Why Did I Pass My First 100 Professional Certifications – with Emilio Da Silva

by Mirek Burnejko

Emilio Da SilvaThis is an interview with Emilio Da Silva. Emilio is a great expert focused on Huawei, HP and Apple technologies. I’ve never met a person who works as much as Emilio.

In this interview you will find:

  • Why Emilio decided to invest his time into partner certifications?
  • Is it possible to earn money with certifications?
  • What if you work for an end customer?

Let’s jump into the detail…

Mirek Burnejko: It’s good to have you back here Emilio. Tell us something about you and what do you do for the living?

Emilio Da Silva: Firstly it is great to be back here. I have been following your website on a regular basis and appreciate what you are doing for the IT community as a whole.

I currently run an IT consulting firm here in Vancouver called Little Red Book IT Services. I consult with major companies and focus primarily on Huawei, HP and Apple equipment. We are able to handle other vendors of course, but as per my “niche” strategy there are not many people around my area who can handle these vendors to the degree many enterprises and SMBs would like.

In particular I have won numerous awards for my Apple related work and continue to be the technical consultant with the top metrics.


MB: We had an interview two years ago. Tell my what have changed since 2011?

ES: Two years ago I was focusing on getting my IP networking abilities to be where I thought I needed them to be in order to be competitive. One of the key areas of growth is of course security. Since 2011 we have had so many things happen in this area, I have found it is the one area I am truly passionate about.

I have spoken at several universities and colleges in the area here in Vancouver as well as a couple in China about how important this topic is becoming. Did you know that the world economy is slowing because there are not enough security experts? I was shocked when I found that out.

I am working on my computer forensics degree at BCIT currently to gain more insight to this fascinating subject.

As far as certifications go I have leveraged many partners that both my company has and my school works with. It has worked out very well so far.

MB: We are here to talk about certification dedicated for Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, You-Name-It partners. Tell us first about the number of your
partner certifications and what’s your main goal with passing them?

I have worked with the following companies and trained for the following number of certifications:

  • Brocade – 28
  • VMware – 23
  • Polycom – 18
  • Alcatel-Lucent – 12
  • Fortinet – 2
  • Microsoft – 4
  • HP – 6
  • Dell – 2

As of one week ago I have broken 100 IT certifications.

MB: How about other certifications? Do you concentrate only on certifications for partners?

ES: As Microsoft is updating their suite of certifications again, I am finishing my MCITP for both SQL Server 2008 and Server 2008. Also I need to finish one exam for the Linux+ from CompTIA. Some more HP exams are next on my list after that.

MB: Do you think it’s possible to build a some kind of business around certifications for partners? Pay me $XXX and I will pass 20 certifications required for a partnership.

ES: When you have a partnership with a company they require a certain number of people to have certification and maintain it. As such when you build your business it is possible to have partners encourage you by offering you incentives on products and other bonuses. Keeping your certifications valid is quite a bit of work and most companies know that.

MB: What is you process for learning to these exams and passing them?

ES: I watch the training videos and take notes. After, I go through and condense them to very quick points. I take those, study and then do the exam.

MB: Do you think a person who works for an end client or for a vendor can also benefit passing these certifications?

ES: If I can give any advice to anybody out there. Research your company and their partners. Talk to the partners and their representatives. Even if you are on your break, go and improve yourself by completing them. Employers love certifications because it shows effort and I believe if done properly validation of valuable skills as well.

MB: Do you have plan for any other certifications? How do you want to use them in you professional career?

ES: I love CompTIA. They just came out with their Mobility+ beta today, which I will be taking on monday next week. I have my last CompTIA one for Linux+ as well. I will use these as a strong vendor neutral base to build up from there. I have my 70-432 to go do before July 31st, this will get me my SQL 2008 MCITP. There are not very many database admins in Vancouver so I want to join the ranks of competent ones.

MB: I know you are also help companies like Huawei, Apple or CompTIA.What are your working on right now and what are your goals for the future?

ES: My school is a CompTIA academy, I am looking at brining academic pricing for all students who take computing courses. I also would like to join the SME program and contribute for all the help CompTIA has given me in my career.

For Huawei I visited them last summer. I beta tested their Enterprise Network Simulator platform (eNSP) and found that to be a useful training tool.

For Apple, we are working on updating the iOS technical training to a certification. Stay tuned on that, it will be exciting for sure.

Emilio and Huawei

MB: Thank you so much Emilio for your time. Tell us what is the best place to contact with you or follow you activities.

ES: I love meeting new people, my LinkedIN is the easy way to ask me a question or to stop by and say hello.

[This is part of the Interviews with IT Pros Series]