When IBM acquired Lotus, many predicted the end of the company, along with its flagship product Lotus Notes/Domino. The prediction, oft made even by Lotus advocates, was far from accurate. The product has continued to grow, with version 6 introduced just last year. Version 6 certification options soon followed.

As much as Redmond would like you to believe it, Microsoft is not the only option for specialized certifications. In this article, I’ll provide an overview of Lotus Notes/Domino version 6 certifications.

An old technology with a new twist

IBM has not totally revamped the Lotus Notes/Domino product line, but it has rolled the Lotus certification process into the IBM umbrella. So don’t be dismayed by the IBM logo on the Lotus certification site.

Lotus certification paths
The Lotus product line is broad, so it offers four certification paths. These paths allow you to focus on your area of expertise and prove your skills in the chosen area. The paths are:

  • Collaborative Solutions Application Development
  • Collaborative Solutions System Administration
  • Notes and Domino 6 Application Development
  • Notes and Domino 6 System Administration

The Collaborative Solutions paths cover the Lotus Notes/Domino add-on products: Lotus Workflow, Domino.Doc, Sametime, and QuickPlace. At this time, the exams cover version 3 of each product. You can focus on application development or system administration with these products.

The other two paths cover the Lotus Notes/Domino version 6 product line, either for application developers or for system administrators. Once you choose a path, you can work toward various levels of certification.

Certification levels
Like most companies that offer certification, Lotus has several levels for its product line:

  • CLS: Certified Lotus Specialist
  • CLP: Certified Lotus Professional
  • CLEI: Certified Lotus End-user Instructor
  • CLI: Certified Lotus Instructor

The CLS recognizes a basic level of expertise. It is the most fundamental form of Lotus certification, requiring the successful completion (passing grade) of one certification test in the area of your choice. The test options depend on the path you’ve selected.

To earn the CLP, you must first earn the CLS. You must then pass three additional exams.

The CLEI demonstrates competency for teaching end users. Before you can achieve this level, you must earn the CLS.

Becoming a CLI is a complex process. First, you must exhibit proficiency in the area you would like to teach in, and you must earn the CLP for that area. After successful base certification, you need to complete an online form that includes references demonstrating your previous teaching experience. For a complete look at the CLI requirements, check the Lotus Web site.

Attain Principal status
Lotus offers one more level for those individuals attaining CLP status for application developer and/or system administration: the Principal Certified Lotus Professional (PCLP). Attaining this status for Lotus Domino application developers or administrators requires passing one more exam (from a list) on top of earning the CLP. Those concentrating on Collaborative Solutions must pass all relevant exams. Again, stay tuned to the Lotus education Web site for requirements.

If you’re already certified
Many companies, such as Microsoft, require developers or administrators to upgrade their certifications in accordance with new product versions. Lotus does not make this demand. So if you are Lotus Notes/Domino R5 certified, you can rest easy. This may be a good idea, since the adoption of a new product version is often slow and sometimes nonexistent.

However, Lotus does provide certification paths that allow those certified in R5 to upgrade their certifications by passing a single test. There are separate tests for developers and system administrators:

  • Exam 601: Notes Domino 6 Application Development Update
  • Exam 602: Notes Domino 6 System Administration Update

These tests allow you to maximize your investment in R5 certification and easily update your credentials for the current product release. This is a standard process that’s offered with each new version. However, the Collaborative Solutions path is new to version 6, so there is no upgrade for this option.

Planning to get certified for version 6?

If you’re planning to obtain or update your Lotus Notes/Domino certification, we’d like to hear from you. Send us an e-mail or post below and let us know what you hope certification will do for your career.