CloseUp: HP and the Former Compaq Certs

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HP’s been winning surprised accolades in the trade press lately for its better-than-expected handling of the merger with Compaq. That’s why I decided to investigate the company’s certification programs to see what became of the Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) and Master ASE programs from Compaq, along with other credentials from HP. I’m pleased to report that HP appears to be doing an equally good job of merging its certification programs, and also appears to be drawing on the strengths of Compaq’s programs as well as its own past successes.

A quick hop to the HP Certified Web page ( provides pointers to the company’s newly revamped programs and offerings, which it sums up as follows: “HP Certified is integrating with other HP and Compaq certification programs into a single, new worldwide certification program.” Here’s how things look from a 10,000-foot view:



  • The program is divided into four focus areas: sales, pre-sales, integration and operating systems. These are designed to cover the needs of HP professionals and partners who must sell, support and use HP products and services.
  • Cert program information is available on a geographic basis, for North America, South America, Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) and Asia (and the rest of the world). For the rest of this profile, I cover the North America offerings only. (Those in the rest of the world will take a while to catch up.)
  • Sales programs include Accredited Sales Professional (ASP) certifications for AlphaServer Solutions, HP 9000 Server Solutions and Network Storage Solutions, as well as accredited sales consultant certifications for Enterprise Storage Solutions, StorageWorks XP and Superdome Gold.
  • Presales programs include Accredited Presales Professional certifications for HP 9000 Server solutions and Network Storage Solutions, whereas Accredited Presales Consultant certifications cover six different areas: AlphaServer GS Solutions, Enterprise Storage Solutions, StorageWorks XP, Storage Virtualization Services, Superdome Gold and Superdome Platinum-Consulting Services.
  • Integration services focuses on four different credentials, each with its own specific topical areas:
    • Accredited Platform Specialist (APS) credentials concentrate on remedial maintenance of HP products and are available for AlphaServer Systems, Desktops and Workstations, Mobile Computing and ProLiant Servers.
    • Accredited Integration Specialist (AIS) credentials concentrate on planning and integrating technical solutions for business-class, networked environments and require candidates to be able to take business requirements to design, support and integrate platforms, operating systems, storage, network and option components. AIS certifications are available for AlphaServer+ (Linux, OpenVMS and Tru64 UNIX v5 varieties), NonStop Systems, OpenView (Data and Storage, Network Services, Service Management and Systems and Servers varieties), ProCurve Networking, ProLiant+ (Linux, NetWare and Windows varieties) and StorageWorks+ (Windows & NetWare and UNIX varieties).
    • Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) certifications identify individuals who can design, support and integrate complex solutions based on HP technologies and requires AIS certification as a prerequisite. ASE certifications are available in the following areas: AlphaServer+ (Linux, OpenVMS and Tru64 UNIX v5 varieties), NonStop Systems, OpenView (Network Services, Systems and Servers-NT Emphasis and Systems and Servers-UNIX Emphasis), ProLiant+ (Linux, NetWare and StorageWorks varieties) and StorageWorks.
    • Master Accredited Systems Engineer (MASE) certifications identify ASEs seeking higher-level certifications and are available in the following areas: Enterprise Management, High Availability and Clustering, Internet+Intranet, Messaging and Collaboration on Exchange, Oracle (Tru64 UNIX and Windows varieties, SAN Architect and SQL Server).
  • Operating systems cover two levels of credentials, one for systems administrators, the other for systems engineers:
    • Certified System Administrators are those who can install, configure and manage HP operating systems in networked environments. This credential is available for three areas: HP-UX, OpenVMS v7 and Tru64 UNIX v5.
    • Certified System Engineers are those who can install, configure and manage HP operating systems in complex enterprise environments (to qualify for this credential, individuals must first obtain a certified systems administrator certification). This credential is available for four areas: HP-UX, NonStop Kernel, OpenVMS v7 and Tru64 UNIX v5.


HP’s certification exams continue to be available at Prometric Testing Centers worldwide. Exams typically cost $100 each and occur in 60-minute time slots. What you see in this combined offering is a seamless combination of HP and former Compaq offerings, where older credentials map into new credentials quite nicely. HP even offers special links and information for Compaq certified professionals and imposes consistent continuing certification requirements for all credentials going forward. I have to give them credit for an excellent, well-designed program that leverages the strengths of its predecessors nicely, while presenting a single face to interested professionals going forward.

Ed Tittel is vice president if IT certification at and contributing editor for Certification Magazine. E-mail Ed with your questions and comments at


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