The Certified Novell Engineer conundrum

* What does Novell's Linux focus mean to Novell certifications?

Now that you all are at least experimenting with Open Enterprise Server (you are, aren't you? If not download your evaluation copy from the link below), I bet you've been asking yourself "Should I get certified on this new system?"

At least I guess that's what one reader was asking himself, which prompted him to write to me with this question:

"Where do you see the [Certified Novell Engineer] certification program heading? I am Netware 5 CNE and keep putting off my Netware 6 certification in view of Novell's push towards Linux. Do you think I should still go ahead and do my one exam for the upgrade to Netware 6 CNE."

Off the top of my head, I responded that with OES now shipping, it might be better to skip NetWare 6 certification and move on to the new product. But I then began to wonder, would OES certification be simply a combination of NetWare 6 CNE with the SuSE 9 CLE (Certified Linux Engineer)? How would the separate certifications of Certified Novell Administrator and Certified Linux Professional affect the mix?

Whenever I have a "deep thought" question like this, I turn to Novell's director of press relations, Bruce Lowry.

<aside> You'll realize how intelligent Lowry is when I tell you that while all of Novell's senior management was moving from Provo, Utah to Waltham, Mass., Lowry moved west to San Francisco. </aside>

I expected Lowry to roll out a roadmap for OES certification, perhaps an upgrade path for NetWare CNEs and CNAs. So what did he say? "We haven't determined yet what we'll do regarding creation of an OES certification. We want to see how customers are deploying it before making our decision."  Yep, Novell doesn't know yet.

I actually found this to be a very refreshing answer, recalling the "good old days" when Novell was all about developing great technology but wasn't always sure about what to do with it. Rather than spend inordinate days and weeks determining a syllabus for a course that (if passed) would make the student an expert on OES, the company has decided to wait and see what the customers are actually doing with the product in the real world. Only then will Novell come back with a training regimen that will test people on the product's real world uses. Yeah!

In the meantime, Novell will roll out a training class for OES (course #3059, "Deploying OES" see for registration) beginning in June. If you're in the U.S., also sign up for the Upgrading to OES session. It can't hurt, and it could make getting your OES certification that much easier, once it's available.

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