Novell Certification

As Novell transforms itself, its certifications have been transformed too -- typically through consolidation of the multiple tracks previously offered for the CNA, CNE and Master CNE programs.

Novell was once a name synonymous with technology certifications. The company pioneered certification programs as continuing education and a recognized credential for IT pros. Now, with certifications proliferating -- just about every software company offers them -- Novell is revising its certifications to gain renewed relevance in a certification-crazed marketplace.

The changes in Novells certification programs reflect a major transformation in the company itself. In its heyday, Novell dominated the world of network operating systems with its NetWare product. As Novell struggles to revamp -- it was recently booted from the Nasdaq 100 -- the company is positioning itself as an Internet services and business solutions firm. Novell provides operating system software, directory services and other infrastructure tools that function in various environments from Linux to Windows.

As the company transforms itself, its certifications have been transformed too -- typically through consolidation of the multiple tracks previously offered for the Certified Novell Administrator (CNA), Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) and Master CNE programs. The changes reflect a shift away from the era of the "certification junkie," says Jim Greene, director of certification at Novell.

With training a discretionary expense and companies cutting back, firms no longer want to pay for multiple certifications for their workers. "The certification junkie is more of a boom-market phenomenon," he notes.

Technology pros have continued to pursue Novell certifications despite the companys woes. As of late November, 13,024 individuals became CNAs for the first time in 2001. The number of new CNEs was 3,169, while 417 people became Master CNEs. According to a Certification Magazine survey, 82 percent of CNEs said the Novell certification had a definite impact on their salaries. The average CNE reported a 14.3 percent salary increase in the first year after attaining the certification, according to the study.

Stats like those may have you thinking about Novell certification. If so, consider these points:

Certification Consolidation

Novell is simplifying its certifications by offering a single track for each certification instead of the multiple tracks offered in the past. During 2001, for instance, the CNE was consolidated from seven to five tracks in February, from five to three in December, and will become a single certification in 2002. Rather than having separate CNE tracks for GroupWise or NetWare 5, the certification now integrates those into a single combined certification. The same goes for the CNA and Master CNE. If youre considering Novell certification, be sure to investigate what certification is right for you. Entry-level techies should consider becoming a Certified Novell Administrator, while those with more IT experience should pursue the CNE or Master CNE.

Novell Means More Than NetWare

As Novell emphasizes, the companys software is being deployed in assorted environments, even when the underlying network is not a Novell network. An example can be viewed on the homepage for, where a logo says, "Powered by Novell NDS eDirectory." The site runs on Solaris but uses eDirectory, Novells identity management system.

What does this mean if youre interested in Novell certification? The certification may be most valuable when coupled with credentials for -- and hands-on experience with -- other products from vendors such as Microsoft and Sun. Technology integration is a valuable skill requiring knowledge of assorted technologies. "Its no longer an us versus them world," says Greene.

Specialized Credentials

Novells revamped certification program does provide ways to stand out from the pack. The Certified Directory Engineer (CDE) credential -- for techies with experience in directory-enabled solutions -- is, "very high-end, very technical," Greene says. "Its for the top-tier directory technologists. We purposely made it a difficult certification to get."

As of late last year, roughly 250 individuals had been awarded the CDE designation, and they were a well-compensated bunch, with a mean salary of slightly more than $100,000. Whats more, Novell offers specialist certificates in other software and technologies, including DirXML, GroupWise and ZENworks. If you see a need for one of these certifications, its another way to set yourself apart.

More About Novell Certification

  • Search for Novell-related courses on MonsterLearning
  • "Novell Professional Certifications: An overview of the companys certifications.
  • CNA: Answers questions about becoming a CNA, Novells entry-level certification for administering networks.
  • CNE: Information on testing and requirements for the CNE certification.
  • Master CNE: Details about the advanced certification for networking professionals.
  • CDE: Information about becoming a Certified Directory Engineer, a credential for professionals specializing in directory-enabled solutions.

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