Dell EMC announces four new ‘transformational’ certifications

Two of the new certifications, which also add a new Master level to the Dell EMC Proven Professional program, are available now, with the others coming in April and June. While partners will be eligible to complete them when they roll out, they will not immediately become part of the company’s partner program.

Today Dell EMC is announcing four new certifications that the company says transcend the traditional vendor and product-based focus, and instead provide modern training in the heterogeneous environment necessary in today’s digital economy. The new certs cover converged systems and hybrid cloud platforms, multi-cloud solutions and infrastructure security. They also create a new Master Architect certification, intended for the most skilled and experience techs.

“Dell has grounded itself in four key focus areas over the next couple of years – workforce transformation; digital transformation; security transformation, and IT transformation,” said Charles Atkins, Vice President, Dell EMC Education Services. “We in Education Services are looking to enable these transformations. These four new certifications will enable partners and customers to drive and propel the digital economy.”

The new certifications are: the Dell EMC Certified Expert Systems Administrator – Multi-Cloud; the Dell EMC Certified Specialist Systems Administrator – Infrastructure Security; the Dell EMC Certified Associate – Converged Systems and Hybrid Cloud Platforms – and the jewel in the crown, the Dell EMC Certified Master – Enterprise Architect.

“All four of these are net-new, and not a replacement for anything,” Atkins said. “I think that one of the real value propositions here is that three of the four [the Infrastructure Security cert being the exception] are not Dell product-based. They are aligned to a heterogeneous environment. Very rarely today are there non-heterogeneous environments in the data centre solutions, especially in the channel space. And the skillsets needed to handle them have been in pockets.”

“Certifications used to be focused on product-based technology,” Atkins added. “With these new ones, we are expanding into skill-based technology training. The skillsets for this are far beyond product skillsets. There is a hyper-focus on broad-based skills in security, cloud, converged infrastructure, and at the pinnacle, the architecture of a complete end to end infrastructure.”

That pinnacle is the Dell EMC Certified Master – Enterprise Architect certification.

“Before there were three tiers in the Proven Professional program– Associate, Specialist and Expert,” Atkins said. “This Master level certification introduces a new fourth tier.”

The new Master cert uses a board review process to validate that candidates have the technical acumen across a broad skill set, as well as the holistic understanding of business drivers to deliver secure ITaaS solutions.

“We used to look at things through a product technologist lens, and were heavily focused on product in the last,” Atkins said. “This requires that broad-based skillset that moves people from being technologists to being leaders who can transform a digital infrastructure. It requires multiple years of experience to even be eligible, as well as an understanding of how the solution fits to the business strategy and what the business is trying to accomplish.”

Atkins said that this certification is aimed at the top 10 per cent of technology professionals who work in the Fortune 50 market.

“It is a very high-level approach to the market,” he said.

Those interest in earning this Master certification can now apply to appear before the Review board, which will hold its first review session at this year’s Dell Technologies World at the end of April.

While the other three new certs lack the panache of the Master one, they will ultimately impact many more individuals

The Dell EMC Certified Expert Systems Administrator – Multi-Cloud recognizes expertise in administration of multi-cloud solutions. It validates experience managing workloads across multi-cloud environments and their expertise in Dell EMC infrastructure, VMware vRealize Suite, and integrating with popular public cloud providers such as Dell EMC and VMware Cloud Provider Partners, Virtustream, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

“It requires workload management proficiency across multiple clouds from many different providers,” Atkins said.

The new specialist certification is the only new one that is Dell EMC-focused. The Dell EMC Certified Specialist Systems Administrator – Infrastructure Security validates security-first skills in administering Dell EMC infrastructure across the data center and cloud. The CompTIA Security + is a foundational prerequisite.

The new Dell EMC Certified Associate – Converged Systems and Hybrid Cloud Platforms requires foundational knowledge in integrated infrastructure and cloud strategies, and focuses on case studies where the candidate plays the role of a CIO transforming an organization from a traditional data centre to a modernized IT environment.

“There will be thousands of these certifications,” Atkins said. “They will be common in the channel space especially around CI and the hybrid cloud. There will likely be lower numbers in the security space, but as security becomes first thought on everyone’s mind I can see that also increasing.”

The new Master and Associate certifications are open to applications now. The multi-cloud Expert certification will be available April 30, with Dell Technologies World. The security Specialist certification will be available in June.

All of these will be open to channel partners along with Dell personnel and customers at their release. While they will be a useful differentiator in the marketplace, the new certifications will not be an immediate part of the Dell EMC partner program, however.

“Next year, it will be incorporated into the partner program – possibly even later this year,” Atkins said. “We are working with partners on them today, and they will hear more from us over the next several months.”