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Keeping Your Competitive Edge: Certification Style!

Written by Wes Heaps

In today's fast-paced IT world, it's hard to keep up with current technology. New and updated products are constantly appearing, while methodologies and best practices are always changing. If you aren't careful, your knowledge can quickly become antiquated—especially in a field as dynamic as information technology. Only through constant education, both on and off the job, is it possible to keep up. Attending training and achieving a current IT certification is an excellent way to keep your knowledge fresh and stay competitive in the IT job market.

Why Get Certified?

It's not a secret that enterprises value qualified IT professionals. Even in the current economic climate, certified IT professionals enjoyed noticeable increases in their salaries according to Certification Magazine's 2009 annual survey.1 Additionally, more than 85 percent of respondents felt that since they've become certified, there is a greater demand for their skills. In today's marketplace, that's great news for those who are certified and an excellent reason for getting or updating to a current IT certification.

The bottom line is this: getting certified pays off for both the company and the employee. The Information Technology Certification Council reports that a recent CompTIA study found businesses employing a high number of certified helpdesk staff can handle 11 percent more phone calls and 28 percent more field service calls than companies employing low numbers of certified helpdesk staff.2 And Global Knowledge and TechRepublic recently reported that “professionals who earned an IT or project management certification during the last five years earned an average of $5,242 more [per year] than their counterparts.”3 With increased productivity and higher compensation—getting certified is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

With so many choices in technical certifications today, it's hard to know which ones are relevant in the current IT marketplace. Certification Magazine's 2009 Salary Survey lists top certifications by salary—a good indication of what certifications employers are valuing. The Certified Novell Administrator (CNA) and Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) certifications were two of the many specifically mentioned, with CNEs earning above the industry average salary for 2009.1 While many certification programs have declined over recent years, MaryJo Swenson, Executive Director of Novell Technical Training, notes that, “Novell certification testing has been showing a steady month-over-month increase for the past six to eight months.” That's good news, both for Novell and the IT industry in general. It appears that people are looking to increase their knowledge, demonstrate their competency and expand their career portfolios in today's competitive IT marketplace through certification.

What's New on the Novell Certification Front?

Novell has recently announced some innovative new programs and promotions in the certification marketplace. Here are some of the highlights:

Three-for-One Linux Certifications
What's better than holding a Linux certification? Holding three of them! Novell has teamed up with the Linux Professional Institute and CompTIA to offer you the opportunity to get three certifications at the same time. By passing the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI exams, you achieve both the CompTIA Linux+ and LPIC-1 certifications. After getting those certifications, simply fill out the required form at http://practicum.novell.com/LPI2CLAForm.php to earn the Novell Certified Linux Administrator (CLA) certification as well. That's three certifications for the effort of one.

And until November 30, 2010, you can even win an Amazon Kindle or an Apple iPad through a great promotion associated with this three-for-one Linux certification offering. By taking a free Technical Skills Assessment, you are entered into a drawing for an Amazon Kindle, and by completing the three certifications mentioned in the promotion above, you will be entered into a drawing for an Apple iPad. To find out more about this promotion, visit www.novell.com/promo/email/cert_3for1.html.

Calling All CNEs!
Certified Novell Engineers (CNEs) might be closer than they think to getting updated to the Novell Certified Engineer (NCE) certification. Novell has made it easy for CNEs to transfer their networking skills on NetWare over to Linux and Novell Open Enterprise Server 2. With two preparatory courses and a single certification test to take, getting a new NCE certification couldn't be easier. Find out how close you are by taking two free Technical Skills Assessments for Course 3089: Implementing Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 for Linux and Course 3090: Deploying Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 for Linux at www.novell.com/training/assessment (under the End-User Computing tab).

New Markets, New Technologies, New Certifications

Identity and Security
Novell is a recognized leader in the identity and security market. Some analyst firms have lauded Novell technologies, such as Novell Identity Manager and Novell Sentinel, as innovative leaders in their respective areas. In conjunction with the release of the new Novell Identity Manager 4 product family, Novell also announces its first identity and security certification: the Certified Novell Identity Manager Administrator (CNIMA).

Recipients of the CNIMA certification know how to effectively administer and use Novell Identity Manager 4 to perform advanced reporting that shows real-time user activity, to set up and provision roles for greater efficiency and security, as well as extend their identity management solutions beyond their firewall to manage common software as a service (SaaS) applications.

With two courses and a single test, candidates get to prove their knowledge on both the recently released Novell Identity Manager 4 Advanced Edition and the forthcoming Novell Identity Manager 4 Standard Edition. This means no matter what Novell Identity Manager 4 family member customers are using, the CNIMA recipient is a qualified administrator. To find out more about this new certification, visit www.novell.com/training/certinfo/cnima/.

End-User Computing
In any enterprise, managing software and applications for servers, desktops and mobile computing devices such as smart phones, tablet computers and laptops is a time-consuming task. Usage policies must be enforced, software patches must be installed, and software licenses and use must be tracked. Novell promises to make managing applications and environments on servers, desktops and mobile devices easier with Novell ZENworks Configuration Management. From a single, consolidated framework, administers can now manage applications, environments, personalities and devices with ease.

With two courses, you can learn how to use the configuration management, patch management and asset inventory services of Novell ZENworks to manage an entire enterprise. And with a single test, you can demonstrate your knowledge of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and get certified. To find out more, visit www.novell.com/training/certinfo/cnza/.

Workload Management
According to a recent IDC report, in order to take full advantage of the dynamic and heterogeneous infrastructure environment of physical, virtual, and cloud computing, “IT teams will need to shift to a more policy-based, automated approach to managing the building, provisioning, migration, monitoring, measuring, and securing of corporate workloads.”4 This emerging market has been called intelligent workload management. Knowing how to consolidate, migrate and manage workloads is a critical component to success in any intelligent workload management strategy. Novell offers the Certified Workload Management Administrator (CWMA) certification to demonstrate knowledge on their own workload management PlateSpin products: part of its WorkloadIQ portfolio.

With a single course and test, you can be on your way to consolidating, migrating and managing workloads on physical and virtual servers using PlateSpin products. To find out more about the CWMA program, visit www.novell.com/training/certinfo/cwm/.

The Bottom Line

In the constantly changing world of information technology, it's easy to let your knowledge and skills slide. However, countless surveys and studies repeatedly demonstrate the continued relevance and importance of having a current IT certification. Both the organization and the individual benefit from investing in IT certifications like those offered by Novell, an acknowledged leader in the IT certification marketplace. No matter how you look at it, when it comes to IT, it pays to be certified.

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