Cert CloseUp: Certified Linux Engineer (CLE)

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Pssst! Hey! Wanna get a sense of where Novell certification is headed? Wanna understand where Novell hopes the future of certification itself is headed? If so, check out Novell’s new Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) credential. This insight comes from a pretty good source—namely, Dan Veitkus, Novell’s vice president of worldwide training services.

For one thing, the CLE exam will hinge on a so-called practicum exam: a grueling, two-hour, hands-on encounter with Novell software and systems made available at a testing center near you (but ultimately running on a server farm under Novell’s direct stewardship and control). Veitkus maintains that this kind of testing represents a desirable direction for certification because it “represents a much-needed, much-appreciated effort to blow right past shortcomings of today’s forms-based testing and to reengineer the way IT professionals prove their skill sets. We will test for competency and problem-solving skills versus the content memorization typically supported by multiple-choice exams.”


Because the practicum technology uses a remote client piece (it runs across the Internet from a testing center or other location that can meet Novell’s security and proctoring requirements) that talks to a server piece (it runs on the other side of the Internet connection on a Novell server and maintains all the data and tracks all activity that the client initiates), Novell is considering licensing it to third parties, along with its online evaluator software that monitors what test-takers do and how it affects the systems and networks they’re (virtually) managing to decide whether their efforts are passing or failing.


Beyond the gee-whiz aspects of some of its supporting technologies, the CLE credentials seeks to verify candidates’ understanding of how various Novell services, including e-mail, directory, file systems, network management and more work in and around the Linux environment, with various types of clients, network architectures and more. Although some of its focus is on the Linux operating system and Linux-specific networking, its primary emphasis is on Novell services for Linux (in fact, the company already recommends the LPIC1 certification from the Linux Professional Institute and is sure to recommend its forthcoming SuSE Certified Linux Professional, or SCLP, credential as well).


Novell expects to release the practicum exam to the public some time between BrainShare (March 2004) and June 2004. Once the program is completely public, more details will no doubt become available. Until then, Novell’s CLE pages at http://www.novell.com/training/certinfo/cle/index.html remain the best source of information available on this soon-to-be-released credential.


Ed Tittel is president of LANwrights Inc. and is technology editor for Certification Magazine. Ed can be reached at etittel@certmag.com.

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