Unlike some of my fellow A-Team members, my days are spent working almost exclusively with partners. My job is to help new, Avnet-aligned NetApp partners with their compliance training. If they want to do more business and move up into higher levels of their partnership, I can assist them on that journey.
The number one thing I recommend to partners, particularly those who are new to NetApp, to help them get the most out of NetApp is-you guessed it-certification. Not only does NetApp certification help you install, manage, and support your customers’ NetApp infrastructure, it also increases your value to your organization as an IT professional and ultimately gives your customers a better bang for their buck. Moral of the story: if you’re a NetApp partner and you’re not certified, you’re leaving money on the table, plain and simple.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s my take on why certification really should matter to all NetApp partners (and customers).
Don’t Leave Money on the Table
If you’re still hung up on that statement and wondering how certification helps you get more money for your deals (and ultimately pass savings on to customers), I’ve got one magic word for you: incentives. NetApp has various incentives in place for partners. How do you take advantage of those incentives? You’ve got to meet certain compliance requirements. How do you meet those compliance requirements? You get certified. See how this works? NetApp requires that you have a specific number of certified individuals in your organization in order to take advantage of certain incentives. These incentives can even cover the cost of the training in some cases, depending on the certifications and specializations that are being pursued. Take advantage of these incentives while they last, as they could have an expiration date. Always check with your NetApp representative or the NetApp Field Portal for more information.
Get the Certifications That Matter the Most to You
With a broad range of certifications and training to choose from, you can gain the specialized knowledge needed to service your clients’ specific needs. Whether you work on the implementation, the administration, or the installation side, or even if you are in a professional services or support role, NetApp provides certification courses that can help you maximize your effectiveness and help your customers get the most out of their infrastructure.
Here is some quick information about a few of NetApp’s most popular certification offerings:
NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA): Gain a basic understanding of NetApp storage systems and ONTAP data management software with NetApp’s foundational certification. NetApp recently added hybrid cloud to the NCSA (NCSA-HC), enabling you to extend your understanding of storage and data management to incorporate on-premises and cloud infrastructures.
NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA): Hone the skills needed to perform in-depth support, administrative functions, and performance management for NetApp storage in NFS and CIFS multi-protocol environments. NCDA-certified individuals also learn how to manage and protect customer data with NetApp SnapMirror, SnapRestore, and SnapVault technologies.
NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer (NCIE): This certification comes in four flavors for different levels of NetApp specialization: NCIE-SAN ONTAP, NCIE-SAN E-Series, NCIE Data Protection, and NCIE SAN 7-Mode. Individuals who take these courses will gain proven skills in implementing Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN as well as integrating different operating systems and applications like Exchange, SQL, DB2, and Oracle.
Professional Services Certified (PSC)/Support Services Certified(SSC) Partner Program: Become certified to install services on the behalf of NetApp, allowing you to grow your business and your capabilities while providing first-line call support for customer issues.
To further enhance your knowledge, NetApp has a variety of specializations that you can earn as a partner. Whether you want to get an improved understanding of ONTAP, FlexPod, OnCommand Insight, or any other NetApp product or solution, you can pursue specializations that provide the training you need while giving you a leg up on the competition.
Don’t know where to begin? NetApp University has created several “Learning Maps” which give you specific training pathways that are catered to various job roles and desired certification levels. Depending on what training you are looking to get and what your level of experience is, NetAppU has the Learning Path you need to get you started in the right direction. It’s a sure-fire way to help you get the information you need to be successful, no matter your role.
All of this information about training and certification is available online through NetApp University and the NetApp Learning Center. You can register for web-based training, as well as any certification-level courses and exams.
NetApp provides a wealth of resources that make it easy for you to be a successful IT professional, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of them.