In today's competitive IT job market, virtualization is a must-have technology skillset, fueled by the exploding popularity of virtualization and cloud computing. IT pros can get started in this red hot technology space with these top 5 virtualization certifications for 2016.
VMware Virtualization Certifications
As a company whose entire business is centered around virtual machines, hypervisors and virtualization, it should come as no surprise that VMware's multi-tiered certification program also leads off our top 5 list.
VMware dominates the virtualization market space, and currently offers a number of well-recognized and highly sought after credentials. You'll find Associate, Professional, Implementation Expert, Advanced Professional, Expert and Design Expert levels in the VMware program, split among Data Center Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Network Virtualization, and Desktop and Mobility according to the 2015 VMware version 5 and version 6 Certification Roadmaps .
Citrix Virtualization Certifications
With a long history of remote access servers and services, Citrix is arguably the virtualization technology provider of longest standing in the marketplace.
Citrix offers three virtualization credentials, including the Citrix Certified Associate - Virtualization (CCA-V), Citrix Certified Professional - Virtualization (CCP-V) and Citrix Certified Expert - Virtualization (CCE-V). Credentials are valid for three years, and candidates are required to pass the current exam to recertify.
Citrix technology is incredibly popular in many data center operations. Where Citrix virtualization technologies are used, Citrix certifications will be valuable to the IT professionals who work in them. Such expertise remains in high and steady demand. Table 3 lists the requirements to obtain the CCP-V credential.
RHCVA: Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator
Red Hat is another important player in virtualization certification, with its Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA) credential. This certification requires passing a hands-on performance-based, three-hour exam in the tradition of the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) or Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA).
The RHCVA credential aims to identify individuals who are qualified to install, configure and manage virtual environments based on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization.
Cisco Unified Computing Specialist Certifications
Cisco is an undisputed networking powerhouse. Because data centers and the networking infrastructure that supports them are increasingly going virtual, we feel that the Cisco Unified Computing Specialist certifications fit squarely into our top 5 list. The two certs of interest in this category are the Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist and the Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Support Specialist.
The Design Specialist credential recognizes engineers who plan and design Cisco-based data center virtualization solutions from the bottom up. Candidates must be thoroughly familiar with the Cisco Unified Computing System B and C Series, server virtualization software and operating systems, as well as other Cisco data center products.
The Support Specialist credential identifies IT professionals who can deploy a virtualized data center based on the Cisco Unified Computing System. Support Specialist candidates must know how to implement the Cisco Unified Computing System B and C Series, troubleshoot the system and be familiar with next-generation Cisco Nexus products.
Each specialist certification requires successful completion of two exams. Once achieved, the certifications are valid for two years. To recertify, a candidate must retake and pass the current specialist exams or pass the current Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) or Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) written exam.
MCSE: Private Cloud
Globally recognized, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Private Cloud cert targets IT professionals engaged in careers such as network management, server administration and system programming. Those attaining the credential possess skills and expertise necessary to implement and manage private cloud solutions using Microsoft technology.
Those who want to upgrade their Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator or MCITP: Server Administrator credentials to the MCSE: Private Cloud must also complete two exams.
The credential is valid for a period of three years, and one exam is required to maintain the credential. Microsoft occasionally offers the Second Shot program, which lets exam candidates retake the exam for free if they don't pass the first time.