Novell: Certification for ROI

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If you’re like most people these days, you’re giving serious thought to your budget. In the IT business, there is one thing you can’t cut back on: training for employees. Effective IT training can provide quick return on investment (ROI) by increasing proficiency, minimizing downtime and reducing outside support costs.

A recent Novell survey sheds light on what IT customers hope to gain from Novell training. More than half (55 percent) of customers surveyed indicated that training options are reviewed prior to a software purchase and have a moderate to strong impact on the final purchase decision.

Survey results also indicated that Linux Server and Systems Management will be the top training priorities for customers in 2009. Half of respondents identified these areas as priorities, and between two-thirds and three-fourths plan to complete or renew Novell certifications in these areas. For Linux Server, Novell offers classes ranging from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Fundamentals to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Advanced Administration.

In addition to showing training focus areas, the survey also indicated what respondents hope to gain from training, including:

  • Reduced downtime: When staff members are properly trained, they have the skills to efficiently handle issues that arise. Less downtime equals lower costs.
  • Maximized product value and use of advanced features: Gain the ability to use products to their fullest and get the most out of IT investments.
  • New products: Ease deployment with access to the necessary training and resources.

New Novell Certifications

Considering how rapidly technology is changing, it’s no wonder there may be skill gaps in the IT department. Novell offers 10 certifications and dozens of courses to help fill those gaps. Employers also are increasingly requiring tangible proof that employees have the knowledge it takes to perform a job. Certification can provide the extra edge for those seeking career advancement.

Of those surveyed, 60 percent said they planned to seek training for Linux in 2009. With open source as the future of networking, individuals trained in SUSE Linux Enterprise are in demand, and there are increasing opportunities for people with certifications in that area. Here is a sample of some of the latest Linux certifications from Novell:

  • Novell Certified Linux Desktop Administrator (CLDA): The CLDA designation certifies that the professional can manage the day-to-day administration of installed SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.
  • Novell Certified Linux Administrator (CLA): This entry-level Linux certification delivers the basic SUSE Linux Enterprise Server administration skills needed to advance a career as a system administrator. The CLA also provides a solid foundation for the next step in becoming a Certified Linux Professional.
  • Novell Certified Linux Professional (CLP): The CLP certification demonstrates mastery of the skills of an experienced administrator in a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environment.
  • Novell Certified Linux Engineer (CLE): The CLE is an advanced Linux certification that delivers the engineer-level skills for managers or architects of enterprise networks based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and develop skills to plan, design and manage a secure SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environment.
  • Novell Certified Administrator Enterprise Services (NCA ES): The NCA ES certification is designed for network administrators and other network management profes-sionals who have little or no experience with Novell products and services. The NCA ES particularly focuses on SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 and Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux. This certification demonstrates that a candidate has a useful working knowledge of common administrative tasks for Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 and an understanding of the value proposition of all Novell products.
  • Novell Certified Engineer Enterprise Services (NCE ES): The Novell Certified Engineer Enterprise Services (NCE ES) certification shows that the certification holder has acquired and can demonstrate engineer-level skills in an area of Novell product expertise. NCE ES engineers install, configure, maintain, support and troubleshoot Novell services.

Novell exams are designed to measure practical knowledge and prove mastery of practical skills, not just memorized information.

Flexible Training

One message from the survey results is that customers are seeking many options for training. Survey results also indicated that respondents need training to fill skill gaps within the organization. The areas of highest interest are in identity, security and compliance; Linux; and systems management.

To meet this demand, Novell offers a variety of schedules, formats and concentrations that can fit unique needs. Some options include on-demand, online, First Look, self-study, partner led and instructor led.

On-demand courses are available online. All that’s required is an Internet connection. The instructor is prerecorded, so trainees can study on their own time and at their own pace. On-demand training also is easy to attain and will be available to purchase this month.

Online training features interactive courses delivered in real time. Training is led by an instructor, and trainees can ask questions and interact directly with the instructor. Online courses are more in-depth than First Look courses and are similar to college distance-learning courses.

First Look training is available through the Novell Customer Center. This training features basic installation and configuration of purchased technology and products rather than courses or certifications. First Look training is available with maintenance with a product purchase. Training is flexible and can be taken when and where it’s needed. It also is free, meaning the training budget is available for more advanced training.

Self-study kits contain physical course materials, such as manuals, workbooks, demos and exercises. These kits cover the same information as the First Look courses, but also feature more advanced topics that can be used for learning to be an administrator or instructor.

Partner-led training is another option. Training partners have their own training facilities, as well as Certified Novell Instructors (CNIs) on hand. Working with these training partners, Novell has developed industry-recognized training materials and exams for certification classes. These materials are taught by partners in their training centers. Novell has more than 500 training partners, which can be located here: www.novell.com/partnerlocator/region.do.

Instructor-led training is available in physical classes, on-demand and online. This type of class is taught by a CNI who has fulfilled the requirements of the technical instructor certification.

The training survey was designed to learn what customers need and expect. The results are used to improve training and make it more beneficial and relevant. According to the survey, respondents would like to see several features in training for 2009: flexibility, quality, availability, benefits and ROI. In response to these identified needs, Novell plans new on-demand training that will be available this month. This training will be sold on a per-person, per-year basis and will be available for all areas and courses.

Making Training a Priority

Novell partners with original equipment manufacturers and others and incorporates their knowledge, expertise and skills into training programs. Training is then designed and developed by Novell engineers and instructional design-ers who are experts on the products and solutions under consideration, as well as courseware design.

Training options ensure IT people can get the expertise they need and can lead to increased ROI. Certification helps organizations get the most out of products, reduce downtime and lower support costs. Improved staff skills and validated expertise allow employees to do their jobs better and help the organization innovate with lower risk.

Given the benefits certification can bring, it’s important that organizations make sure training is part of the budget. Novell offers training as an option with the purchase of products and renewed maintenance. The company provides a listing of this training through the Customer Center at www.novell.com/center, which displays training activities with Novell, including certifications earned, technical skills assess-ments taken, Advanced Technical Training (ATT) courses taken and on-demand training available. 

Meghan Potts is a senior writer and editor for Novell Inc. She can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.

 

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