Altiris: Certifications for Individuals and Partners
Forbes magazine has named Altiris Corp. one of the fastest-growing technology companies. Indeed, since the company went public in 2002, it has released a range of new products for the enterprise. Through acquisitions as well as organic growth, Altiris now offers solutions in the areas of security and compliance, asset management, desktop and systems management, and service desk.
As the company grows, so does the sophistication of its products and the need for certified technical experts to work with the products. Altiris offers two levels of certifications, both of which are primarily for reseller partners but are also attainable by corporate customers.
The Altiris Certified Professional (ACP) credential is awarded to the person who successfully passes an exam in any one of the following areas:
- Asset Management
- Deployment Solution
- Helpdesk Solution
- Notification Server
- Wise Package Studio
The Altiris Certified Engineer (ACE) credential is offered in three tracks, each one focusing on a different set of knowledge and skills. To attain a credential, Altiris requires that an individual pass a series of exams in any one of the three tracks:
- The client management track includes exams on Client Management, Deployment Solution and Notification Server.
- The service and asset management track includes exams on Asset Management, Helpdesk solution and Notification Server.
- The software repackaging and distribution track includes exams on Wise Packaging Studio, Deployment Solution and Notification Server.
Altiris suggests that a candidate for certification take instructor-led and/or online training courses provided by Altiris or its training partners. Free study guides are available on the Web, as are practice exams. An online user transcript application keeps track of the candidate’s courses taken and progress to date. In addition to the course work and practice exams, Altiris recommends that the candidate have at least six months of hands-on experience with a product before taking the corresponding exam.
Exams can be scheduled online through Pearson VUE and taken at a local exam site for a nominal fee. Once a candidate passes his or her required exam or series of exams, certification is automatic. There is no need to apply for the credential.
The Benefits of Certification
Why get certified? For the benefits and career development, of course. Most of the tangible benefits are geared toward Altiris partners. However, all certificants benefit from a closer relationship with Altiris — to be the first to learn about new products and other news and to have access to technical resources. For channel partners, certification brings larger product discounts and margins.
Benefits are defined according to the level of certification (ACP or ACE) the individual holds. For example, ACEs receive a free one-year subscription to the Altiris eLearning System, an $875 value.
Employers like to have Altiris-certified staffers. Corporate employers use the certification as a hiring or career-development criterion. The credential assures the company that the individual possesses the knowledge and skills to perform a job function well.
Altiris partner companies also are anxious to employ certified professionals. Aside from the obvious benefits of greater product discounts or margins, these companies find it easier to sell their services when customers know there are certified experts on staff.
The Altiris Authorized Consultant Credential for Channel Partners
The ACP and ACE certifications are individual credentials assigned to a person. Altiris offers one more consulting certification and training program for member organizations in the Altiris Business Partner program. This is called the Altiris Authorized Consultant (AAC). Although the credential is earned by an individual, it is closely tied to his or her employment with an Altiris channel partner. AACs receive access to additional revenue opportunities, exclusive Altiris sales and technical support, and increased customer ownership. In essence, AAC partners are an extension of the Altiris professional services organization.
When AAC candidates have passed the mandatory set of exams, they go through a skills assessment review with Altiris to ensure that they are ready to represent the company and its products appropriately. Once accepted into the program, they must maintain all current certifications and log at least 15 hours of e-learning each quarter for ongoing skills development. In return for this intense commitment, AAC partners receive a high level of technical and sales support from Altiris.
Wade Wyant is with ITS Communications, the 2005 Altiris “Platinum Partner of the Year.” Wyant’s staff includes about 10 Altiris-certified technical professionals, including consulting experts who hold the ACC credential.
“Our clients ask for certified people to work on their systems,” Wyant said. “The AAC gives our people an extra level of credibility. Our engineers say it is among the most challenging certification programs they have undertaken. There is no way to get a ‘paper certification’ with this program. You really have to know your stuff.”
Even though ITS Communications is smaller than many of its competitors, Wyant credits the Altiris Authorized Consultant status with bringing his company more credibility and more business. “We get a lot of work directly from Altiris. They know and trust us and farm out some of their services work to ITS,” Wyant said. “The Altiris certification program has certainly been good for us.”
Get Started with Altiris Certification
If becoming Altiris-certified interests you, get more information about the program at http://www.altiris.com/Services/Certification.aspx. Channel partners who want information about the AAC certification program should consult the Altiris channel partner Web site.
Linda Musthaler is a consultant to the HP Certified Professional Program Office. You can reach her at email@example.com.