I had the opportunity to attend Wi-Fi Trek 2019 last week and there were a lot of great sessions. I’ve already covered one of them on my personal blog. But the biggest news came from the mouth of Tom Carpenter himself.
In case you haven’t heard, effective November 1, 2019, CWNP will start charging an application fee of $499 for all CWNE submissions. This fee is due when you submit your paperwork to start the review process. This is on top of the fees required to take the necessary tests to qualify for the CWNE.
Resources And Contention
There was a lot of discussion among the attendees of Wi-Fi Trek as well as those watching along remotely. Tom said that there were quite a few reasons to increase the fees. One of which was to give the opportunity for members of the CWNE Board to attend Trek at no cost. Right now CWNP extends them a free conference pass but doesn’t cover airfare or hotel costs. In the future, the hope is that the revenue from the CWNE fees will allow them to bring the board members to Trek every year.
Another big factor in creating a fee for CWNE submission is to create a barrier to entry for people submitting their applications. Sure, there’s a pretty high wall to climb already having to pass the CWNA, CWDP, CWSP, CWAP, and soon the CWSA as well. You also have to have three years of wireless experience and professional endorsements as well as submitting essays to show your design and documentation process. But just because you do all of those things doesn’t mean you’re ready to get certified.
This is one of the things we see a lot in the CCIE world. Just because you can pass the written exam doesn’t make you qualified to pass the practical lab. And there are already quite a few people that will pay the $1,500 fee to sit the lab knowing they’re going to fail just to see how the process goes. Could you imagine if there was no fee to sit the lab? Or if it was negligible, like $200? The labs would be packed all the time with people just jumping in to see how they could do.
By creating a barrier to entry, CWNP is basically telling people that they need to be ready to submit when they send in their paperwork. Rather than just throwing things at the wall and hoping you get through or having it rejected you’re instead honoring the work of the board members that review the applications. Perhaps this will cut down on the number of people that are submitting and will let the board focus on those that meet a higher quality. Of course, it’s also very possible that people who have their employers paying for it will continue to rush the process and hope they eventually get through after paying $499 several times.
Adding To The Team
One other thing that caught my eye that could help the process is the new link that is used to submit applications. Now, instead of sending everything via email, you go to https://cwne.com/apply and take care of the whole process through that portal. So, how can this help out in the long run?
Think back to adding the fee and how the portal will work together with it to optimize the process. Now you’ll need fewer people monitoring the email address and doing basic checks to ensure all information is there and properly submitted. Because the portal will also keep you up-to-date with where you are in the process, you can see if your application is being reviewed or has been pushed back for various reasons. By freeing up the people that were working on the initial stages of the process you can reassign them to supporting the board for things that could possibly slow them down in the review process.
So, the overall number of applications may go down but the number of individuals certified in a given time period will likely stay the same because of process optimization. And because you can have instant feedback about everything through a web portal you increase candidate satisfaction.
Bringing It All Together
Fees are never fun. You can spend a fortune taking tests and climbing the mountain only to arrive at the last basecamp and find out the next hurdle now includes a cost. But when you look at the number of elite professional certifications in the world that don’t include a fee like this, it’s a small list indeed. CWNP wouldn’t just randomly pull a number like this out of their hat. They’ve done their homework to make it large enough to cover their immediate goals while keeping it low enough to continue to encourage the community to pursue the crown jewel of wireless certification.