Is it worth going for the CNE 6 certification?

* Should network managers recertify on an NOS that may not be around for long?

I had a note from a reader the other day with a question about Novell's certification programs, specifically the Certified Novell Engineer (CNE - formerly Certified NetWare Engineer) designation.

He wrote: "I checked the Novell Education Certification section and they have put a timeline on CNE 5 and 6 certifications. I believe the tests expire in March 2007. The confusion that arises, at least in my mind, is if Novell is planning to push out NetWare in favor of Linux what good is it for people like myself who hold a CNE 5 certification, to do the one exam to get upgraded to a CNE 6 certification, if Netware is not going to be around. I don't mind doing that one exam and upgrading to CNE 6 but is it going to be beneficial if there will be no NetWare."

Well, I went out to the certification Web site and took a look. I was surprised, actually, that the CNE 5 was still being offered, but it is. Why would that be? It's been six years since NetWare 6 shipped, six years since NetWare 5 was the "latest version." Heck, it's been three years since NetWare 5 was the "previous version" (that description was taken up by NetWare 6 when OES, or NetWare 6.5, was released). Six-year-old technology - an eon or two if you count by "Internet time." But the fact that the CNE 5 is still offered leads me to conclude that it's still worthwhile to upgrade to that CNE 6.

Maintaining the tests and records for new certifications isn't without expense. Only if there's still revenue coming in, substantial revenue I'd think, would a company bother to maintain all the paraphernalia necessary to teach, test and award the certification. Therefore, there must still be a lot of people looking to acquire their CNE 5 designation. That means that there are still quite a few NetWare 5 servers out there. Real NetWare, not the "maybe it's NetWare, maybe it's Linux" of Open Enterprise Server but real NetWare with real IPX/SPX drivers should you care to use them (and, for highest security, you should think about it). It also means that there are jobs for NetWare managers and administrators still available in NetWare 5 shops.

This leads inexorably to the conclusion that there should also be lots of NetWare 6 shops still out there. Well, the number of folks subscribed to this newsletter had indicated to me that there might be considerable NetWare servers still in play, but the CNE evidence confirms it, I believe.

So, yes, go for that upgrade to CNE 6. Training is never a bad thing, but training on a system that is still an excellent server operating system, still has a good sized installed base and appears to have a shortage of trained managers sounds like a good career move.

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