BCI adds exam element to its certification scheme; Cisco rewrites CCDP exam

* Certification news from BCI, Cisco

Today, certification news from BCI and Cisco.

Today, we have separate certification news from BCI and Cisco. BCI is introducing an exam element to its certification scheme and Cisco updates its CCDP exam.

The Business Continuity Institute is planning to introduce an exam element to its certification scheme. Currently, applicants to its professional grade membership are given a credential based on the level of relevant experience indicated on their resumes - BCI calls this scored assessment. In October, candidates will need to take an exam as well as submit their resumes.

There is one single exam that everyone takes and their tests scores and level of experience are used to determine which level certification the candidates receive. The certifications are:

* Associate of the Business Continuity Institute (ABCI) - Candidates require at least six months experience in business continuity management and need to achieve a 70% pass rate on their tests.

* Specialist Member of the Business Continuity Institute (SBCI) - Applicants are required to have two years full-time experience in specialist aspects of business continuity management or a related profession. Candidates will need to achieve a 90% pass rate and provide evidence of their specialist skill.

* Member of the Business Continuity Institute (MBCI) - A similar level to the SBCI, but candidates have experience across the majority of business continuity management disciplines. A test pass rate of 90% is also expected for MBCI candidates.

Applications to ABCI based on the scored assessment program will be accepted until Dec. 31, and applicants to SBCI and MBCI will be accepted until March 31, 2008.

An e-learning program to help candidates prepare for the exam will be available in August. The program teaches the six elements of the BCI's Good Practice Guidelines, which incorporates the BS25999 business continuity management standard.

Dow Williamson, director of operations development at BCI said the shift from a scored assessment to a test- and experience-based certification enables the BCI to better meet the growing demand for business continuity education. The field started to grow, according to Williamson, after the Sept. 11 attacks. The exam will help the BCI as it applies for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024 standard for organizations offering certifications. The BCI also wants to further extend its reach worldwide, including opening facilities in Hong Kong, Virginia, London, and Tokyo, and aims to take the certification global.

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Cisco has rewritten 90% of the course for its Cisco Certified Design Professional certification and a new exam for it will be available at Pearson VUE testing centers Oct. 11. The revised courses will be available from Cisco Learning Partners in the first week of August.

The new course – Designing Cisco Network Service Architectures, ARCH v. 2.0 - puts increased emphasis on Cisco’s Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA), which aims to encompass all of Cisco's enterprise technologies, including wired network infrastructure, voice, applications, security and mobility.

According to Roger Beatty, senior manager of learning and development at Cisco, the new course will help candidates prepare networks for voice and video, and discuss high availability, storage, e-commerce, IP multicast, and advanced security. “The change in emphasis is now on the applications level. Previously, the focus was on data transmission,” he said.

Cisco made similar revisions to its Cisco Certified Design Associate-level exam in February.

If you’re interested in learning more about Cisco’s plans for a design expert-level certification, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, check out Network World’s latest blogger, Michael Morris. Michael is technical team leader and network architect at a $3 billion high-tech company, and was invited to take part in a private Cisco Network Design Expert (CCDE) and Network Infrastructure Architect beta program. He’ll be keeping us updated on this new program in his blog.

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