Training, Certification: Who Needs To Know What And Why

What's more, certified technicians often have access to advanced technical support and expert help from vendors for their troubleshooting and deployment chores.

As is the case in other emerging markets, vendor-based certification and training programs top the priority list for educational resources but usually are geared toward a particular solution or product.

When it comes to VoIP, leaders in education and certification efforts include Cisco Systems, Avaya and 3Com. Cisco offers the Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) certification, which combines five technology courses/exams and requires an existing CCNA certification.

Avaya offers three levels of certification: Avaya Certified Associate (ACA), Avaya Certified Specialist (ACS) and, at the pinnacle, Avaya Certified Expert (ACE). 3Com offers several courses through 3Com University that address broad VoIP products and technologies, and the deployment methodologies surrounding them.

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For solution providers following the vendor-agnostic route, numerous third-party training programs exist. But it may be difficult for those new to the VoIP business to find the right fit.

The key to making the correct educational choice lies with the number of vendors that the particular third-party certification covers, along with the program's ability to educate the candidate in the core technologies associated with VoIP. These include H.323, SIP, QoS, RSVP and codecs. And, as always, the depth of hands-on training required by the certification is another critical factor.