Constant change has always been part of the IT certification game, and Novell has recently thrown another curveball by announcing new changes to its popular certifications. If you’re pursuing the NetWare 6 certification or need to complete a continuing certification requirement to keep your Novell designation, read on. This article will provide you with an overview of the new requirements for Novell’s CNA, CNE, and MCNE certifications, as well as the continuing requirements for currently certified professionals.

New CNA requirements
The first step in Novell certification is becoming a Certified Novell Administrator (CNA). To obtain this certification for NetWare 6, you must pass Novell exam 050-677, Foundations of Novell Networking. This exam covers topics such as directory services, security, Web services, LAN/WAN technologies, and client/server management. To prepare for this exam, you can attend Novell course 3001.

Although passing a single test to earn CNA certification has not changed, the information that is covered in the exam has. For example, LAN/WAN technology is now included in the CNA exam, whereas before it was covered in a separate Networking Technologies exam. These changes are being made to provide certified professionals with a more generalized background instead of testing only on specific Novell information for the CNA exam.

To provide you with the requisite background and experience, Novell recommends that you hold both the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications before attempting exam 050-677.

Changes to the CNE program
The biggest change in Novell certification is in the Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) track. First of all, the Networking Technologies exam has been eliminated. Novell has partnered with CompTIA and now requires that you pass the Network+ examination as part of the CNE certification. The information in both exams was basically the same anyway, so this makes a lot of sense.

Another change to the CNE certification program is that there are no more electives. All exams are now considered to be core exams, making the program the same for all CNE candidates. I think that this also makes sense, since all CNEs will now have the same common body of knowledge. If you want to specialize in a topic that previously was considered an elective, such as BorderManager or GroupWise, you can take individual courses and exams and earn “Specialist Certificates” for different products and technologies.

If you are pursuing the CNE certification, be prepared because becoming a CNE still takes a lot of hard work. You must first hold the CNA and Network+ certifications. Then, you must pass four core exams:

  • Exam 050-681, Novell Network Management: NetWare 6, covers the same topics as the CNA exam but at a more advanced level. To prepare for this exam, you can attend Novell course 3004.
  • Advanced Novell Network Management: NetWare 6 (this course doesn’t have a number yet) is currently being designed and should be released later this year. It will test your knowledge of advanced NetWare and network management topics. To prepare for this exam, you can attend Novell course 3005.
  • Exam 050-664, Novell eDirectory Design and Implementation, tests your knowledge of eDirectory Design and Implementation topics. To prepare for this exam, you can attend Novell course 575.
  • Exam 050-662, Desktop Management with ZENworks for Desktops 3, will test your knowledge of ZENworks for Desktops 3. To prepare for this exam, you can attend Novell course 781.

Earning your CNE certification is not easy, but the changes that have been made to this track should make the CNE certification more valuable.

Requirements for MCNE certification
After obtaining their CNE certification, many professionals decide to obtain the Master CNE (MCNE) certification. This is the ultimate level of Novell certification and shows that you are an expert in Novell networking.

Previously, you could obtain MCNE certification by specializing in several areas of knowledge, such as ZENworks, BorderManager, or GroupWise. Novell has scrapped those specialization areas and now requires all MCNE candidates to pass the same three exams. To obtain this certification, you must first be a CNE. You are then faced with the challenge of passing three more exams:

  • The first required exam, Advanced TCP/IP, will test your knowledge of troubleshooting and advanced TCP/IP topics.
  • The Novell Secure Access exam will test your knowledge of products such as BorderManager, iChain, Single Sign-On, and Authentication Services.
  • Continuing its new affiliation with CompTIA, Novell will also require MCNE candidates to pass the CompTIA IT Project+ exam. This exam will test your knowledge of various business and project management skills.

These three exams are currently being developed and should be available later in 2002. Again, we think that testing all MCNE candidates on the same body of knowledge makes sense because employers will know exactly what type of expertise an MCNE has.

Continuing certification requirements
Like most vendors, Novell requires its certified professionals to update their certifications whenever a new version of its operating system is released. This ensures that you have knowledge of Novell’s latest products and keeps the certification valuable to employers.

If you currently hold the CNE certification, you can take Novell exam 50-676, Upgrading to NetWare 6, to fulfill the continuing certification requirement. To prepare for this exam, you can take Novell class 3000. Novell has not set a mandatory date for recertification, but it should be announced soon.

CNEs are not the only ones required to update their certifications. The MCNE continuing certification requirement states that MCNEs must pass the NetWare 6 continuing certification requirement and pass the IT Project+ exam. You will have until Jan. 3, 2003, to fulfill these requirements.

Wrap up
Novell was the first vendor to jump-start the IT certification craze and has always taken pride in keeping its classes and exams up to date and relevant to the industry. The changes outlined in this article are a continuation of its efforts to provide a high-quality certification program to industry professionals and employers. I believe that these changes are positive and will provide IT professionals certified by Novell with a strong overview of important IT topics, as well as Novell products, making the certification more applicable to what IT pros see in the workplace every day.