Friday, April 01, 2005

[itsdifferent] To certify or not to certify? What are the options?

Are certifications like MCSE, MCS CCNA, CNE, CCIE or MCP worth it -- from the perspective of network managers and other IT management in hiring and retaining qualified network staff? How much should you value a certification? What types of certifications are available?

Certifications are good -- but they aren't sufficient. 
They don't guarantee the kinds of skills and experience a network manager wants their staff to have." Yet thousands and may be millions globally attempt getting certified yearly. While everyone opines that certifications are not a guarantee to successful career or even providing an assurance that the certified professional can actually deliver the job he is supposed to, it still remains the best method to attain some level of expertise. 

This is primarily because most of the vendors have spent millions of dollars in R&D developing such courses, courseware and exams, that a candidate undergoing the test goes through systematic approach to attain knowledge. So what are the certifications available to a networking professional, especially in India. We provide you a quick overview. We are not recommending any institutes or colleges that offer such courses and are sticking specifically to certifications.

Cisco — Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking and is hence the global leader in network technologies based certification programs too. Currently Cisco offers followings courses in networking. 
1. CCNA - Cisco Certified Network Associate 
2. CCNP: Cisco Certified Network Professional 
3. CCDA - Cisco Certified Design Associate 
4. CCDP - Cisco Certified Design Professional
The CCNA certification (Cisco Certified Network Associate) indicates a foundation in and apprentice knowledge of networking. CCNA certified professionals can install, configure, and operate LAN, WAN, and dial access services for small networks (100 nodes or fewer), including but not limited to use of these protocols: IP, IGRP, Serial, Frame Relay, IP RIP, VLANs, RIP, Ethernet, Access Lists.

The Cisco Certified Network Associate exam (CCNA) is the only exam required to achieve a CCNA Routing and Switching certification. The exam topics include Bridging/Switching, OSI Reference Model & Layered Communication, Routed Protocols,Routing Protocols,WAN Protocols,Network Management, LAN Technologies,Cisco Basics, IOS & Network Basics. Typical coursefees for the exam starts from Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 at leading instituites. The CCNP certification (Cisco Certified Network Professional) indicates advanced or journeyman knowledge of networks. With a CCNP, a network professional can install, configure, and operate LAN,WAN, and dial access services for organizations with networks from 100 to more than 500 nodes, including but not limited to these protocols: IP, IGRP, IPX, AppleTalk, IP RIP, Route Redistribution, RIP, OSPF, VLSM, BGP, Serial, Frame Relay, ISDN, ISL, X.25, DDR, PSTN, PPP, VLANs, Ethernet, Access Lists, 802.10, FDDI, Transparent and Translational Bridging. There are seven exams which one needs to take for a CCNP. 

Microsoft — Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential is for professionals who have the skills to succe-sfully implement a MS technology as part of a business solution in an organization. Hands-on experience with a product is necessary to successfully achieve certification. 
MCP Certification Requirements: MCP candidates are required to pass one current Microsoft certification exam that provides a valid and reliable measure of technical proficiency and expertise. In India there almost all large cities have testing centers.Various Microsoft exams are listed below
Microsoft Certified Professional + Site Building (MCP+SB) 
Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) 
Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) 
Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) 
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) 
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer + Internet (MCSE+I) 
Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) candidates on the Microsoft Windows 2000 track are required to pass seven exams or the equivalent that include four operating systems exams. This includes one client operating system and networking system. Candidates can complete the core operating system exams requirement by passing either four Windows 2000 or four Windows XP Professional/.NET Enterprise Server exams-or a combination of both. 

In addition there is one design exam. Candidates must pass one exam that provides proof of expertise for design skills for specific Microsoft server technologies. Also there are two elective exams. MCSE candidates should also have at least one year of experience implementing and administering a network operating system, implementing and administering a client operating system, and designing a network infrastructure. Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 candidates need to pass three core exams and one elective exam that provide a valid and reliable measure of technical proficiency and expertise in the implementation and administration of SQL Server databases. MCDBA candidates are required to pass one SQL Server administration exam and one SQL Server design exam. In addition, the candidates can pass either one Windows 2000 or one .NET Enterprise Servers exam to fulfill the networking systems core requirement. In addition to the core exam requirements, you must also pass one elective exam that provides proof of expertise with a specific Microsoft server product.All Microsoft exams cost Rs 2450 currently. Course fees are extra.

Novell — Once upon a time Novell certifications were a must for any network engineer. Those were the times when almost all networks used to run on Novell Netware. Windows NT was too unstable those days, Linux practically unheard and UNIX variants too user-unfriendly. A CNE may not be hot any more, but Novell certifications are still valid. There are about five Novell certifications. Of these Certified Novell Administrator remains to be a hot certification programme. There are seven modules to the program. Approximate Course Fees plus certifications costs: Rs 23500.

Red Hat — Red Hat is the leader in Linux distro space, and is naturally the leader in Linux certifications too. They offer currently two types if certifications. Both of them are valid for networking professionals. The first one is the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and the second one is Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT). The RHCE course covers three exams, while RHCT course covers two exams. There are also advanced variants of these courses. 

 

 

Regards,

Deven Goratela

 



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