I’m a certification junkie (a self imposed label, I assure you). I find them valuable as both a way to challenge myself to learn the content in the blueprint or guideline, and to help validate my skill set to an employer (and now I suppose to customers as well). In the world of IT, certifications seem to be the backbone of continued education, with most formal settings offering only general / theory based learning. Full disclosure: I have a Bachelors of Science degree in an IT field and also think it has value, but in a different way.
While at HP Discover, I was briefed by HP’s Susan Underhill on some changes that HP is making to their ExpertOne certification program. I was not familiar with the program until the previous day, but being the cert junkie that I am, immediately wanted to know more about where the program has been, what changes are being made, and what value it may hold. The list of announcements can be found on this page. I also suggest reading the article over at Lockergnome written by fellow HP Discover blogger Jake Ludington.
The first part of the news is that HP ExpertOne has added three new certifications to its portfolio:
HP ASE (Accredited Solutions Expert) – Cloud Architect v1
This certification verifies that the individual has the ability to specify and architect a spectrum of cloud services. These include private cloud, hybrid and public cloud environments, and IaaS, PaaS and SaaS platforms.
HP ASE – Cloud Integrator (Coming April 2012)
This certification will verify that the Cloud integrator has the ability to build, install and integrate a private or hybrid cloud solution based on HP Cloud Service Automation for Matrix and provisioning software, building on an HP Converged Infrastructure and Matrix foundation.
HP Master ASE – Cloud Integrator (Coming summer 2012)
This certification will verify that the Master ASE will be able to build, install and integrate a robust cloud solution built on an HP Converged Infrastructure foundation and the full HP Cloud Service Automation software solution.
What I like about these certification is that HP is getting serious about closing the skill gap on individuals who want to build a cloud using the HP Converged Infrastructure (CI) stack. It will be a way to better vet someone who is coming into a business, as either an employee or consultant, to ensure a successful project. It also provides a glimpse into what HP values in technical skills, and how they feel their products are best utilized in a converged setting.
ExpertOne Delivery and HP Press
Additionally, the other part of the news involving HP ExpertOne is a number of improvements to the way the program is delivered, both in print and educational format:
Expanded Distribution Channel (link) – HP will be using a variety of instructor (classroom) training, web training, and mobile applications to deliver content. Additionally, their remote labs promise to use real systems (instead of virtual appliances) to provide hands on training. HP has also announced their training partners:
Institute for Networking and Data Center Technologies
Next Step Learning
HP Press (link) – Much like what I’m used to seeing with the Microsoft Press for the MCSE/MCITP certifications, HP plans to provide self-study exam guides from HP Press. The first guides will be focused on HP AIS (Accredited Integration Specialist), ASE (Accredited Solutions Expert), and Master ASE (in Networking Infrastructure) certifications. The guides will include practice exams and will be available in multiple formats (physical, e-Book, and soft – such as Kindle or Epub).
The announcements really underline how much HP is investing into their cloud portfolio, and shows me that they are serious about making an investment into this program. It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to provide a solid training portfolio, along with a lot of internal resources, which is why I though it worthy to write about the improvements to the ExpertOne program and share them with you.