way of competency and skills testing. Unlike the Prosoft offerings, however, they are not as completely or thoroughly backed by training, and have not developed much of an aftermarket following. The offerings from NACSE are likewise well designed and thought out, and fit into this second tier of Web certifications (at least, as I see them) as does the offering from the Electronics Technicians Association.

Vendor programs—such as those from Macromedia, Microsoft, Oracle, and so forth—tend to focus more on development topics than on Web basics. When they do focus on Web-centric topics, many succumb to coverage that also focuses on their particular technologies, authoring tools, and so forth. That said, in organizations that adopt such tools and technologies, such certifications can be quite valuable. Apply the same logic to choosing these as you would to choosing developer certifications (discussed at length in the next section of this article).

Training company offerings—such as those from Global Knowledge and Sysoft (among others)—fall into their own special category. Though well supported with training materials and classes (some might argue that their certifications exist to help them sell more training), these certifications represent the efforts of a less-than-disinterested commercial venture, rather than the efforts of a presumably vendor-neutral professional or industry association. Of course, Prosoft's offerings belong to this category as well, so this is no argument against market uptake or success.

Finally, Brainbench certifications are fairly unique, in being low-cost, mostly entry-level certifications (though some can be quite advanced). Many employers use Brainbench exams to double-check employee or candidate expertise on a broad range of topics. The company offers its own Brainbench Certified Internet Professional (BCIP) program that covers a variety of Web certifications. Although I am unable to obtain figures on the number of individuals who’ve received these certifications, I recommend Brainbench certifications as a good way to get started in just about any technical field, as a kind of warm-up exercise.

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