Chidi Okwudire IT Professional. ERP Enthusiast. NetSuite Certified (Administrator, SuiteCloud Developer II, and ERP Consultant). Celigo Certified (Level 4+). Passionate About Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing. Always Eager to Learn.

Certification Insight #5: To be “certiFIVEd” or not to be “certiFIVEd”?

3 min read

Last updated on March 8, 2023.

Less is more.”

Robert Browning

If you’ve been following this series, hopefully, it has helped you so far to figure out why you want to get NetSuite certified (or why not to), as well as to think a bit more critically about the real and perceived added value of certification to your career as a NetSuite professional. In this post, I’ll like to address a growing trend in the NetSuite community: Getting “certiFIVEd”. So what’s that? Glad you asked!

What does it mean to be “certiFIVEd”?

I had never heard of the term “certiFIVEd” until it started popping up quite often in my LinkedIn feed as folks celebrated having obtained “all” available NetSuite certifications. You might also come across the term “fullhouse” to describe the same idea.

At first, it sounded cool to me until I thought about it some more and it became obvious to me that this is a misplaced priority.

As a refresher, NetSuite offers two certification tracks: The Administrator track and the Users’ track.

In the rest of this article, we’ll refer to the Administrator track as the (NetSuite) Professionals’ track to avoid confusing it with the NetSuite Administrator certification which is part of the same track.

NetSuite certification tracks
NetSuite Certification tracks

Note: The above images were from an earlier version of the official NetSuite certification page but got removed when the page layout was updated. Sadly, the new layout makes the distinction between professional-level and user-level certifications less obvious. Also, the SuiteCloud Developer II has now been replaced by two new certifications.

There are five certifications in the Professionals’ track, namely SuiteCloud Foundation which is a requisite for the other four: Administrator, ERP Consultant, Application Developer, and Web Services Developer. (SuiteCloud Developer II got discontinued in February 2023 and SuiteCommerce Developer got discontinued in March 2020 possibly to be reinstated at a future date.) Based on the descriptions on the NetSuite certifications website, these certifications are clearly intended for individuals who are pursuing careers as NetSuite professionals.

On the other hand, NetSuite offers two user certifications – SuiteAnalytics User and Financials User – which, as the name of the track suggests, are geared towards NetSuite users who want to broaden their knowledge and establish their position as super users. These would typically be end-users at a NetSuite client who work actively with NetSuite not as professionals but as key users.

Do you want to become a NetSuite Professional or NetSuite Superuser?

Clearly, these two tracks are intended for two different sets of individuals. You might still be wondering what being “certiFIVEd” is all about especially since there are seven (not five) certifications in total. Good question. Based on those who have conferred this unofficial title on themselves on LinkedIn, you become “certiFIVEd” when you obtain the following five certifications: SuiteCloud Foundation, Administrator, ERP Consultant, SuiteAnalytics User, and Financials User. Basically, you require 3 of the Professionals’ and both User certifications to become “certiFIVEd”. I guess the idea is then that you’re more grounded in NetSuite?! Well, that sounds like nonsense. Ironically, the developer certifications are left out of the party. Perhaps, it’s because “certiSEVENed” does not sound as nice… or maybe it’s because the developer certification track is recognized (rightly so) as a specialty that is not for everyone – though the same argument can be made of the ERP Consultant certification…

Don’t take it from me though, check it out for yourself: Head over to the NetSuite certification website and check the recommended trainings for the SuiteAnalytics User and Financials User certifications. Then check those for the ERP Consultant certification. What did you see? The recommended trainings for the user certifications are all included in the recommended trainings for the ERP consultant certification!

So, if you’re already a certified ERP Consultant or planning to become one, you have no business bothering with the end-user certifications. It’s either you want to be known as NetSuite Professional or as a NetSuite User. Don’t go for both. It just makes one question if you really know what you’re doing.

Interestingly, only about 1 in 3 of the survey respondents so far know this fact:

Is Oracle NetSuite indirectly fanning this “certiFIVEd” hype?

I find it ironical that the “certiFIVEd” trend is strongly coming from NetSuite employees. I did a quick check and pretty much all my LinkedIn connections who got “certiFIVEd” work at Oracle NetSuite. Apparently, someone within the NetSuite organization isn’t paying much attention to their own certification program structure. Bear in mind also that NetSuite employees probably have unpaid or highly discounted access to the trainings (and possibly exams). So for them, getting “certiFIVEd” is way easier than for non-NetSuite employees. It’s not a level playing field and, in my opinion, you should not get bought into this hype. And if you’re a hiring manager, the next time you meet a certified individual, don’t get overly excited. Less is likely more in this case.

So, to summarize: To be “certiFIVEd” or not to be “certiFIVEd”… That’s really an easy question. One of my LinkedIn connections, who worked at Oracle NetSuite at the time, had this to say when he got “certiFIVED” recently: “Utterly pointless, yet strangely rewarding :)”. I couldn’t say it better. So if, like me, you’re leaning to the utterly pointless side, do something more useful with your time and money. But if you find the strangely rewarding feeling more important, go for it.

What respondents have to say

Here are some more snippets from the survey results so far (see link at the end of this post on how to unlock the full real-time results of this perpetual survey). Clearly, opinions are divided on the matter.

The intention of this article is not to shame anyone who got certiFIVEd. Depending on one’s career path, getting certiFIVEd might have even come naturally – starting off as a NetSuite superuser thus getting the User certifications and then moving on to the NetSuite professional track and getting the certifications there. That’s perfectly fine and you should be proud of your achievements! This discourse is primarily to help those who haven’t thought things through and are about to follow the herd because “certiFIVEd” sounds nice. Hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought. You be the judge. After all, it’s your time, your money, and ultimately, your decision.

Now you know that you don’t need all available certifications, the next logical question is: Which ones do I really need? I cover that in my next post in the series.

The insights in this article represent the views of the author, who, by the way, holds multiple NetSuite certifications. However, the perpetual certification survey that’s been running since January 2021 reflects the collective thinking of the community on the subject matter.

Our hope is that the combination of both resources will provide you with a balanced view. Take the today! Once completed, you’ll unlock the anonymized aggregated survey results with nice charts and stats. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our NetSuite Insights newsletter and email notifications when we publish new insights.

Other Articles in the NetSuite Certification Series

Chidi Okwudire IT Professional. ERP Enthusiast. NetSuite Certified (Administrator, SuiteCloud Developer II, and ERP Consultant). Celigo Certified (Level 4+). Passionate About Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing. Always Eager to Learn.