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A SNIA survey done at April's Storage Networking World conference found that 71% of those polled placed significant value on hands-on training, and 45% were interested in a more broad-based storage networking curriculum.
SNIA's certification program has until now revolved around Fibre Channel technology, but "we found that IT professionals now needed product-independent, multi-vendor education on a variety of subjects beyond Fibre Channel," says Peter Manijak, SNIA's Director of Education.
To address those needs, SNIA has launched the SNIA Education Continuum (http://www.snia.org/education) "to leverage the strengths and successes of SNIA Education, SNIA Education Provider members and the SNIA Technology Center in offering new certification programs and hands-on training to storage administrators, integrators, implementers and architects," Manijak tells Enterprise Storage Forum.
Highlights of the new program are a new certification program that delivers on the broad-based curriculum requirement, launch of a SNIA Technology Center Institute that provides hands-on training, and an education framework based on job task analysis findings.
SNIA Education Continuum
Certification Gets Broader Appeal
Manijak and members of the SNIA Education Committee developed a new certification program to address common user, reseller and vendor member goals. A new domain structure allows more flexibility in incorporating courses from worldwide training providers, and extends the appeal of certification to a wider range of IT professionals.
"SNIA's new certification program really focuses on all the things we need to know about to do our jobs as storage networking professionals," says Darrell Kleckley, chair of the SNIA Education Committee. "Before, SNIA's certifications were mainly obtained by Fibre Channel SAN professionals. Now, with a domain-oriented testing structure focused on job roles, we see storage architects, storage administrators, integrators, implementers, support personnel and architects all finding a reason to get certified."
The Concepts Domain covers broad technical areas related to all jobs and serves as a foundation for testing storage and networking knowledge. A new Storage Network Foundations exam — like all SNIA Certification exams, available online through Thomson Prometric (http://www.2test.com/ ) — certifies that the successful candidate has knowledge of general storage networking concepts and storage networking interoperability.
The Standards Domain assesses technology and technical standards that a mid-level administrator needs to know, and the Solutions Domain focuses on technical assessments and planning design.
The Product Domain recognizes vendor certification programs, incorporating current storage and networking manufacturer certifications as part of a SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert credential. According to Manijak, a number of vendors, including McDATA and Hewlett-Packard, have already incorporated SNIA certification exams into their credential programs, a joint effort that is expected to reduce training costs.