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15+ Storage Certifications to Help Advance Your IT Career

15+ Storage Certifications to Help Advance Your IT Career
By , Earl Follis

Looking to start or advance your career in storage? Here are the 17 most popular credentials ideal for those aspiring to be storage specialists, administrators and engineers.

Remember when storage was considered a sufficiently stealthy IT niche that not many people knew much about? We used to refer to storage admins and architects as DC ninjas, because their jobs seemed shrouded in secrecy and they tended to operate only inside the dark confines of the data center.

Today, storage administration is no longer a dark art. It is officially out of the shadows and is now so mission-critical that storage architects and administrators are in extremely high demand. Perhaps you've heard or read about the latest industry buzzword "Big Data." Big Data has to reside somewhere, and that somewhere is usually on a huge honkin' storage array. What better way to capitalize on this job market reality than to pursue a technical certification in the arts and sciences of storage?

Opinions are mixed as to whether or not basic certifications alone assist applicants in finding higher-paying jobs. However, most IT industry analysts agree that advanced technical credentials, the ones that require professional experience and for which you must diligently prepare to pass the cert exam, still command attention (and higher salaries) from employers.

As you review the storage credentials mentioned in this article, note that many of them are vendor- or technology-dependent. In other words, to complete a technical certification on EMC storage hardware and software, you must pursue an EMC-specific storage credential.

That said, if you are pursuing certification to obtain an introduction into storage technology, you will find several excellent foundational and vendor-neutral credentials in the following chart as well. If you want to hone your storage skills and pursue a job in the heady world of storage technology, consider earning one or more of the many storage certifications that appear on the next page.

Cloud's Impact on Storage Careers

Contrary to the predictions of many IT industry pundits, the migration of data and applications to the cloud will not diminish the demand for qualified, certified storage expertise. Experienced storage administrators and architects may find the best opportunities by migrating from large, single-tenant data centers to cloud providers and storage-as-a-service hosting companies.

With more data consolidation going on in IT, those with expertise in storage technology will be in even higher demand as big data and converged storage technologies drive an ever-higher density in the stored data arena. Five years ago, most IT professionals couldn't imagine a use case for a petabyte drive array, while today, multi-petabyte storage arrays are commonplace.

One of the ways to gauge the demand for a particular IT technology is by examining how many professional certifications are available for that technology. The storage certification ecosystem is clearly alive and in-demand, as evidenced by the more than 15 technical storage certifications currently available.

Some storage vendors now offer more than a dozen flavors of storage certification, usually for specific product lines or job functions. Check back here often as we continue to update and expand the storage certifications that you can leverage to find a better job in the storage arena.

The following table lists 17 storage credentials in alphabetical order by sponsor.

Arcitura Education
CCSSCertified Cloud Storage Specialist: Big data meets cloud storage in this vendor-neutral storage certification. Learn the basics of cloud technology, then delve into cloud-based storage principles in-depth.
DCUF-DSData Center Unified Fabric Design Specialist: This “architect” certification covers Cisco fabric design principles that support storage-area networks (SANs) in data centers.
DCUF-SSData Center Unified Fabric Support Specialist: This certification covers implementation and troubleshooting of data center fabrics that support SANs.
Storage+CompTIA Storage+ Powered by SNIA: Vendor-neutral foundational course that covers the basics of storage technology, including storage system configuration, disaster recovery considerations, and troubleshooting of storage systems.
DCS-NSD-Link Certified Specialist – Network Storage: Foundational certification that includes vendor-neutral storage administration basics, RAID, as well as vendor-specific info for D-Link NAS and SAN products.
EMCDCAData Center Architect - Storage Networking Specialty: Includes design best practices for transforming storage from physical to virtualized forms and formats.
EMCISAEMC Information Storage and Management: Bridges the gap between classic DC storage, cloud and hybrid could storage, and virtualized storage infrastructure.
EMCSAEMC Storage Administrator Expert: EMC-centric storage certification for specific EMC products. Each product line offers Associate, Specialist and Expert level tracks.
HDSHitachi Data Systems Certifications: Hitachi offers a number of technical certifications specific to their data storage product lines, including Specialist and Expert level tracks.
HPATP-SEHP ATP – Storage Essentials: Sounds like a foundational course in storage technology but is actually a certification for HP’s Storage Essentials software.
HPASE-SSAHP ASE - Storage Solutions Architect: One of a series of advanced HP-specific certifications that covers storage concepts, architecture, and converged storage management.
IBM-CSAIBM Certified Storage Administrator: Advanced-level certification specific to IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager software.
ICSPIsilon Certified Storage Professional:  Certification of advanced knowledge of Isilon NAS hardware and software. Requires hands-on experience with Isilon storage products.
Sun Storage CertsSun Storage Certifications: Oracle offers a plethora of storage-related certifications for their Sun product lines, including NAS, SAN, disk and tape storage. Highly recommended if your storage environment includes Sun hardware and software.
SNCPStorage Networking Certification Program: With the CompTIA/ SNIA Storage+ cert as a pre-equisite, this cert allows IT professionals to specialize in storage either on an Engineer or an Architect track.
SCP-SMHA for WindowsSymantec Certified Professional - Storage Management and High Availability: Storage cert offered in both a Windows and a UNIX variant. Includes storage management techniques, high-availability, and business continuity topics.


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