New HP Certification Aims To Identify IT-Savvy College Students


IT talent is becoming increasingly scarce -- just ask any vendor or solution provider how much time and money they spend on recruitment. Hewlett Packard is reacting to the skills shortage with a new certification program aimed squarely at college undergraduates.

HP's new Accredited Technical Associate (ATA) certification, developed in conjunction with Certiport, an American Fork, Utah-based firm that develops certification exams, is designed to identify college students with the know-how to deploy cloud solutions based on HP's Converged Infrastructure (CI) product portfolio.

The HP ATA certification maps to the skills used today by IT architects, system engineers, network administrators and technical support engineers, Brian Beneda, manager of HP Academic Programs, Global Certification and Learning, told CRN in a recent interview.

HP ATA certification is part of HP ExpertOne, a converged infrastructure-focused certification formally announced at Interop NYC that encompasses networking, storage, servers, software and PCs.

Beneda says the ATA certification is built for college students that are pursuing IT as a career, or information workers in other fields that are considering a change to IT.

"This allows us to get into academic institutions to develop key skill sets that partners need right out of school, and who can come into the workforce ready to go," said Beneda. "Our objective is to embed this skill set into an academic course of study and create a continuous talent pool for our partners and customers."

Certiport and HP earlier this week rolled out a preview program for the ATA certification that includes three exams: Designing and Deploying Connected Device Solutions, Designing and Deploying Network Solutions, and Designing and Deploying Server and Storage Solutions.

An additional certification exam, Designing and Deploying Cloud Solutions certification, will be included in the full ATA certification portfolio, which is slated for launch in the first quarter of next year, according to Ray Kelly, CEO of Certiport.

Certiport, which also helped Microsoft develop its Microsoft Office Specialist certification (MOS) oversees some 3 million exams a year in 27 languages, handling them through a network of regional distribution partners. ExpertONE will be delivered by more than 150 independent learning centers and academic institutions around the world, Kelly said.