During the COVID-19 pandemic, India went into lockdown. Anand Munuswamy Sachudanand, CTS®, Program Manager, Sigma-Jones AV LLP, Sigma AVIT Group, used this time to study for his CTS exam. As soon as the nearest testing center opened, he registered to take the exam and became the first person in India to earn his CTS after the lockdown was lifted. We were able to reach out to him and hear his story.
Could you tell us a bit about your work history?
I have 26 years of work experience in the field of telecommunication technologies from small, to large telephone exchanges such as first generation (1G) to fourth generation (4G LTE) of wireless/mobile phone system technologies and value-added service products.
I have worked in the Indian telephone industry, SASKEN Communication, Samsung Electronics (South Korea) and NORTEL Networks (Canada).
My skill sets include installation and commissioning, testing, maintenance, material, vendor, people, and project management. In the past I have established and maintained large telecom R&D labs for product verification and validation.
Since March 2019, I have been employed as Program Manager at Sigma-Jones AV LLP, a healthcare focused company that provides high end medical systems integration technology as an entity of the esteemed Sigma AVIT Group.
What motivated you to earn your CTS credential?
Since I joined Sigma AVIT, I was absorbed in a world of wanting to learn, as the organization encourages its employees to focus on and upgrade their skills. They do this by sponsoring employees to take up certification programs and travel to various trade shows.
This added a lot of value to our appraisals and more importantly this helps the organization to develop a strong team that is well informed of the technologies and trends prevailing in the AV industry. I feel this has given Sigma AVIT an edge over others in the domain. Since I always want to learn and was new to the AV industry, I grabbed this opportunity and it really motivated me to get my certified technology specialist™ (CTS). The AVIXA® team had organized a CTS Prep course in December last year, during which I set my goal to take the exam in six months’ time. I was able to expand my knowledge and build up my confidence to take the exam.
Who encouraged you to earn your CTS?
Without a doubt, the directors of my organization are instrumental in this. Not only with me, but I see that the culture of Sigma AVIT is such that they create an environment for its people to develop skills and acquire knowledge that enables the individual to easily move on to the next level.
The local AVIXA team shared with me that many students have passed the exam. These words kept me going and lead me to earning my CTS.
What goals do you hope to achieve now that you have your CTS credential?
To begin with, I plan to practice what I have learned in the process of preparing for the certification. I also wish to be instrumental in sharing the knowledge I have gained with my colleagues, who are also preparing for their certification.
More importantly, this has given me a platform to take a crack at my CTS-D, CTS-I, and Project Management Professional (PMP) as well.
What did your pathway to the CTS credential look like and what challenges did you face, especially during the COVID crisis?
I had started preparing in March 2019 and kept going through the AVIXA online courses: Quick Start to AV Industry, Essentials of AV Technology and CTS Prep. But throughout the course of the year and the COVID-19 outbreak, I gained more time to take notes, revise and prepare myself, and become more confident to take the test.
During the pandemic, I was working from home and utilizing my time to pursue my passion for learning.
I was encouraged by my children and wife; they didn’t trouble me. They played a great role in keeping me focused on my goal, which was to score a 450 and I am quite content with 452.
I completed AVIXA-Recognized AV Technologist tests multiple times to be consistent with my learnings. My primary focus was to understand the concept behind the lessons and research other websites for reference.
My wife was concerned with me coming into contact, as I was taking my exam close to the containment zone. I had scouted out the Pearson VUE center to make sure the IDs were accepted and how safe it was to take the exams.
I anticipated the questions would be easier, like the ones I had practiced in the AVIXA online courses, but they were not so. Some were a bit more complex in terms of combining two concepts. I ended up spending a bit more time than I had thought I would take on them.
There is a feeling of contentment now that the test is done.
What advice would you give to those trying to earn their CTS?
During the exam, patience is key! Prepare yourself by understanding the concepts, subjects, and the format of the test. Go beyond what is given in the course, it will help to get into details and experience the different concepts. Learn to co-relate with what you study and the actual condition onsite. Take up mock exams on the Pearson VUE website and become familiar with the exam screen.
Don’t get distracted from fears you may encounter and face the obstacles!
Prepare well and thoroughly.
My opinion is that whether you prepare for CTS or not, driven by needs learning in AV never ends due to dynamics in technology, environment, and content. You can earn your CTS if you have that type of thought process in you. Concentrate on the process by covering all the concepts and you will reach your goal.