Certification Renewals

The first post on James new blog reminded me of something that i’ve been querying recently

I’ve been working with Sonicwall products for years. It started in my previous job so made sense to continue to use them when we started our company.

One of the things i did was to take the official training and pass the exam to become a Certified Sonicwall Security Administrator (CSSA)

The benefits for passing include (from the Sonicwall US site)

  • Direct access to 2nd level Technical Support (based on regional availability) 
  • Access to SonicWALL’s Online Forum (discussion group)
  • Support Bulletins and advanced notifications
  • Opportunities to participate in SonicWALL beta programs
  • Certification newsletters
  • CSSA logo usage

Now when i passed no-one told me i’d need to re-certify after a certain amount of time had passed but this turns out to be the case.

I tried to speak to 2nd level tech support but they refused to help as i “wasn’t on the list”

After speaking to our account managers at our distributor and with Sonicwall UK it was only recently we got a definate “yes you have to re-certify” answer

What annoys me is this,

Why should i have to take the same exam every year? (or every two years as it now looks)

If i was doing Microsoft certification i could do the training and pass the exams and become an MCSE

That certification would stay with me until the certification gets retired. Obviously if new products launch new exams come out but i don’t have to retake anything on a yearly basis

Am i complaining about nothing?

I think the sonicwall certification path should include a “re-certification” (or refresher) exam as currently someone taking the exam for the first time would do the same exam as someone who has needs to re-certify

Just my two-pence worth

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

6 thoughts on “Certification Renewals

  • I think it’s a valid complaint. The Sonicwall issue aside (I’m not a sonicwall fan) – keeping up on most certifications is a job unto itself… with a questionable value-proposition. Here’s why… I think if you’re going to invest the time and energy to get certified (in something you already know) – you would be better served by investing that time in learning something new – or even something that that you don’t see an immediate need for but that might come in handy. Maybe that’s Oracle, or SQL, or Linux related skill sets, or maybe it’s Perl, or VB, or Powershell … etc. If you already are comfortable with “X”, wouldn’t it be better to start getting comfortable with “Y”? I don’t know… maybe I’m way off. Not really saying that you shouldn’t be an expert – rather – pick your battles – invest your limited time in the areas that have a high potential ROI – then outsource (or employ) for the rest.

  • SonicWALL agrees. In 2008, as part of the coming updates to the CSSA certification program, we will be introducing re-certification (or refresher) exams focusing on new/delta content from previously achieved certifications. Thanks for the input – it helps us to make our programs more relevant for our resellers and customers. Please send any other suggestions or comments on SonicWALL training to training@sonicwall.com

  • Hi Nick

    Thanks for the comment. Totally agree with you. I’d rather spend time learning something new than worrying about an exam for something i already do (or have previously passed!)

    Certifications aren’t something we chase but it does add to the professional image when talking to potential new clients

    My gripe was if i’ve done it once why do it again!

  • Hi Joe

    Welcome to the blog!

    Glad to hear sonicwall are taking feedback on board

    Look forward to hearing the details on the new certification programme

  • Andy – I agree. I like being able to present to clients that we’re professionals, with professional certs and the like. That said, for the clients that I’ve never told we’re certified in X, or Y… they’ve never asked. In fact, the only time I’ve ever been asked about certs is when we’re parterning with a client who has an existing IT department, and we’re contracting someone on-site.

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