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Certification Watch Volume 11 #8

Certification news regarding a new level of certification from Microsoft, doctor Cisco certification program changes, Blackberry certification, and an aggressive anti-cheating campaign by Cisco and Pearson VUE.

Summer may have arrived, but certification program managers definitely haven't been spending all their time lounging on the beach. We have quite a bit of interesting news to report, and even more will arrive in our next issue - enjoy.

Microsoft Introduces Master Certification Level

A new master certification level from Microsoft inserts a stepping stone between the Microsoft Certified Professional level of certification (MCITP and MCPD) and the very selective Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA). In fact, the new Master level certification is now a prerequisite for the MCA. The master certifications, which cover various Microsoft Server products, start with an experience requirement of a minimum of 5 years and a prerequisite list of Microsoft exams (number and selection depends on track chosen), tack on a 3 week mandatory training requirement, and top off with a qualification lab exam. Interestingly, another stated prerequisite is that candidates must speak, understand, and write in fluent English, a stipulation we have not come across before.

Registration for this program is scheduled to begin in July 2008. Currently listed tracks include Exchange Server 2007, SQL Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft Office Communications Server and SharePoint Server tracks are in the works.

Cisco Adds CCNA Concentrations

On June 24th, Cisco announced the addition of "concentrations" for CCNA certification covering security, voice, and wireless. Each one consists of a single exam added on to an existing CCNA certification. For example, to earn CCNA Security certification, candidates must first earn CCNA certification and then pass the Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security exam. The security and voice exams are already available, but the wireless concentration exam won't be released until July 25th.

The addition of these concentrations will affect other Cisco certifications as well, because many of the professional level certifications that require a CCNA as a prerequisite will begin to require one of the CCNA concentrations instead, with the rest of the requirements adjusted accordingly. For example, starting in June 2009, the Cisco Certified Security Specialist (CCSP) designation will have the CCNA Security as a prerequisite, and the number of additional exams will drop from five to four. The Cisco Certified Voice Professional will undergo a similar change, requiring CCNA Voice as a prerequisite and also dropping one redundant exam.

BlackBerry Certification Arrives

You've got one, but are you certified on it? Now you can earn the title of Blackberry Certified Support Specialist, Server Support Specialist, Solution Designer, or System Administrator. Most of these are available in your choice of 3 possible environments: Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, and Novell Groupwise. The Support Specialist can be earned either for a Blackberry Internet service environment or an enterprise environment. Exams cost $150 and are delivered through Prometric. The design exams are not available yet, but most of the support related exams are in testing centers already. Get the full scoop directly from Blackberry.

Cheaters be Advised, Cisco Will Catch You

In a recent article on TrainingIndustry.com, Rick Gregory reports on new exam security measures by Cisco and Pearson VUE intended to slap the cuffs on those who attempt to cheat or compromise exam security. In addition to the candidate identification program GoCertify has reported on in the past, LINK.Cisco and VUE have implemented an impressive exam forensics program that captures and analyzes every keystroke during a certification exam, including time spent on each question and much more. The resulting log is analyzed and compared to a storehouse of data profiles that have been developed based on age, sex, country, first time test takers, exam retakers, and numerous other criteria. If something doesn't measure up, Gregory reports, the exam taker may face civil and criminal charges. See what else Gregory has to report at TrainingIndustry.com.

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..