Why NetApp Certification Should Matter to You!

NetApp Certification Day

 

By Pete Ybarra, Field Technical Consultant, Avnet, NetApp A-Team Member

 

Unlike some of my fellow A-Team members, my days are spent working almost exclusively with partners. My job is to help new, Avnet-aligned NetApp partners with their compliance training. If they want to do more business and move up into higher levels of their partnership, I can assist them on that journey.

 

The number one thing I recommend to partners, particularly those who are new to NetApp, to help them get the most out of NetApp is—you guessed it—certification. Not only does NetApp certification help you install, manage, and support your customers’ NetApp infrastructure, it also increases your value to your organization as an IT professional and ultimately gives your customers a better bang for their buck. Moral of the story: if you’re a NetApp partner and you’re not certified, you’re leaving money on the table, plain and simple.

 

But there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s my take on why certification really should matter to all NetApp partners (and customers).

 

Don’t Leave Money on the Table

If you’re still hung up on that statement and wondering how certification helps you get more money for your deals (and ultimately pass savings on to customers), I’ve got one magic word for you: incentives. NetApp has various incentives in place for partners. How do you take advantage of those incentives? You’ve got to meet certain compliance requirements. How do you meet those compliance requirements? You get certified. See how this works? NetApp requires that you have a specific number of certified individuals in your organization in order to take advantage of certain incentives. These incentives can even cover the cost of the training in some cases, depending on the certifications and specializations that are being pursued. Take advantage of these incentives while they last, as they could have an expiration date. Always check with your NetApp representative or the NetApp Field Portal for more information.

 

NetApp CertificationsGet the Certifications That Matter the Most to You

With a broad range of certifications and training to choose from, you can gain the specialized knowledge needed to service your clients’ specific needs. Whether you work on the implementation, the administration, or the installation side, or even if you are in a professional services or support role, NetApp provides certification courses that can help you maximize your effectiveness and help your customers get the most out of their infrastructure.

 

Here is some quick information about a few of NetApp’s most popular certification offerings:

 

NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA): Gain a basic understanding of NetApp storage systems and ONTAP data management software with NetApp’s foundational certification. NetApp recently added hybrid cloud to the NCSA (NCSA-HC), enabling you to extend your understanding of storage and data management to incorporate on-premises and cloud infrastructures.

 

NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA): Hone the skills needed to perform in-depth support, administrative functions, and performance management for NetApp storage in NFS and CIFS multi-protocol environments. NCDA-certified individuals also learn how to manage and protect customer data with NetApp SnapMirror, SnapRestore, and SnapVault technologies.

 

NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer (NCIE): This certification comes in four flavors for different levels of NetApp specialization: NCIE-SAN ONTAP, NCIE-SAN E-Series, NCIE Data Protection, and NCIE SAN 7-Mode. Individuals who take these courses will gain proven skills in implementing Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN as well as integrating different operating systems and applications like Exchange, SQL, DB2, and Oracle.

 

Professional Services Certified (PSC)/Support Services Certified(SSC) Partner Program: Become certified to install services on the behalf of NetApp, allowing you to grow your business and your capabilities while providing first-line call support for customer issues.

 

To further enhance your knowledge, NetApp has a variety of specializations that you can earn as a partner. Whether you want to get an improved understanding of ONTAP, FlexPod, OnCommand Insight, or any other NetApp product or solution, you can pursue specializations that provide the training you need while giving you a leg up on the competition.

 

Get Started!

Don’t know where to begin? NetApp University has created several “Learning Maps” which give you specific training pathways that are catered to various job roles and desired certification levels. Depending on what training you are looking to get and what your level of experience is, NetAppU has the Learning Path you need to get you started in the right direction. It’s a sure-fire way to help you get the information you need to be successful, no matter your role.

 

All of this information about training and certification is available online through NetApp University and the NetApp Learning Center. You can register for web-based training, as well as any certification-level courses and exams.

 

NetApp provides a wealth of resources that make it easy for you to be a successful IT professional, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of them.

 

Pete YbarraPete Ybarra

Twitter - @CertiPete
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/pete-ybarra/1/855/a00    

 

Pete is a field technical consultant for NetApp solutions at Avnet. Based in Chicago, Pete is responsible for enabling and educating Avnet’s partner community on selling NetApp solutions.

Pete occasionally helps his wife with her children's entertainer job. So if you see someone driving around as a clown on a weekend, don’t be alarmed, that’s probably Pete.

 

 

 

 

Stats

    • Years of NetApp experience: 6
    • Certifications: Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist (DCUCD); Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Implementation (DCUCI); Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Private Cloud; Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Windows Server 2012; NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer (NCIE SAN), Cluster Mode and 7-Mode; NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA), Cluster Mode and 7-Mode; VMware Certified Professional (VCP), Data Center Virtualization 5.5

Comments

To be honest it's hard to actually see how certification is anything other than a revenue stream for NetApp (and other vendors) I've taken NetApp certification exams multiple times over the last 10+ years and I've found a lot of the questions have asked for detail that doesn't come up in everyday usage. This means that you're expected to memorise the whole set of manuals for a current version of Ontap, when in real life you know what needs to be done and can access the manpages or the manual to recall the command argument or whatever it is you need. The other problem I found with the questions is that a number of them are worded in such a way as to confuse the issue, even pointing the candidate toward one of the wrong answers. Surely a better examination format would be too present the candidate with a fresh simulator, a list of tasks to complete and access to the documentation as we would have in real life situations.

This would also mean that downloading a question list from the internet wouldn't benefit anyone and the certifications would rise in value due to the drop in dishonestly gained certifications.

Chris,

 

 

Thanks for your feedback. Are you a partner or a customer? Partners participate in compliance programs that require certifications based on level. There are also specializations which pay additional incentives for selling certain products like Flash, FlexPods etc. If the partner sells a lot of these they could make additional point per deal. NetApp University has improved the certification process to include partners in exam writing activities and added exam security. As far as exam objectives. NetApp carefully writes these based on core competencies and product updates.  Some topics might not come on a daily basis but it covers a wide range of storage activities. I agree with you on the simulators. I have taken some lab based exams from other vendors and they can be a bit challenging. NetApp University takes feedback seriously and I will give them your inputJ.

 

 

Thanks,

 

Pete

Frequent Contributor

Hi Chris,

 

The purpose of the NetApp Certification Program has always been to provide NetApp partners and customers a way to validate their competencies working with NetApp products. While I have only been involved in the program in the past 2 years, during my tenure with this group we have strived hard to implement industry standards in the development of questions which test knowledge of real-life scenarios, we are not interested in testing minutia. Additionally, we work with a group of Subject Matter Experts (like Pete) who have both a broad and deep level of knowledge about NetApp products and technologies. These SMEs all write and review the exam items to ensure that they are accurate situations worth testing. The SMEs are also trained to not write confusing or convoluted questions, we are only interested in testing your knowledge, not how well you can read our test questions or take a test. We avoid writing items that are confusing, but there are some concepts which may come across as confusing.

 

Finally, to your point about employing simulators, this is something that is used in the industry to varying levels of success and it’s something that we have considered as well. The problem with simulators are that they are very expensive to develop and maintain and can have a similar validity and reliability that multiple-choice questions have, meaning that they are not necessarily a better gauge of knowledge, skills and abilities than multiple choice exams. Basically, they generally get less bang for the buck and are difficult to justify in today’s cost-cutting technology industry.

I would be more than happy to discuss this further if you’d like and am available to answer any other questions that you have. Feel free to contact me at ghyman@netapp.com.

 

Greg Hyman

NetApp Certification and Accreditation Program Manager

ghyman@netapp.com

Hi Guys,

I'm an ex-NetApp employee and ex-partner but my views are my own and have no political gain for anyone else. I find with any multiple choice exam that people find it easier studying to pass the exam than studying to learn the subject at hand. Another thing I find irrelevant is the tendency to include supported infrastructure questions, such as is a FAS2554 supported with Ontap 8.3 C Mode; as a NetApp and partner PSC one of the first things I would do in an engagement is refer to Hardware Universe and the IMT to ensure that proposed solution is supported. There is no benefit in holding this information in memory as it changes so rapidly and it also encourages guesswork rather than using the supplied tools. This also goes for "maximum supported" type questions and others of that ilk. Use of the online tools is supported in the NetApp Accredited Installation Professional exam, why not also for a restructured NCXX one?

Going back to the question about simulator exams, would it not be possible to expand the Lab on Demand infrastructure? This seems to me to be an ideal solution as each lab is set up for a particular exercise which could then be assigned to a candidate who approaches it as a real world solution. I've used Lab on Demand and been very impressed by it; I personally feel that these type of exams would be a better guage of a candidate's real world skills and abilities rather than trying to memorise a number of answers purely to reach the hallowed pass mark rather than to hold on to long term.

One final point, I've carried out technical assessments of candidates during their job application process and there have been a very high number who hold certifications (NetApp and otherwise) yet when I've asked them varying levels of technical questions relating to the position, they've been unable to answer and have spluttered out excuses about being "a little out of practice" Surely this shows that the multiple choice approach is not ideal and that other avenues have to be explored?

 

Chris

My two Certs,

NCDA and NCIE SAN both expire Jan 9 2017 .

 

I just realized this, what can I do ?

 

Thanks,

Gil

Hi Gil,

 

I would recommend you take the NCIE exam before it expires. This will automatically extent your NCDA another couple of years. This saves you from having to take both exams again.Smiley Happy

 

Thanks,

Pete

Hi Pete,

 

 

Thanks, I am trying to setup that exam.  Great idea.

 

Do you know if certificate says expires on  January 9, 2017 if that is midnight that day, so that I can schedule and take exam all the way to January 9th in the morning ?

 

It's just that date actually works better because I already have that week off.  If I do it this Thur or Fri then I have to take off work some time.

 

Thanks,

Gil

Frequent Contributor

Hi Gil,

 

The last day tha the NS0-157 will be available is Thursday, January 5 (not January 9). On January 6, the new NS0-158 will replace the NS0-157.

 

Let me know if you have any additional questions.

 

Greg Hyman

NetApp Certification and Accreditation Program Manager

ghyman@netapp.com

Hi Greg,

 

Pete's suggestion was to take the NCIE-SAN  , in my case NS0-502 before end of January 9th, the expiration of both my certifications, and that would renew them both for 2 years.  I would not be sitting for the NSO-157/158 .

 

Or are you saying I do need to take the NS0-502 tomorrow for that to work ?

 

Thanks,

Gil

  
Frequent Contributor

Hi Gil,

 

My apologies for the confusion.

 

Looking at your profile, you have a current NCIE SAN 7-Mode (which will never expire) and an NCDA ONTAP (which is scheduled to expire on April 9, 2017, we extended the expiration dates to 27 months). To renew your NCDA ONTAP, you would need to retake the exam associated with the NCDA ONTAP (NS0-157/NS0-158) or take the exam associated with the NCIE SAN ONTAP (NS0-506) or the NCIE Data Protection (NS0-511) before the NCDA ONTAP expires. Earning the NCIE certification will renew your current NCDA ONTAP.

 

You can review your profile on CertCenter (www.netapp.com/certcenter).

 

I hope that clarifies things. Feel free to email me if you have additional questions.

 

Greg Hyman

NetApp Certification and Accreditation Program Manager

ghyman@netapp.com