The future of Novell Certification

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18th Oct 2000
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In the world of networking professionals, Novell has always been respected and some might even go as far as to call it the 'Father of Networking'.

Over five years ago, more than two thirds of the worlds networks were operating Novell software, therefore many of the rules that still dictate modern networking systems were written by Novell.

However, Novell certainly have experienced problems over the years with the sales and marketing of their products and this has resulted in Novell losing its foothold in the networking market in recent years.

From a training perspective, would it still be worthwhile to gain Novell qualification and attempt to seek work in a product area that might look unstable? The fact remains that the Novell qualification offers a solid level of training that goes beyond the product itself, therefore this area of training should still be taken seriously. Do not forget the fact that the comparative scarcity of Novell engineers also has a return positive effect on market value.

Novell technology has moved to NDS (Network Directory Services) which is a robust directory technology that has been successfully implemented in enterprise environments. This alone makes Novell an attractive option, as it is used by many large institutions and financial houses. Active Directory (one of the new features of Windows 2000) is Microsoft's initiative to introduce similar technology to the Windows environment however it still has limitations when compared to NDS. In essence, NDS has a five-year head start over the Active Directory. However, for all the advantages of NDS it is questionable how long the technology will survive in its current independent form. Novell recently offered to sell the NDS to Microsoft, which they subsequently refused.

The question that most people will be asking nowadays is, is there still a future for CNAs and CNEs?

IT managers tend to be more attracted to those people who have attended Novell training schemes as they appear to have a broader knowledge about networking issues. This also means that Novell trained engineers should find it easier to reskill which is an issue that has to be faced in an ever-changing IT environment.

A lot of controversy and venting of anger has surrounded Microsoft's decision to suspend the NT4 MCSE. However little has been said about the fact that Novell engineers are currently in more or less a similar position. The upgrade exam to NetWare 5 is now being phased out so there is less of an optionhere also. Now the advice would be to go for the NetWare 5 unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise e.g. your company plans to continue use 4.11 for the near future and those organisations may also need staff to continue supporting it.

Basically, the engineer has to be driven by market-forces and especially by the future IT strategies of those organisations employing them. Being a certified Novell engineer certainly keeps them in a strong position, however, to maintain this position needs continual development, and this can be achieved by adding further modules to the existing certification. One option worth considering would be the upgrade route to Microsoft products, thus not only would the novell engineer be suited in this environment but also ready for organisations wishing to transfer to a Microsoft networking system.

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