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Do the changes to Novell’s certification program suit you?

Jun 05, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* MCNEs need to jump a few more hurdles

Last issue I mentioned, in passing, that there were changes to Novell’s certification program that had upset at least one of my readers. Today, we’ll take a look at those changes and see if there’s anything to worry about.

But first, while I appreciate that the former certification known as Certified NetWare Engineer (CNE) was changed to Certified Novell Engineer some years ago because Novell was certifying people in other products, why change Certified NetWare Administrator (CNA) to Certified Novell Administrator? To me, a “Novell Administrator” is someone who works in Provo, not someone who manages my network! Novell’s explanation is: “CNAs handle the day-to-day administration of an installed Novell networking product: NetWare 6, NetWare5, NetWare 4.11 (InternetWare) or GroupWise.” But if I were looking for someone to manage my GroupWise installation, I think I’d be happier with a Certified GroupWise Administrator – wouldn’t you?

My correspondent was bemoaning the current Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) for CNEs and MCNEs (Master CNEs, that is).

NetWare 4 and NetWare 5 CNEs have until October 31 to pass a single exam (the “Upgrade to NetWare 6” exam from their current version) in order to keep their certification. MCNEs, though, needed to pass two additional exams before May 31 – last week.

The MCNE required both the CompTIA IT Project+ (which isn’t even a Novell administered product) as well as the full complement of CNE 6 exams. Those included: 50-677 (Foundations of Novell Networking); 50-681 (Novell Network Management: NetWare 6); 50-682 (Advanced Novell Network Management: NetWare 6); 50-664 (Novell eDirectory Design & Implementation); and either 50-662 (Desktop Management with ZENworks for Desktops 3) or 50-683 (Desktop Management with ZENworks for Desktops 4). MCNEs need to, essentially, acquire a whole new CNE category. CNEs, on the other hand, get five months longer to pass one test. In truth it does hardly seem fair.

On top of that, of course, NetWare 6.5 will soon be out. By September, there will probably be new requirements for maintaining your certification based on the 6.5 rollout. Then there’s the upcoming NetWare 7 and its promise of two kernels – NetWare and Linux. Novell has already announced that a new designation, Novell Certified Linux Engineer (CLE), will be available in the fall. By late next year I expect that the CLE will also be required of all MCNEs.

All of this additional course work and testing cost you money – and earns money for Novell. While I personally don’t think the CCR outlined here is onerous (especially since CNEs and MCNEs have known about them for some time), I also don’t see the need to maintain certification for its own sake. If, as the analysts tell us, Novell market share is slipping and if, as Novell tells us, sales are abysmal then we have to wonder – where is the market for all these certified individuals? Who is hiring them? Where’s the demand? At the same time, it might be interesting to see Novell’s revenue from training, courseware and certification testing broken out as separate line items.