Secrets to CTS-D Success

Published: 2024-02-21

When I sat down to write this piece, I initially thought to myself, “Lead with the stats.” But we all already know that, if you’re any version of a minority within AV, you’re more than likely underrepresented in this space. We all already know the numbers. So, to kick off 2024, I am on a mission to change the narrative. I want to connect with as many unfamiliar faces in our industry as I possibly can. I want to amplify new voices and new perspectives, and hopefully create new opportunities for all of us. This year, I will work even harder to celebrate my peers in every way I can. 

Uptick in Certification Announcements 

Toward the end of 2023, I noticed an uptick in the number of people announcing they’d obtained their CTS-D certification. I was happy to celebrate with all of them. In fact, in most cases, I was ecstatic — as though I had gotten my own CTS certification. Although I haven’t yet stepped to the challenge myself, I know how much weight a CTS cert of any kind holds within the pro AV industry. 

To keep the celebration going, I figure I would place the spotlight on some industry rockstars who might not boast about their successes as much as they should. Case in point: Gladys Marroquin, whom many of you may know as a Commercial Integrator 40 Under 40 Class of 2022 honoree. Alternatively, you might have worked alongside her in her role as an AV consultant at Newcomb & Boyd. 

Either way, if you’re in pro AV, Gladys Marroquin is a professional you need to know. Every time I speak with her, I learn something new. I hope that, by reading this piece, you’ll learn something, too. 

Although she has served in a consultant role for the last four years, Marroquin got her start in AV working as a field tech at her alma mater, the University of Florida. “Working there gave me end user, AV support and AV maintenance experience,” she states. “I got to see how valuable AV was for organizations such as universities.” Day in and day out, Marroquin continued to perfect her craft, not even realizing that there was career potential in AV. Then, opportunity knocked. “A colleague of mine informed me about a couple openings at Waveguide,” she recalls.  

Each Application is Unique 

Gladys Marroquin, CTS-DDesigning an audiovisual system is never an easy task. Each venue is different, and each application is unique. Each client has their own set of use cases they’re looking to implement. That’s why many end users look to consultants: They can help envision and implement the proper strategy to achieve the client’s needs. “My unique approach — and Newcomb & Boyd’s unique approach — is understanding and advocating for our clients, as well as a mix of other strategies,” Marroquin describes. “We help to manifest architects and owners’ visions for their spaces.” 

According to Marroquin, Newcomb & Boyd’s strong relationships with design teams in the south have catapulted the consultancy into conversations early. And Newcomb & Boyd’s commitment to thorough coordination and due diligence further cements the organization as a trusted, valued partner. As Marroquin puts it, “Our continued focus on maintaining high quality work and strong relationships have made us extremely valuable partners.” She underscores, however, that the sooner her team and she are brought into these conversations, the better the systems will be. 

The conclusion is clear: By pairing trust with a clear strategy, Marroquin and her team deliver tremendous work for clients consistently.  

Certification Means Leveling Up 

A CTS-D certification is not required in a design role, but it’s a huge boost to one’s career. Recently, Newcomb & Boyd, as well as many others, celebrated Marroquin obtaining her CTS-D. Few people have earned the CTS-D — and certainly few women have. And that’s one reason, as a woman in technology, I feel it’s worth trumpeting. After all, we’re always striving to blaze our own path and set ourselves apart, right? 

When I ask Marroquin whether she feels the CTS-D will help elevate her career, she replies, “I strongly believe it will.” She adds, “Even though I’m not a fan of standardized tests, I am aware of the prestige it holds within our industry.” The CTS-D, she says, attests to the fact that the recipient has the technical chops to successfully see an AV project through from beginning to end. It also speaks to the recipient’s understanding of industry best practices. 

Now, Marroquin has all the bragging rights. Her work, of course, speaks for itself. But now, she also has the cert and the experience to stand with the best of the best. 

One of the Few 

Earning a CTS-D was a long-term dream for Marroquin. But, as she observes, “A dream does not become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Now, all the hard work has paid off. 

But make no mistake: It wasn’t easy. “Being a busy consultant made it difficult to even try to study,” Marroquin expressed. “I also hate failure, and I get a lot of anxiety over the possibility of failing at something that I know I should be good at.” After a couple of years, she was finally able to set aside some time to study a few hours a day, cramming in as much knowledge as possible. Her colleagues proved indispensable, as they offered encouragement and support throughout. “They helped push me to set a date,” she recalls. “Once a hard deadline was in place, I knew I had to fully commit to taking the test — pass or fail.” 

Hard-Won Advice 

If a CTS certification of any kind is a long-term goal of yours, it’s wise to take hard-won advice from those who have already earned theirs. Marroquin, for instance, reveals some recent changes with the CTS-D exam. “They’ve reorganized some of the categories and the percentages of questions per category on the exam,” she explains. “So, review those changes ASAP, if you haven’t already.” She also strongly suggests getting the latest edition of the AVIXA CTS-D book and giving it a read. “It’s a pretty thick book,” she says. “So, try to digest it in chunks that make the most sense to you. It can easily become overwhelming.” 

Continuing with certification advice, Marroquin suggests that, if you have access to the AVIXA standards documents, you should download them and read up on the standards, as well. You heard it here first, folks! 

Twenty-twenty-four will be a year of wins. If you’re setting out to obtain a CTS, let’s get to work! Know the community is here to support you! 

Did you or someone you know recently earn their CTS-D? Please write to me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I’d love to share your story. 

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