HP ExpertONE Targets Cisco Training with New Certifications

HP looks to build networking certification programs based on open standards. At least open standards, the HP way.

If there was one item that seems almost ubiquitous in job postings for datacenter and networking IT, it's the line with the an acronym that starts with the letters "CC" calling for some form of certified training branded by Cisco. And this isn't a bad thing per se; Cisco certifications have long been acknowledged to have serious value especially for the higher level certifications, which really do indicate that the holder of the certification has solid experience and training.

This is unlike some other vendor based training programs, which in their formative years suffered from an avalanche of third-party "schools" that turned out students by the thousands who could pass tests without always understanding what they were doing. Acquiring the professional level Cisco certifications requires real experience with networking and Cisco hardware and a thorough understanding of both. So making these certifications a requirement for a job position was, while not a guarantee of competence, certainly a good indicator of knowledge, especially of the arcane intricacies of networking with Cisco IOS and hardware.

It's that last little bit that HP is targeting in their promotion for their new ExpertONE certifications programs, being billed as the "first program that trains professionals in the design, deployment and operation of open, standards-based networks and Converged Infrastructure." In other words,  they are going to try to establish a certification level with the recognition that Cisco has obtained that doesn't include required Cisco knowledge, focusing on the terms "open" and "standards-based" as the differentiators.

Not wanting to leave the existing Cisco-certified professional market untapped, HP has also announced that they will give supplicants credit for the certifications they've already earned from programs that are focused on a single networking vendor. They never mention Cisco by name, but it does seem a little late to be targeting Novell CNEs as a major source of pre-trained candidates.

A walk through the list of available certifications seems to indicate a significant bias towards HP products, but since they are all "open" and "standards-based" it would seem that the ExpertONE marketing isn't completely tongue-in-cheek, but it does mean that IT looking to hire certified datacenter professionals will need to learn yet another list of acronyms to determine exactly what skills those certifications represent.