The IT world keeps changing and growing, and IT certifications keep changing and growing right along with it. The more I look around in fact, the more adds and changes I keep finding out about. Today I'd like to introduce you to some new programs and credentials already available, and upcoming changes and additions to the certification landscape coming down the pike this year. I’ll divide the story by that distinction -- what’s here vs. what’s coming -- then march through offerings by vendor or sponsor affiliations in alphabetical order. Buckle up, here we go!
What’s New and Here
In the following list you’ll find names for, descriptions of, and links to a sizable number of newly-issued IT certification credentials.
1. Cloud-Institute: An Open Assessment Plus Two Cloud Certs
A provider of vendor-neutral and online cloud computing credentials, the Cloud Institute currently offers the Cloud Open Exam (COE), a free self-assessment of cloud skills and knowledge. They also offer two cloud-focused certifications: the Certified Cloud Architect (CCA) and the Certified Cloud Professional (CCP). These should be of broad and general interest to IT professionals of all stripes, where the architect credential focuses on design and implementation of cloud computing services, and the professional credential on basic understanding of cloud computing concepts, technologies, and models.
2. Digium: Two Asterisk Certs for General and Platform-Specific PBX/VoIP Topics
Asterisk is a full-blown software implementation of a telephone private branch exchange (aka PBX) developed by Mark Spencer of Digium in 1999. Asterisk is available both in free (Gnu Public License) and proprietary forms, integrates a broad range of VoIP protocols and services, and is widely used around the world. Digium offers classes and two Asterisk certifications: the Digium Certified Asterisk Administrator (dCAA) and the Digium Certified Asterisk Professional (dCAP). The dCAA focuses on installing, configuring and maintaining an Asterisk server; the dCAP on basic Asterisk and PBX skills and knowledge.
3. D-Link: A Full Cert Program, But So Far, Only Available to Employees and Partners
Earlier this year, D-Link, a networking equipment vendor, introduced a full blown multi-tiered cert program that was initially piloted in Australia (and only available in that country). Now, some of its credentials are available in North America and elsewhere around the world, but only to D-Link employees and partners (see the Registration page for details). The D-Link Academy program includes three levels of certification: a single entry-level D-Link Network Associate (DNA), followed by up to 5 D-Link Certified Specialist (DCS) or Sales Specialist (DSS) credentials, and 5 D-Link Certified Professional (DCP) credentials. The five areas are the same for the higher level program elements: Switching, Security, Wireless, IP Surveillance, and Storage. I hope D-Link opens this program to the general public, because it appears to cover content that’s of great general interest and possible use.
4. F5: New Administrator Credential
F5 is a well-known maker of WAN optimization, application delivery, and routing gear, and has operated a multi-tiered certification program for some time. The administrator level credential is called BIG-IP Administrator, and focuses on day-to-day management of multi-vendor Application Delivery Networks based on the F5 TMOS operating system, with an emphasis on troubleshooting, problem assessment, and interaction with support specialists to address and solve problems and issues. For more information see the course descriptions for the two required administrator courses: Administering BIG-IP and Troubleshooting BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
5. Microsoft Now Certifies Educators, Too!
Earlier this year, MS launched its Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) program, which seeks to equip classroom instructors in primary and secondary education with the skills and knowledge to make effective use of computing technology in the classroom. It’s based on the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT stands for Information and Communications Technologies), in the Technology Literacy area. The program covers six content areas including: education policy, curriculum and assessment, pedagogy, ICT/technology tools, organization and administration, and professional development.
6. Riverbed Adds Two New Stingray Credentials
Outside of its active Wireshark training and certification program, Riverbed also offers a multi-tiered set of certification offerings for WAN Optimization, Network Performance, and Application Delivery platforms. A Solutions Associate credential in any of these areas generally sets the stage for a follow-on Solutions Professional credential. Of these, the Application Delivery credentials are new, and support the company’s new Stingray application delivery platform. These are called Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate – Application Delivery (RCSA-AD) and Riverbed Certified Solutions Professional – Application Delivery (RCSP-AD), respectively.
7. Ruijie: Chinese Network Solutions Providers Offers 5 Credentials
Chinese network equipment and solutions vendor Ruijie hits the stage with a three-tiered “certification system” clearly modeled on Cisco’s career certifications. The RCNA (Ruijie Certified Network Associate) forms the bottom of the pyramid, the RCNP (Ruijie Certified Network Professional) the middle, and the RCIE (Ruijie Certified Internetwork Expert) the apex. Its other certifications aim at instructors for the RCNA and RCNP curriculum elements.
8. Tenable: Nessus and Other Security Certs
Tenable Network Security is well-known as the maker of the popular and widely-used Nessus security scanner, but the company also offers a range of security monitoring and management tools. Their certification program currently embraces three credentials: the Tenable Certified Nessus Auditor (TCNA), the Tenable Certified Security Engineer (TCSE), and the Tenable Certified Log Manager (TCLM). The TCSE covers Nessus and SecurityCenter, while the TCLM covers Tenable’s Log Correlation Engine. Tenable uses online exam delivery company ProctorU to deliver its exams online (at pretty reasonable prices, too), so you don’t have to visit a Prometric or VUE testing center to earn a Tenable cert, either.
9. SIP School: Two Certs for VoIP Protocols and Services
SIP School is a purveyor of vendor-neutral SIP (the Session Initiation Protocol upon which VoIP and many real-time communications services rest) training and certification. This organization offers two credentials: the SIP School Certified Associate (SSCA) and SIP School Voice and Video over IP Professional (VVoIP) certifications. The associate credential teaches SIP concepts and technologies, while the professional credential seeks to provide “a good understanding of LANs, WANs, and VVoIP.”
10. Websense covers Web security, email security, mobile security and data loss prevention
The company also offers a pair of substantial training and certification programs: one for clients or users of Websense products and solutions, and another for its employees and partners. I’ll cover only the outward facing client program here. It currently embraces three credentials: Websense Certified Gateway Anywhere (WSGA Professional), Websense Certified Email Security Gateway Anywhere (ESGA Professional), and Websense Certified Data Security Suite (DSS Professional).
Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the , who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.
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