Austin, Texas-based network management tools vendor SolarWinds recently announced a new certification program, SolarWinds Certified Professional (SCP), designed to acknowledge professionals who have amassed years of hands-on, working knowledge of managing network environments - from understanding and using the various networking protocols to identifying the scope and source of fault and performance issues.
According to SolarWinds senior director of product marketing, Sanjay Castelino, SCP fills a gap in today's network certification landscape, as no such certification has been available in the marketplace for some time, especially one that comprehensively covers all aspects of network management - as opposed to competence in a particular company's technology.
"The program is really a response to what we were hearing from our community," Castelino told Enterprise Networking Planet. The company boasts an active on-line community of some 25,000 network engineers, according to Castelino, and "the feedback that we were getting was that there were great certifications and training for networking in general, but there really wasn't one for network management."
"You can look at CCNA [Cisco Certified Network Associate] and CCIE [Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert] and great, these people know networking, but do they know what it takes to actually manage and run the network day to day - as opposed to how to build it and set it up" Castelino said.
So, with active input and support from the on-line community, the SolarWinds team has spent the past year developing, building and refining the SCP program, according to Castelino. "At the end of the day, when our customers say 'I need to expand my team - or make sure my team is up to par on running our network,' we hope they'll turn to our SCP program," he said.
Now launched, SolarWinds Certified Professional tests mastery in five distinct areas of network management:
- Network management fundamentals
- Network management planning
- Network management operation
- Network performance troubleshooting
- Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) administration and service
"What you'll notice right away is that four of the five sections have nothing to do with our [flagship] product [Orion NPM], - just how to be a great network management professional," Castelino hastened to point out.
According to the company, ideal candidates for certification have a number of years' experience managing networks, as well as expertise in resolving network issues and performance trends. And of course, there's experience in deploying and day-to-day use of Orion NPM on a large enterprise or governmental organization network.
While SolarWinds does not offer in-house training aimed at achieving SCP certification, it has "built a resource center for folks to come in and get some basic overview of the areas that we're testing," Castelino told Enterprise Networking Planet.
In fact, the resource center already boasts multiple videos on each of the five testing areas outlined above. "We've actually had community members talking about building their own training materials," Castelino said. And the company has three partners - Sigma Solutions, Corona Technical Services, and Kenson - that offer training specifically relating to the SCP program.
The certification exam fee in North America is $150; the test is administered through Prometric testing centers, worldwide. "You can go anywhere in the world and walk into one of these testing centers and take the exam, and right after you take it, you'll know whether you passed or failed" Castelino concluded.