System administrators and network engineers often yearn for a hot certification to make them more marketable. In reality, certification alone -- without hands-on experience -- isnt worth much. But a specialized credential can be a real asset in convincing employers youve got in-demand expertise beyond the scores of other applicants.
For example, consider the Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator (CCEA) credential. In a recent salary survey in Microsoft Certified Professional magazine, the CCEA was ranked second in the "salary by other certification" category, with an average salary of $87,600 per year. According to Citrix, 1,459 techies have received the CCEA. "It really is something that allows individuals to distinguish themselves," says Kristi Jackson, senior marketing manager for education programs at Citrix, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Perhaps youve got a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification, but youre wondering how to gain an edge? If your company uses Citrix products or youre hoping to join a company that does, you may want to consider becoming a Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) or CCEA. Citrix products have been adopted by 99 of the Fortune 100 companies and 91 percent of Fortune 500 firms, according to Citrix.
The Scoop on Citrix
With an emphasis on what it calls, "virtual workplace software," Citrix is focused on offering products to help companies manage complex computing environments. In companies with multiple operating systems, applications and devices -- not to mention diverse locations -- IT administrators often struggle to keep things from spinning out of control. Citrix products aim to help IT administrators deploy and manage applications under this sort of challenge.
Here are the companys two key products:
- MetaFrame: Provides tools to manage and deploy assorted IT resources, including applications and servers. MetaFrame provides specialized monitoring and analysis capabilities to assist IT administrators in tracking system and application usage.
- NFuse: The companys portal solution allows a firm to deploy a variety of applications via a Web browser without rewriting them for the Web. With NFuse, the applications can be delivered "using any device over any connection, in any location."
What Are the CCA Requirements?
In many ways, the CCA is a novice certification; only one exam is required for the credential. The exam you choose should be guided by your companys use of Citrix products. Options include MetaFrame XP Administration (Windows), MetaFrame 1.8 Administration (Windows), MetaFrame 1.x Administration (UNIX) and WinFrame 1.8 Administration. Dont think youll be ahead of the game by passing more than one of these; the CCEA, the next logical step in Citrix certification, requires other, more advanced exams. So far, 29,835 techies have received CCA certifications.
What Are the CCEA Requirements?
According to Carol Guzzo, director of education at Citrix, the CCEA often requires six months to a year to complete for an individual already experienced with Citrix products. The certification requires one of the exams needed for the CCA, along with four others. The other exams test advanced knowledge youd only be likely to achieve with hands-on use of Citrix products. These exams include Citrix Resource Management Services, Citrix Installation Manager, Citrix Load Balancing/Citrix Program Neighborhood and Citrix NFuse Administration.
Where Should I Go for Training?
Like most companies with certification programs, Citrix offers training at a number of training centers, known as Citrix Authorized Learning Centers (CALCs), with courses such as Citrix MetaFrame Administration and Citrix Resource Management Services Administration. You can find one near you by checking the Citrix listing of CALCs or by searching MonsterLearning for Citrix-related courses. If youre ambitious, you can even use the documentation for Citrix products, available online, to help you study for the exams.
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