Big Changes for Dell EMC Certification Program

Couple discussing business on steps with laptop

If you like Pixar movies, then you probably already know it's worth watching the credits all the way through on most of them. The animators always include a few small surprises as the lengthy progression of names, roles, and grateful acknowledgements parades across the screen.

One of my favorite credits crawl Easter eggs rolls past at the end of Finding Nemo, when a tiny little fish engulfs and gulps down a much bigger piscine passerby. I mention this because even though EMC is not the biggest part of Dell, its long-time and fairly successful certification program seems to have won out in defining Dell Technologies' future outlook on, and structure for, IT certification.

(EMC was acquired by Dell Technologies on Sept. 7, 2016, when the two companies formally culminated their merger 11 months after announcing a record-setting $67 billion cash-and-stock deal.)

If you need proof for yourself, then visit the Dell EMC "Certification Overview" page — or better yet, download the Dell EMC Proven Professional Certification Framework (PDF document), which lays out the full set of the company's offerings across 6 pages of content:

There's an overview page, one page for each of four tracks — Manage, Plan and Design, Deploy, and Support — and a final page that shows certification levels and tracks. That final page is what furnished the graphic that accompanies this story, in fact. Behold:

Ed T Figure 1 05 11 2018

Source: Dell EMC Certification Roadmap, Page 6 (PDF document)

Digging into DellEMC Certification

If certification is a game of numbers, then the Dell EMC portfolio has a lot of them to offer:

? 4 levels: Associate ("fundamentals training and knowledge of a technology"), Specialist ("role specific training, baseline skills in a given technology"), Expert ("advanced skills and experience in one or more technologies"), and Master ("subject matter expertise with experience in multiple technologies and complex solutions")
? 8 certification tracks: Technology Architect (TA), Cloud Architect (CA), Enterprise Architect (EA), Implementation Engineer (IE), Systems Administrator (SA), Platform Engineer (PE), Technical Support Engineer (TSE), and Data Scientist (DS)
? 7 technologies: (Page 1 shows how they tie into this matrix of tracks and levels) Cloud, Storage, Data Protection, Server, Networking, Converged Infrastructure, and Data Science
? The Manage roadmap (Page 2) shows 4 different Associate exams, 13 Specialist exams, 5 Expert exams, and a single Master exam. It also makes mention of CompTIA Server+, two product/technology exams, and Dell associate and professional exams in networking and servers. It even mentions VCP VMware credentials as well. (VMware was acquired by EMC in 2004, and we've already mentioned how EMC came to be where it now is.)
? The Plan and Design roadmap (Page 3) shows 4 different Associate exams, 7 Specialist exams, 3 Expert exams, and the same, single Master exam.
? The Deploy roadmap (Page 4) shows 4 different Associate exams, 13 Specialist exams, 4 Expert exams, but no Master exam. It also includes 2 product/technology exams, and Dell associate and professional exams in networking, VxRail Appliance, and PowerEdge. It also mentions the CompTIA Server+ exam as well.
? The Support roadmap (Page 5) shows a single Associate exam, 7 Specialist exams, 1 Expert exam, but no Master exam, either. It also includes Dell associate and professional exams in networking and PowerEdge. The CompTIA Server+ exam also puts in an appearance.

The context for the appearance here by CompTIA Server+ looks to be as a prerequisite for exams involving the Dell PowerEdge server family.

The EMC offerings provide the overall framework for how certs are labeled and categorized, and EMC's former certification regime also appears to define the progression across levels from Associate to Master.

There's a lot to take in here, but it looks like a substantial and reasonably well-orchestrated attempt to bring the various threads of training and certification together under the Dell EMC umbrella. Be sure to check it out!

Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.