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A Look at the CDIA+ Certification


September 1, 2004

A smaller, but growing field is document imaging and management. One may be considering why document imaging and management work is growing and becoming more and more necessary. Undeniably, we all know that many areas of personal and professional life have a string of paperwork and records attached to them. With the digital imaging capabilities, plus the growing sizes of databases and information management systems, putting these many important documents and records into a digital form and storage medium is an effective and secure way of storing these documents.

Documents age, and physical document storage areas grow as well. Think of a doctor's office where records must be kept for the duration of a patient's association with the doctor. Think of all the mission-critical business and tax documents corporations must contain for lengthy periods of time. Also, consider how digitized storage of documentation could save physical space along with the advantages of backups and security. If businesses lose these mission-critical documents, it can be devastating. With fire, weather, employee error, or sabotage any of these critical documents can be destroyed. This is where an effective document imaging and management system can save the day.

Where does one build the credentials for this small, but growing, area? CompTIA has joined with industry leaders and document imaging and management professionals to build a vendor-neutral certification named the Certified Document and Imaging Architect (CDIA+) certification, which verifies a document imaging and management skills baseline.

The CDIA+ Certification

Passing this exam certifies an individual to plan, design, and specify a solid document imaging and management system for a business. CompTIA states that this certification grew in popularity by 63% between 2001 and 2003. Also, large corporations, such as Xerox, Ricoh, and Canon, are beginning to require their document management professionals to have a CDIA+ certification. There is only one required exam to pass, and there are 85 multiple choice questions on this exam. There is a 90-minute time period, with a 30-minute extension to this for any whose primary language is not English, and a passing score of 700 out of a 100-900 scale must be attained.

What's on the CDIA+ Exam?

What is it that one must master in order to pass the CDIA+ certification exam? The following table breaks down the domains in the CDIA+ exam and the percentage each of these domains makes of the entire exam:

Domain % of Examination
1.0 Gather Business Requirements 25%
2.0 Analyze Business Process 22%
3.0 Recommend Solution 16%
4.0 Design Solution 24%
5.0 Plan for the Implementation 13%

Let's take a brief look at the items in each of the CDIA+ exam's domains. We will have only a brief look at the contents of this exam, be sure to visit www.comptia.com for a full listing of the CDIA+ objectives. Also, be sure to periodically visit any objectives list for an exam you are preparing for because objectives can and do change without much notice.

Domain 1—Gather Business Requirements

In this domain you will have well over 30 objectives to comprehend. In a nutshell, you can expect questions on the following items:

  • Identifying the problem and the business's needs to remedy the problem.
  • Determining what your human resource needs are to accomplish the business's goals.
  • Determining a project timeline.
  • Establishing any system and security needs.
  • Determining current document quantities and potential query and storage needs for those documents.
  • Deciding output and potential paper needs for creating physical documents.

You may also notice that there is a mix of general project management duties in this domain, as well as other CDIA+ domains. The following requirements are some general project management duties you will see in many areas outside of document imaging and management work found in Domain One:

  • Define a problem and a goal for fixing the problem.
  • Establish a project timeline.
  • Produce workflow processes.
  • Build project acceptance procedures.
  • Establish sign-off procedures.
  • Determine and gather human resource needs.

With over 30 objectives to consider, be sure to carefully read through the objectives on the CompTIA Web site because many different types of activities are examined in this domain.

Domain 2—Analyze Business Process

This domain starts off by examining your ability to meet with various business managers and determine the business's goals and expectations in terms of time, results, and ROI. You will also be expected to closely assess current business processes and culture to determine patterns, needs, and establish baselines for future fixes you will propose. You will also need to be able to assess current processes and technologies to see if a fix is viable with existing resources. This is critical because you will also be expected to manage cost structures for the project.

Domain 3—Recommend Solution

In this domain, you focus solely on steps taken to determine the optimal solution and getting "buy-in" from your client. First, you will be expected to identify multiple solutions based on various, realistic business scenarios. From these solutions, you will need to quantify the financial, technological, and training impact for each solution. Also, you will need to demonstrate that you can propose an optimal solution based on benefits and ROI compared to current processes and get client committal to the proposed optimal solution.

Domain 4—Design Solution

This domain is rather large, with nearly 30 items to master, and it is the most technical of the domains so far. In this domain, you will be examined on your abilities with the technical needs that a proposed solution will use. Items include necessary hardware, software, networking capabilities, database space and indexing needs, user interfaces, backup and recovery steps, integration of legacy systems, and determine any necessary network architecture changes, to name a few. Many items exist here that have a technical nature, so if the technical side of document imaging and management is not your strong suit, be prepared to spend some time here understanding these items.

Domain 5—Plan for the Implementation

In this domain, you will be tested on your knowledge of developing an implementation plan that will include a timeline, objectives, and quality assurance. You will be expected to know how to assess and determine the needs for change management as well as training needs for the people who will implement the solution and maintain the solution upon completion. Lastly, you will be examined on your knowledge of securing client agreement and acceptance to the implementation phase.

Important CDIA+ Facts

Now that you have a general idea of what content you will find on the CDIA+ exam, here are some facts you need to know as you prepare for and take the CDIA+ exam:

  • The exam is offered through both VUE and Prometric testing centers. To schedule an exam, visit either www.vue.com or www.prometric.com for details.
  • The exam code for the CDIA+ VUE or Prometric that you will need is 225-020.
  • No prerequisites exist for the CDIA+, but CompTIA suggests that you have passed or have equivalent experience from the Network+ and Project+ exams CompTIA also offers. As we have just seen in the domain run-downs, there are certainly strong technological and project management components to the CDIA+ course.
  • If you have a disability, be sure to contact your testing center at least 30 days ahead of time and have your disability documentation read so they can make appropriate accommodations.
  • Exam prices are dependent on your membership status with CompTIA, any group discounts you may be able to find, and your business's membership status with CompTIA. The price for a single, non-member person is $225.00 as of this writing.

Conclusions

While the document imaging and management field is still small, the 63% growth rate noted by CompTIA in their CDIA+ testing volume indicates that a future in this field is growing. Companies will certainly need ways to digitally store and manage the many documents they inevitably will accumulate, and more and more trained CDIA+ professionals are becoming the people these businesses turn to. As you study, be sure you have several books and learning resources because you will be able to gain insights from multiple authors. Also be sure to take lots of practice tests before you sit the real exam. This is a fantastic way to build your confidence and highlight any lingering weak areas you have.

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