Certification and the Citrix Project Lifecycle
Citrix Education is rolling out new and revamped advanced certifications to support the release of Citrix Access Suite 4. The Citrix Certified Integration Architect (CCIA) 4 and Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator (CCEA) 4 certifications are the most advanced and extensive tracks Citrix has built to date, upholding the highly regarded reputations of its predecessors.
“We are excited to introduce the new CCIA 4 and CCEA 4 certifications,” said Julieann Scalisi, senior director, Citrix Education. “The entire community of certified professionals as well as those seeking to earn certifications will be pleased to see the great care given to these new programs. These two advanced certifications set a new standard for applicability to the job roles and needs that top IT professionals fill.”
The evolution of the advanced certifications for Citrix Access Suite 4 follows the redesigned series of Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) certifications, rolled out last year. While the CCA was revamped from a suite-level certification to three separate tracks focusing on each of the products in the Citrix Access Suite (Citrix Presentation Server, Citrix Password Manager and Citrix Access Gateway), the CCEA and CCIA will remain suite-level certifications, covering all Citrix Access Suite 4 products.
The Citrix Project Lifecycle
To see how the CCIA 4 and CCEA 4 fit into and add value to the implementation process, it is helpful to understand the Citrix Project Lifecycle. The Citrix Project Lifecycle is comprised of five key phases and provides a consistent, standardized structure for repeatable success with Citrix implementations.
The CCIA certification focuses on recommended best practices for the analysis, design and build/test phases of Citrix deployments. The newly designed CCIA 4 helps prepare IT professionals to lead organizations through integration of the Citrix Access Suite into an IT environment. Upon achieving the CCIA 4 certification, candidates will have the tools and knowledge needed to assess the risks associated with critical areas in an existing environment, determine the next steps needed to proceed to the design phase, and design an environment that includes all products in the Citrix Access Suite 4. The CCIA 4 builds upon the stature of the previous CCIA, continuing to assess candidates’ mastery of the skills needed to help organizations increase implementation success rates, shorten implementation time and reduce costs.
The CCEA certification focuses on the build/test, rollout and support of multiple products in the Citrix Access Suite. The most extensive certification available for building and administering Citrix environments, the CCEA 4 is a rigorous and challenging track. By taking the associated courses and exams, candidates learn, apply and demonstrate the advanced skills required to manage Citrix Access Suite 4 products and ensure an optimally configured environment. In addition, candidates are trained to sustain the Citrix environment using comprehensive troubleshooting and maintenance techniques. Upon achieving the CCEA 4 certification, the IT professional will have the tools and knowledge needed to perform critical tasks necessary to build and test a Citrix Access Suite 4 environment and successfully apply an understanding of architectural components and communication processes to its ongoing maintenance. Ultimately, the CCEA 4 is designed to help customers and partners maximize the effectiveness and reliability of Citrix environments.
Highlights and Improvements
The CCIA 4 and CCEA 4 certification tracks have more to offer candidates in terms of convenience and flexibility than ever before. The new exams are far more modular, allowing candidates to complete them in segments as opposed to longer sessions. Although more flexible, these exams maintain the difficulty level of the questions by increasing the testing of hands-on experience, practical knowledge and overall expertise of the candidate.
In addition, it is now easier to obtain the advanced certifications concurrently or one after the other because of simplified certification requirements. A candidate who has completed all requirements for a CCEA 4 must only pass two additional exams to achieve CCIA 4 certification. Conversely, a candidate who has completed all requirements for a CCIA 4 is only one exam away from CCEA 4 certification. Both certifications overlap in the build/test phase and the common exam requirement and preparatory training are the Citrix Access Suite 4.0: Build/Test (456) exam and the Citrix Access Suite 4.0: Build/Test Workshop (CTX-1456AI), respectively. This is the entry point to advanced certification, where candidates may demonstrate their knowledge and develop the skills needed to integrate Citrix Access Suite products. Citrix Education has taken a new and innovative approach with the format of this exam and training course:
- The Citrix Access Suite 4.0: Build/Test workshop (CTX-1456AI) is a new course that provides candidates with valuable experience building and testing environments for Citrix Access Suite 4. More than 80 percent of the class time is dedicated to hands-on exercises. Candidates build and configure an environment comprised of Citrix Presentation Server 4.0, Citrix Password Manager 4.1 and Citrix Access Gateway Advanced Edition 4.2 to meet the needs of an organization. Candidates test their configurations to ensure correct functionality and take a final test of the entire environment.
- The Citrix Access Suite 4.0: Build/Test exam (456) far surpasses the systems verification and configuration content of any previous CCEA exam as well as the legacy CCIA lab exam. More than 75 percent of the exam employs robust simulations from various environments, requiring candidates to think on their feet and adjust to new environments and systems on a question-by-question basis.
Other new exams in the CCIA 4 and CCEA 4 tracks that use innovative testing techniques include:
- Citrix Access Suite 4.0: Analysis exam (613): A scenario-based, challenging assessment of the skills needed to analyze complex IT environments to determine the state of readiness for Citrix Access Suite deployments.
- Citrix Access Suite 4.0: Design exam (614): An advanced assessment that employs a conditional format that maintains the rigor needed to attain CCIA status by requiring candidates to make design decisions for an environment based on an existing and realistic analysis provided during the exam.
- Citrix Presentation Server 4.0: Support exam (258): A scenario-based and robust assessment of the skills needed to monitor, manage and troubleshoot an enterprise environment running Citrix Presentation Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition.
Benefits of Advanced Certifications
At the organizational level, advanced Citrix certifications help increase the expertise of in-house staff. This in turn reduces implementation and support costs as more problems can be resolved faster and with internal expertise. Further, certified administrators and architects are trained to optimize a Citrix environment, which provides related operational and productivity benefits. Peter Tegelaar, an ICT Manager with Rabobank in the Netherlands, experienced this firsthand. “Rabobank wanted to design, rollout and support a Citrix infrastructure. Our employees attended training sessions in order to acquire all the relevant Citrix knowledge and skills,” Tegelaar said. “The training was delivered in a professional and timely manner, and after the sessions, Rabobank employees felt entirely confident that they could roll out and support the Citrix environment themselves.”
At the individual level, an IT professional can benefit from the recognition and prestige associated with a CCIA or CCEA as well as from the latest knowledge and skills that are acquired with these ce