Certification Watch: Experience Now Required

In this month's news from GoCertify.com, the cost of certification may continue to rise as vendors begin to require evidence of practical experience. Also, news from Symantec, Macromedia, Novell, and GoCertify's free Career Counselor tool is now available.
Certification Watch is provided by GoCertify.com, a gathering place and resource center for people interested in computer professional certification.

1. Server+ Quickly Gaining Acceptance
CompTIA reports that the number of individuals earning Server+ certification has virtually doubled every month since May. As of July 31st there were over 1,253 certified, a figure that the program manager reports almost doubled again in August.

2. Experience Counts (More Each Day)
Nortel Networks has joined the slender ranks of certification vendors that require evidence of practical experience in order to earn certifications. Candidates who wish to earn Nortel Networks Certified Support Specialist (NNCSS) certification on OPTera Metro 3000 or 5000 must complete a "Declaration of Experience" showing at least 6 months of experience with the products. The form includes employment dates and locations, and authorizes Nortel to verify the information.

Certification Watch predicts an increase in such requirements over the next few years, especially for mid and high- skill level titles. But for an experience requirement to be meaningful as part of a certification, it must be verified, and that takes resources. Which means the cost of certification may continue to rise. $100 exam fees are already becoming a fading memory. Programs that incorporate an experience requirement and want it to mean something, may begin to charge an application fee to cover the cost of verifying the information provided.

3. Project Management Professional (PMP) To Change Next Year
Speaking of experience requirements, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) has always included an experience requirement. Soon it will require 35 hours of project management education as well. This seems a little redundant to us, but hey, we only write about certification programs, we don't run them.

In early 2002 an associate level designation will be added by PMI. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) title will require less experience, but cover the same general subject areas as PMP.

4. Symantec Rolls Out Security Certification Program
Symantec has launched a brand spanking new security certification program with three levels to choose from. The first level, Symantec Product Specialist, requires passing a single exam on any Symantec product. The second level, Symantec Certified Security Expert (SCSE), requires passing three product exams in a particular cluster plus an associated "security awareness" exam. The highest level requires passing an amazing 16 exams - basically all the exams Symantec has to offer. This feat will earn you the Symantec Certified Security Practitioner (SCSP) designation. Exams are administered through Prometric and cost $150 each.

5. Are You A Certifiable XML Expert?
XML gurus will want to check out the new Certified XML Expert (CXE) designation offered by ActiveEducation. This vendor neutral certification requires passing a single exam that will test your ability to develop and implement XML documents and solutions. The exam costs $150 and is offered through Prometric.

6. Macromedia Adds New Designations
Looking for a way to prove your mastery of Macromedia Flash? Starting October 16th you can do it with the new Certified Macromedia Flash Developer designation being rolled out by Macromedia. A second track, Certified Macromedia Designer, will become available in early 2002. If Dreamweaver is your thing, challenge yourself with the Certified Macromedia Dreamweaver Developer exam that will hit the testing centers on November 19th. All of the exams will be offered through VUE. Pricing information is not currently posted on the Macromedia site, but is likely to be $150 per exam.

7. Another Storage Certification
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) recently announced that they will launch a vendor-neutral Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (FC-SAN) certification program in late October. The certification will encompass four levels: Professional, Practitioner, Specialist, and Expert. The top two levels won't be available until next year.

8. Novell's Specialist Program Is Live
About half of Novell's new Specialist exams are now available in testing centers. Dubbed "proficiency certificates" when first announced, the renamed Novell Specialist certificates require taking one test tied to a specific product, a lot like Microsoft's MCP.

9. Cisco Ups IOS Version In Lab Exams
Effective November 15 all CCIE labs worldwide will change to IOS version 12.1. This will primarily affect the routing & switching and the security lab exams. The communications and services exam already uses 12.1.

10. GoCertify Certification Counselor Launched
IT professionals and others who face the huge array of IT certifications can now get free online help finding the perfect certification from the hundreds currently available. GoCertify Certification Counselor , a one-of-a-kind tool, queries users on their certification goals and current skill level, and suggests appropriate certifications. With a single click, users can then learn the details behind any suggested certification, including who the certification is for, what it takes to earn it, and how much it will cost.

The complete current issue of Certification Watch can be found at GoCertify.com.

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