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What Certifications Are Available and What Are the Requirements?

In the early 90s, Novell had the following certifications available: CNA-Certified Novell Administrator, CNE-Certified Novell Engineer, and the ECNE-Enterprise Certified Novell Engineer (the MCNE-Master CNE has since replaced the ECNE). The CNA, CNE, and MCNE are still available. Additionally, Novell has the CDE-Certified Directory Engineer, the CNI-Certified Novell Instructor, and the MCNI-Master Certified Novell Instructor. Novell's CIP-Certified Internet Professional certification has recently merged with Prosoft's CIW. I will discuss the CIW options in an upcoming article. Additionally, because this is not a trainer's forum, I will not address the CNI or MCNI. If you have a question about the CNI or MCNI, feel free to drop me an e-mail or post a comment, and I will be glad to respond. I can be reached at wyrostekw@msn.com. If enough interest is expressed, I will be glad to address many of the various trainer options that exist in the current IT market, including the CNI and MCNI, in a future essay.

The CNA is the entry-level Novell certification. The CNA is designed for those setting up workstations, managing users and groups, administering a printing environment, and automating network access. It is a one-test, one-course certification. Depending on the operating system that you support, you can earn the CNA in NetWare 5, IntraNetWare, and GroupWise 5. The CNA in NetWare 3 and GroupWise 4 will be retired at the end of 2001. If you are administering a GroupWise 5.5 environment (GroupWise is Novell's e-mail system), you also can earn the CNA.

The CNE is one of Novell's Premier certifications. Depending on the CNE track that you pursue, you will take either six or seven exams. The CNE is designed for networking professionals who are responsible for keeping their networks up and running. These are the folks charged with designing a TCP/IP internetwork and designing a Directory Services implementation. There are five tracks that are currently offered, two of which will be retired at the end of 2001. These tracks are NetWare 5, GroupWise 5 and IntraNetWare. (The NetWare 3 and GroupWise 4 tracks will be retired.) In order to earn the NetWare 5 CNE, you must pass six exams: a) NetWare 5.1 Administration; b) NetWare 5.1 Advanced Administration; c) NetWare 5.1 Design and Implementation; d) Networking Technologies; e) Service and Support; and f) one elective. The electives include a) Desktop Management with ZENworks; b) Desktop Management with ZENworks for Desktops 3; c) Internet Security Management with BorderManager; d) Network Management Using ManageWise 2.7; e) Network Management Using ManageWise 2.6; f) TCP/IP for Networking Professionals; g) Integrating NetWare and Windows NT; or h) GroupWise 5.5 Administration. IntraNetWare and GroupWise 5.5 CNEs have one test to take in addition to their earlier CNE requirements: either the NetWare 5.1 Advanced Administration test or the NetWare 4.11 to NetWare 5.1 Update exam. This requirement is because Novell wants all legacy CNEs to upgrade their core knowledge to the NetWare 5.1 platform.

Novell has recently announced the requirements for the new NetWare 6 CNE track. As of this writing, NetWare 6 CNEs will have seven exams to pass: a) eDirectory Administration with NetWare 6; b) CompTIA's Network + exam; c) NetWare 6 Advanced Administration; d) NDS Design and Implementation; e) Service and Support; f) TCP/IP for Networking Professionals; and g) Desktop Management for ZENworks with Desktops 3. Novell is also planning other changes to the CNE certification that will revolve around the concept of Proficiency Certificates. Check Novell's Web site http://www.novell.com/education/certinfo/ for developing details.

One question that arises as Novell reveals the NetWare 6 CNE requirements is the following: If you are already pursuing the NetWare 5 CNE, should you finish it, or should you wait for the NetWare 6 track to roll out? Based on Novell's history, if you have made an investment of time and money in the NetWare 5 track, finish it. You can anticipate that both the NetWare 5 and NetWare 6 tracks will be available as certification options once the NetWare 6 track rolls out for a significant period. If you earn the NetWare 5 CNE, Novell's past record has shown that you will merely have to take a single update exam. I had to take a single update exam when IntranetWare came out in order to upgrade from NetWare 4.1 when NetWare 5.0 came out and when NetWare 5.1 rolled out. This is not Microsoft, for which you have to take another seven exams to upgrade from NT 3.51 to 4.0; then you have to take another seven exams when you upgrade from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000.

The MCNE is designed for those individuals who are responsible for integrating NDS with the platforms of other vendors. The MCNE track is undergoing a major overhaul. Up to July 31, 2001, Novell had six tracks that led to the MCNE. These tracks included Management, Connectivity, Messaging, Internet/Intranet Solutions, NetWare and UNIX Integration, and NetWare and Windows NT Integration. I was able to earn the MCNE in Management, Connectivity, Messaging, and NT Integration. Effective April 15, 2001, Novell streamlined the six tracks into a single MCNE track. To earn the MCNE now, candidates must have the NetWare 5 CNE and then must pass four exams: one core requirement and three electives. The core requirement is TCP/IP for Networking Professionals. The three electives can be any three of the following: a) GroupWise 6 Advanced Administration; b) GroupWise 5 Net Access and Connectivity version 2; c) Integrating NetWare and Windows NT; d) Integrating NDS eDirectory and Active Directory; e) Network Management Using Managewise 2.7; f) Internet Security Management with BorderManager; g) Desktop Management with ZENworks; h) Desktop Management with ZENworks for Desktops 3; or i) Managing NetScape Enterprise Server for NetWare. Novell also recently announced additional changes to the MCNE track when NetWare 6 rolls out. The changes will include two CompTIA exams. Master CNE candidates will be required to pass CompTIA's Server+ and IT Project+ exams. Master CNEs upgrading from NetWare 5 will be required to pass the IT Project+ exam as a continuing certification requirement. Check Novell's Web site http://www.novell.com/education/certinfo/ for the most up-to-date information.

The CDE, one of Novell's newest certifications, is designed for advanced support persons who need to know how to integrate and troubleshoot directory-service issues. The focus of this certification is the power of directory services, regardless of the parent platform: NetWare, UNIX, or W2K. NetWare 5 CNEs can earn the CDE by passing two exams: a) the Advanced NDS Tools and Diagnostics test; and b) the Directory Technologies test. The Advanced NDS Tools and Diagnostics test has a written and practical portion. Microsoft MCSEs, Cisco CCIEs and CCNPs, and IBM Certified Specialists can also earn the CDE. They need to pass the two previously mentioned tests and two additional exams. Those exams are: a) NDS Design and Implementation; and b) Microsoft's Designing Windows 2000 Directory Services or NetWare 5.1 Administration for Cisco and IBM folks. Microsoft folks can choose between Integrating NDS eDirectory and Windows NT or the Microsoft Designing Windows 2000 Directory Services test. I have not yet pursued or earned the CDE. Many who have sat through the ILTs and corresponding exams have told me that the CDE exams are a true test of your knowledge and practical skills. This is one of the few Novell certifications that I do not currently hold. It is my intent to pursue it sometime this year because I believe it will continue to boost my earning potential, and it will continue to validate my current skill set. I will let you know how it goes.

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