CompTIA CTP+ certification is your ticket to a career in convergence

The market for converged voice, data and video is growing rapidly. Solution VARs are looking for people with skills in data networking, telephony networking, and convergence technologies to sell , install and support converged solutions. Employers are using the CompTIA CTP+ certification as a hiring criterion to ensure they are getting people with the right skill sets and the base level knowledge to be successful as a convergence engineer.

Are you looking for your next career opportunity? Depending on your skills and experience, the rapidly growing world of converged voice, video and data networking might be right for you. There are good job opportunities with vendors and value-added resellers (VAR) serving this market, as well as with corporations and government agencies deploying the solutions.

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Research by CompTIA and other sources indicates that many organizations, regardless of size or industry, are aggressively deploying convergence solutions. For example, the April 2010 study CompTIA U.S. Small and Medium Business (SMB) 2010 Emerging Technologies Report found that 55% of SMBs now use or plan to use converged voice and data solutions. That's up from 39% in the 2009 survey. In the enterprise market, Forrester Research says 2011 is the year that "hypergrowth" of unified communications (UC) begins. According to Infonetics Research, the worldwide market for UC is expected to top $1 billion by 2013.

There are a lot of vendors with competing products in this market. Moreover, the vendors are consolidating, so products on the market one day could be on the losing end of a company acquisition the next day. So, if you want to break into the convergence market, it's best to focus on learning about the underlying technologies that are common to most vendors' products.

A highly recognized certification in this space is the CompTIA CTP+ (Convergence Technologies Professional) credential. This certification provides verification of knowledge of essential professional level technologies, including data networking, telephony networking, and convergence technologies. Training is offered in three separate courses, with each course covering one of the areas listed above.

Both the training and the certification are vendor-neutral; the student learns the fundamental knowledge to work in any vendor's space. CTP+ does a good job of explaining how the data world and the telecommunications world intersect. This background is especially helpful for VARs and service providers who work with or support products from multiple vendors to make sure the voice, video and data networks are working just right.

James Stanger is president and chief architect for Certification Partners, the developer of the CTP+ courseware and exam. According to Stanger, the ideal background for a candidate pursuing the CompTIA CTP+ certification is at least the same level of knowledge as the CompTIA Networks+ certification and at least a year of hands-on experience in each of the technology areas. However, it's not often that the candidate has such a variety of experience. "People might have 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and have very little data networking knowledge," says Stanger. The training is designed to overcome the shortcomings in knowledge in one or two areas and bridge the divide.

Draaco Aventura is a field support engineer for DataTactics Corporation. During his years in the military, Aventura acquired an extensive background in secure VoIP networks, video compression and image processing algorithms, and server stacks to support different types of operations. When he entered the civilian workforce, he attained the CompTIA CTP+ certification to validate his skills for potential employers.

"There's no way to directly translate the knowledge and skills I acquired in the military into the civilian world because of the differences in the systems I was using," says Aventura. "I earned the CTP+ certification because it's highly preferred in the job I do because of it being vendor neutral. My company values this certification, and I think other companies would, too. DataTactics promotes, encourages and supports its employees to get certified. Certifications enhance the company's image when we are competing for new contracts."

Kevin Tan, an IT manager with Lockheed Martin, uses the CompTIA CTP+ certification as a criterion for new hires. "We found that we're supporting a lot of different solutions when we host a next generation data center or a call center," says Tan. "We have Cisco Telepresence, and we have a lot of VoIP in our call centers. We need very specific types of individuals who have not only base level network administration skills but also knowledge of convergence technologies. We look for people with CTP+ certification because of our unique needs."

Tan and his staff all attained the CTP+ certification. "This is a good starting and jumping point to get our network administrators and technicians trained and certified at a base level to deliver better service to our customers," says Tan.

Get more information about CompTIA CTP+ certification here. For information about CTP+ training products and the exam, visit here. As with any certification, training isn't required but is highly recommended.

Linda Musthaler is a principal analyst with Essential Solutions Corporation. You can write to her at


About Essential Solutions Corp:

Essential Solutions researches the practical value of information technology, and how it can make individual workers and entire organizations more productive. Essential Solutions offers consulting services to computer industry and corporate clients to help define and fulfill the potential of IT.

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