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Certification Watch Volume 6 #13

Certification News regarding Cisco CCNA, clinic INFOSEC certification, therapy (ISC)2 Associate program, retiring Microsoft exams, MCDBA, IT Project+ beta, and changes to the NetApp certification program.

Cisco CCNA Revised to Offer Two Routes to Certification

Cisco Systems recently announced several revisions to the CCNA path. The biggest change is that candidates now have the option of selecting a two exam path that covers the same content areas, but in smaller doses. The two exams are INTRO 640-821 (Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies) and ICND 640-811 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices).

INTRO 640-821 (which is currently available in beta as 641-821) covers such topics as network types, network media, switching fundamentals, TCP/IP, IP addressing and routing, WAN technologies, operating and configuring IOS devices, and managing network environments. Topics on the ICND 640-811 exam include extending switched networks with VLANS, determining IP routes, managing IP traffic with access lists, establishing point-to-point connections, and establishing frame relay connections. Candidates pursuing the two exam path must pass both exams within three years of each other.

The one exam track is still available, although a revised (and renumbered) exam 640-801 will take the place of the current 640-607 exam. Candidates can continue register for 640-607 through September 30th if they prefer.

Recertification continues to be required every three years for CCNAs. To recertify, pass the current CCNA exam, ICND exam, or any new exam at the professional or specialist level that begins with 642.

Information Systems Security Professional (INFOSEC) Title Bestowed By Cisco

Starting July 1 Cisco certified individuals who hold current CCNA certification and who have also passed four additional security exams (MCNS, CSPFA, CSVPN, and CSIDS, any version) will be considered Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) Professionals and will receive a letter of recognition from Cisco. There are no additional requirements, and the INFOSEC certificate, once issued, never expires.

This is an outgrowth of the announcement last April that Cisco security courseware was awarded certification for meeting training standards set by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS). The standards, which are identified as NSTISSI 4011, can be found online (in PDF).

The 4011 standard is intended for individuals who are responsible for the security oversight or management of critical networks and was designed for use by government agencies and contractors. According to information on the Cisco Web site, Cisco Systems is currently the only industry vendor that provides the training and certifications to meet the 4011 standards, however, there are other institutions of higher education that have also been certified. You can find the current list online.

(ISC)2 Launches Associate Program for CISSP, SSCP Candidates

The (ISC)2's well respected CISSP certification program is a goal of many computer security professionals, however, the four year experience requirement is a barrier to individuals who are fairly new to the specialty. To address this issue, and most likely to further promote its certifications to lower-level professionals, (ISC)2 has created an associate program that allows individuals to sit for the CISSP or SSCP exams now, and meet the experience requirements later.

(ISC)2 specifically states that this new Associate of (ISC)2 designation is not certification (though it seems darn close in the opinion of Certification Watch). Before sitting for either exam, candidates must visit the (ISC)2 Web site and complete the information form, agree to the code of ethics, outline current experience, predict when he/she will complete the full required experience, and then submit the exam fee. Currently this is done via the exam schedules page (first find the exam location or date, then click register and you will view the forms). Admission documents allowing the candidate to sit for the exam will be sent in the mail. Once the exam is passed and the full experience obtained, the associate can apply for certification. Associate status is good for up to five years and requires an annual maintenance fee of $35.

Microsoft Announces Next Year's Exam Retirements

In its annual announcement of exams to be retired, Microsoft has identified 11 certification exams destined for the dust bin. Most relate to the MCSD or MCDBA on SQL 2000 titles. The exams will be discontinued a year from now - next June. Here's the full list:

  • 70-015 Designing and Implementing Distributed Applications with Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0
  • 70-016 Designing and Implementing Desktop Applications with Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0
  • 70-019 Designing and Implementing Data Warehouses with Microsoft SQL Server 7.0
  • 70-028 Administering Microsoft SQL Server 7.0
  • 70-029 Designing and Implementing Databases with Microsoft SQL Server 7.0
  • 70-100 Analyzing Requirements and Defining Solution Architectures
  • 70-152 Designing and Implementing Web Solutions with Microsoft Visual InterDev 6.0
  • 70-155 Designing and Implementing Distributed Applications with Microsoft Visual FoxPro® 6.0
  • 70-156 Designing and Implementing Distributed Applications with Microsoft Visual FoxPro 6.0
  • 70-175 Designing and Implementing Distributed Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0
  • 70-176 Designing and Implementing Desktop Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0

Microsoft Adds Windows Server 2003 Exams to MCDBA Track

Beginning this September, MCDBA on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 candidates can use Microsoft Windows Server 2003 exams to fulfill the networking systems core exam requirement in combination with SQL Server 2000 exams. Exam 70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment, and Exam 70-291: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure will be added in September 2003 as options to the core requirements. Exam 70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure will be added in September 2003 to the pool of electives. The Windows Server 2003 exams can only be used in combination with SQL Server 2000 exams, not with SQL Sever 7.0 exams. For further details, read the FAQ on the Microsoft Web site.

CompTIA IT Project+ Exam to go Beta July 16

Candidates who want a shot at a reduced price IT Project+ certification should consider sitting for the beta version of the revised IT Project+ exam. The beta will be available for $99 starting July 16th 2003, for a limited time. The final version of the exam is slated for a September 2003 release. The beta can be taken through either Prometric or VUE testing centers. Full objectives can be found on CompTIA's Web site (PDF).

Network Appliance Storage Certification Program Updated

As of June 2003, the Network Appliance (NetApp) Filer certification program has been restructured to provide four levels of certification instead of two. The four levels are: Hardware Qualification, followed by Storage Associate, Storage Professional, and Storage Expert. Some of the higher-level tests are still being rolled out. Individuals who are certified under the current program will remain certified until their certification expires normally, at which time they must recertify using the new structure. The NetApp NetCache (content delivery) certification program is likely to migrate to the new format in October or November.

That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..