Citrix To Retire Two Certification Programs In November

Citrix Systems has plans to retire in November two of its legacy certification programs, among the most lucrative in the industry, to adapt to the evolving organizational practices of its partner community.

The Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer (CCEE) for Virtualization and Citrix Certified Integration Architect (CCIA) certification tracks will officially come to an end Nov. 28, according to the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based virtualization technology vendor.

Mike Fouts, Citrix VP of channels and field marketing, said that while the certifications remain popular -- CCEE engineers make an average wage of $104,240 -- they no longer align with the skill sets solution providers use to self-organize their staff.

[ Related: Citrix Unveils Cloud Platform For Rapid Desktop Deployment]

Sponsored post

’The certifications we are retiring are a little bit broad. They encompass a number of skills and disciplines,’ Fouts told CRN.

Citrix had the retirement in mind when it introduced a number of new ’solution-based’ certifications last year that were divided into three disciplines, each containing several components: architecting, assessing and designing; building, deploying and optimizing; managing and maintaining; and monitoring and troubleshooting.

’Those are the three sets that we find the market and the industry break their skills into,’ Fouts said.

’More broadly speaking, one group architects, another deploys and the final maintains. By breaking that up, it allows us to get deeper into each of those so we can provide a better, more-comprehensive certification and skill set,’ Fouts told CRN.

One of the new certifications, Citrix Certified Professional-Virtualization (CCP-V), updates the soon-to-be-retired CCEE track. And Citrix Certified Expert-Virtualization (CCE-V) effectively replaces CCIA.

Citrix has offered the new programs and the ones to be wound down simultaneously for the past year to allow partners time to make the switch.

’We thought it was a much better alignment with how people operate in the real world,’ he added.

NEXT: A Partner's Perspective

Nashville, Tenn.-based solution provider LPS Integration is a Citrix platinum partner.

Wael Altaqi, Citrix team lead at LPS, supervises engineers who, like himself, have already started earning the new certifications.

The changes make sense, Altaqi said, because Citrix is no longer just an app and desktop virtualization software vendor.

’Due to the changes in Citrix as a vendor and changes in the industry in general, the CCEE/CCIA certification tracks are no longer sufficient. Just because an engineer acquired CCEE, it didn’t necessarily mean that he or she is a NetScaler engineer. And just because an architect acquired CCIA, it didn’t necessarily mean that he or she has the necessary skill set to design a mobility solution. Citrix certifications had to change,’ Altaqi told CRN.

The new structure allows hiring organizations to target specific skill sets at specific levels and allows engineers to specialize in certain areas as they see fit for their careers, he said.

Frank Pulliza, COO at LPS, told CRN he expects the new programs to have a positive impact on the business.

’As a partner, certifications and updated certifications are an important and critical measure of the skill set we need from our engineers, both new hires and existing personnel. Just as this program was announced, LPS made several changes that closely align with this strategy,’ Pulliza said.

Instead of a pool of 20 or so general engineers, LPS re-titled its technical workforce to more closely reflect their skill level and experience, he said.

’This is in large part based on their certification level. In turn, these differentiators are used in our services model to provide our client with the right resource,’ Pulliza told CRN, adding LPS has created several new position titles, such as Senior Architects, Senior Implementation Engineers and Support Engineers among several other tiered categories.

’As a solutions provider, it's critical for us to present the right resource to our clients, and certifications like these help us identify those resources correctly,’ Pulliza told CRN.

Five out of a team of 10 Citrix-dedicated engineers at LPS have already achieved several of the new certifications and the rest are on track to complete those before the end of the year.

Fouts said he expects technicians working for companies partnered with Citrix will either get just one, or all three of the certifications introduced last year.

He said more than a decade ago, end users would buy a single-point solution, but today everything is integrated.

As a result, ’you don’t just buy virtualization anymore. Now it encompasses mobility solutions, end-user virtualization and server-side virtualization,’ Fouts said.

It’s a complex marketplace, Fouts said, adding he expects many engineers to earn all the certifications because many are doing all those jobs.

’I could say that Citrix had done a great job in keeping the new exams at the same level of substance and complexity and for that reason, I believe the new certifications will maintain the same great value for the foreseeable future. I think the new track will maintain its rank and average salaries,’ Altaqi told CRN.