Sun Working on Simulations for Solaris Certs

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Sun Microsystems released three certifications just a few months ago around its new Solaris 10 operating system, and both feedback from certification candidates and critical acclaim have exceeded the company’s expectations, said Jim Vonick, product marketing manager of Sun professional certifications, and Gary Fluitt, Sun’s certification manager. But the program isn’t just settling into success, they added. Sun is seriously looking into the possibility of implementing simulations for Solaris 10 certification exams in the near future, they told CertMag EXTRA last week.


The development of these performance-based tests is still in the experimental phases, but Fluitt predicts the company will be able to offer definitive details as to whether this modality will be adopted and what it will look like in a matter of weeks. “We’re validating that the simulations are, in fact, psychometrically valid,” he said. “We have not committed to releasing such an exam, but we’re heading down that path of a simulation-based experience. If it in fact proves to be psychometrically valid, we’re going to be re-releasing the exam.


“We’re getting pretty excited about it,” he added. “It’s really cool stuff. I would say it’s a high-end simulation. You’re going to be doing things in Solaris on a PC. It is definitely a better proof of one’s skills. We’re looking at this as a way of raising the bar on the validity and the value of certifications, as well as the credibility of the candidate who gets certified.”


The Sun Solaris 10 certification suite includes the Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 10 OS, Sun Certified Network Administrator for the Solaris 10 OS and Sun Certified Security Administrator for the Solaris 10 OS. They are unique in that they deal with two platforms: x86 Solaris and Sparc Solaris. “We were a little nervous about that, honestly, but it has turned out to be really good,” Fluitt said. “We thought maybe the community that got involved in this would be either one platform or the other, but not necessarily both.”


In spite of the dual focus, the single-certification approach has been relevant for the participants, he said. “We’ve had a lot of people go through the exams. They’re all pretty appreciative that it’s very focused on the role that a system administrator is involved in. We don’t ask a lot of questions about random features. We’re really focused on what a system administrator does from day to day. It’s not trivial knowledge. It’s core knowledge that every system administrator must know.”


Sun also announced that its Java Associate certification launched at partner testing centers at the end of last week. More details on that credential are slated for release on the Sun Web site later this week. “It represents our first foray into entry-level certification,” Fluitt said. “It’s a great entry point for Java programmers who are just getting started and want to prove their skills and show they know a good breadth of knowledge with regards to Java, but are not quite at the level of a Java programmer.”


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