Friday, 15 July 2005

Vendor PDAs

I am pleased to let you know that we have five new PDAs linked to Vendor qualifications now available. The awards are:

G7WM 15 Certificate in Computer Support (ComptTIA A+, Network+ and Server+)
G7W4 15 Certificate in Desktop Support (Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician)
G7W5 17 Advanced Cert. in Systems Administration (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator)
G7WP 18 Advanced Diploma in Network Technology (CISCO Certified Network Associate)
G7W6 18 Advanced Diploma in Systems Engineering (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer)
G7WN 17 Advanced Cert. in Database Programming (Oracle Certified Associate)

Please get in touch with myself should you require a copy of the framework for any of these awards. The Unit Specifications are available for download via the SQA website.


  1. Can you please tell me why you have found the need to offer qualifications that are already available for example, people can do the CompTIA A+, NETWORK+ and Server+ exams without signing up to SQA?

  2. There are two main reasons: (1) when colleges start offering these course this autumn they will provide a very cost-effective way of obtaining training in preparation for sitting vendor exams; (2) although vendor certifications are highly regarded by industry, the are not a formal part of the education system and do not give academic credit towards an HNC, HND or degree. A student who completed the SQA Certificate in Computer Support would be prepared for sitting the A+ and Network+ or Server+ exams but they would also have 4 credits - equivalent ot a third of an HNC. They could add to these credit by taking other course, leading to an HNC or HND and eventually a degree.

  3. SQA does not offer these vendor awards. We offer HNCs and HNDs. But we have tried to incorporate vendor certificates within HNC/Ds. This means that students can seek industrial certification at the end of the college courses(if they choose to do so).

  4. Thank you Ted for your explanation. Can you now tell me if a student holds the A+ certificate or Network+ say, can that be taken into account/cross referenced against any of the PDAs?

  5. Credit transfer arrangements are still being finalised, but in principle, someone who holds a vendor certification, such as A+ or Network+ could use it to obtain partial credit against the corresponding SQA unit. The units making up the PDAs are assessed by two components, a multiple-choice test, similar in format to a vendor exam, and a logbook which records the practial work carried out. Someone holding a vendor certification could obtain credit transfer for the multiple choice test component, but would still have to complete the logbook and have it authenticated by a college lecturer or some other appropriate mentor, eg: a workplace supervisor. This is because vendor certifications generally only cover theoretical knowledge and not practical skills. Completion of the logbook would not normally be difficult for anyone who possessed genuine practical skills in the relevant area.

  6. Thanks again Ted. I agree that multiple choice testing by vendors can only test knowledge and not your practical skills but CompTIA do insist that you have had at least 6 months practical experience before sitting the exam. Sounds a good Unit to do and look forward to further progress at your end.