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How do I choose an SDN certification or training program?

Network engineer and SDN pro Will Murrell discusses how to choose the right SDN certification or training program, and what types of SDN courses are available.

If you have already decided to invest in formal SDN certification or training, the next question is where to do...

that SDN training? Choosing an SDN certification or SDN training program, like any other, is a matter of assessing where you want to go with your skill set and career.

If you currently work in a vendor-specific shop or want to lock yourself into one vendor, then you should go after SDN certification and SDN training workshops focused on that particular vendor. Vendors like VMware and Cisco are very good about offering training for their products, NSX and ACI respectively, although sometimes you have to get through some pushback to actually get something set up.

Alternatively, in the case of VMware's NSX, the NV (network virtualization) designation of its certifications focuses on that technology. The closest Cisco has to an ACI certification are some of the tests associated with the Cisco Network Programmability set of certifications, specifically the Design Specialist and the Engineer Specialist tracks.

Regarding general SDN technologies and theory, the best option is to look at the SDN courses approved by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). The ONF has come up with a comprehensive series of SDN courses offered by approved providers that cover some of the most standardized portions of SDN technology. While some of these technologies may change over the course of the next few years, they are a good introduction to the technology and can enable you to show a good amount of familiarity with it.

Of course, you should always consider the cost -- in terms of both time and money -- when determining the best route to take in SDN certification and SDN training. Sometimes it may make more sense to take a vendor-specific SDN course, especially if your company will only cover costs and time off for vendor courses. This would at least help you learn some basic theory behind the technology that can be applied across the board.

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This was last published in April 2016

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