Mobility has taken IT by storm, forcing management to rethink everything from big-picture infrastructure design to the details of integration among wired and wireless networks. And of course, mobile certifications are following suit.
Where applications, networking, infrastructure and security have always played off each other, it has been historically easy to treat each of those elements as somewhat stand-alone units, as well. But mobility has turned that view upside down and shifted it sideways. Network engineers need to support local, remote and mobile users and provide the proper infrastructure. Application and app development is more heavily slanted toward mobile environments, and security professionals have to consider mobility from every angle.
Whatever part of mobility falls in your bailiwick — networking, infrastructure or security — you should find at least one of our top five mobility certifications worth your time and effort.
This year we've replaced the VMware Certified Professional 6 — Desktop and Mobility (VCP6-DTM) with the Aruba Certified Mobility Professional (ACMP). We still believe the VCP6-DTM is a solid certification and a worthy addition to a networking professional's certification portfolio, but the ACMP currently inches out the VCP6-DTM based on its popularity with employers.
AirWatch, a VMware company, is an industry leader in enterprise mobility management. The AirWatch solution supports many different mobile platforms and operating systems, as well as multiple devices, email platforms, applications and browser management products.
Aimed primarily at AirWatch customers and partners, the AirWatch Academy helps users learn how to implement, install, configure, deploy, manage and support AirWatch solutions. The AirWatch Academy Accreditation Program offers Associate, Professional and Expert certifications, and has certified more than 5,600 individuals as of August 2016. Each level builds on the previous level, creating a classic certification ladder:
- Associate level: AirWatch Enterprise Mobility: Configure and Manage
- Professional level: AirWatch Enterprise Mobility: Configure and Deploy Integrated Solutions
- Expert level: AirWatch Enterprise Mobility: Install and Deploy On Premise Solutions
To achieve each certification, you must take the associated course. The Academy offers classroom, live online or on-demand courses, as well as boot camps and virtual labs. An education program overview PDF, as well as online course modules, product documentation and how-to videos, are available through the myAirwatch portal, which requires users to create an account.
Aruba Networks is perhaps best known for its network infrastructure solutions, but it's also a major player in the next-generation mobility networks arena.
The Aruba Networks certification program includes several mobility and network management credentials. The Aruba Certified Mobility Professional, or ACMP, identifies network engineers who install and maintain enterprise mobility and wireless LAN (WLAN) projects. It's a step up from the Aruba Certified Mobility Associate (ACMA) and is a prerequisite for the more advanced Aruba Certified Mobility Expert (ACMX). The primary difference between the associate- and professional-level credentials is a focus on skills in environments with a single "Mobility Controller" versus multiple controllers, respectively. The expert-level certification is concerned with implementation and troubleshooting in large-scale WLANs.
The ACMP exam covers concepts, networking and topology design for Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks. An ACMP is expected to have deep knowledge of Aruba Networks mobility and WLAN products, firewall roles and policies, operations, planning and design, RFProtect, troubleshooting techniques and applications/solutions.
It might not include "mobile" or "mobility" in its name, but the CCNP Wireless certification covers plenty of mobility-related topics.
The CCNP Wireless credential is designed for support and network engineers who plan, install and troubleshoot wireless local area networks (WLANs) that incorporate Cisco equipment. Because mobile technologies often overlap with wireless networking, Cisco rolled a hefty dose of mobility topics into its CCNP Wireless certification.
Of the four exams required for this credential, the 300-365 Deploying Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WIDEPLOY) exam includes mobility topics relevant to a WLAN environment. For example, it covers designing and deploying WLAN infrastructures for mobility, implementing the Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) architecture and implementing and managing location-based services, among others.
Note: Cisco refreshed the CCNP Wireless certification in 2016, releasing new training courses and exams (which resulted in new names and IDs for the courses and exams as well). All CCNP Wireless certification candidates must take the new exams beginning Sept. 22, 2016. The CCNP Wireless Certification Training and Exam Content Updates pdf explains all of the changes.
The CCNP Wireless is valid for three years. To maintain this credential, certification holders must pass any current professional-level exam (642- or 300-level series exams), any CCIE written exam, the CCDE written or practical exam or the CCAr interview and board review.
Because the CCNP Wireless credential is a logical (although not required) stepping stone to the expert-level CCIE Wireless certification, you can expect to see advanced mobility topics in the CCIE written exam, too.
The Citrix certification program offers a handful of solutions-based credentials for apps and desktops, networking and mobility.
The Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility (CCP-M) recognizes mobile designers and developers who design, install, configure and manage a Citrix XenMobile Enterprise solution. The credential addresses the unique nature of bring your own device (BYOD) issues, along with mobile device and application management, security and IT compliance requirements.
The CCP-M certification requires candidates to pass a single exam. To prepare for the certification, candidates are encouraged to take a Citrix XenMobile training course and study the exam prep guide.
With a $5,000 price tag, the recommended training course will probably be purchased by only the most serious of certification seekers (or those whose employers' training budgets extend that far). In fact, employers may be willing to cover the cost of training to help develop a highly skilled workforce on Citrix XenMobile solutions, so check with your management before signing up.
Once the Mobility certification is achieved, it remains valid for three years, and credential holders must pass the latest exam to recertify.
CompTIA's certifications are highly respected and often serve as prerequisites for other certification programs.
Mobility+ is geared toward mobility architects and engineers, network administrators and security professionals who implement or work in mobile computing environments. A single exam covers over-the-air technologies (Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth and RF), network infrastructure, mobile device management, Internet of Things, security and troubleshooting. Like the A+ and Network+ certs, Mobility+ requires candidates to cultivate broad knowledge of many subtopics. That means building knowledge of and skills in protocols, the OSI model, policies, bandwidth and quality of service, antennas, propagation theory, device interoperability, lifecycles, testing, encryption, security mitigation strategies and more.
Think of Mobility+ as a foundational credential that can be used to move up to higher level certifications in just about any type of networking field because it requires a sound grasp of mobile networking best practices and troubleshooting techniques.
The Mobility+ certification is valid for three years. Credential holders can keep their skills current and maintain certification through continuing education without having to retake the current exam.