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What SD-WAN certifications and courses are available?

A few SD-WAN certifications do exist, but they're heavily focused on specific vendors and their respective products. Find out why market-wide certs are unlikely.

As software-defined WAN becomes a more critical service for an IT organization's WAN strategy, many IT professionals might want to know how they can become certified in SD-WAN, similar to the certifications that can be achieved for other parts of the IT world.

Unfortunately, no actual vendor-agnostic SD-WAN certifications exist today that encompass the fundamentals of SD-WAN. And SD-WAN certifications probably won't be available in the future because of two dynamics in the networking world.

The first reason is the SD-WAN market is both emerging and fragmented. Today, more than two dozen active SD-WAN services have flooded the market. That number climbs even higher when you consider how vendors might be SD-WAN washing their products in which they claim SD-WAN capabilities in order to capitalize on the new networking trend.

With such a large number of disparate vendors offering SD-WAN products, the install bases are more fragmented, making the economics of a certification program untenable. If the market had only a few vendors with relatively equivalent market shares, then it might be advantageous for someone to create an SD-WAN certification program.

Secondly, unlike other network certifications, SD-WAN skills are far more specific to the individual vendors or products and less transferrable among different services. This means any SD-WAN certification would only be relevant for that specific vendor's product. While some vendor-specific skills may apply in other areas, most SD-WAN-specific skills remain locked in with their specific vendor services.

Vendor-focused SD-WAN certifications and courses

A few vendor-specific SD-WAN certifications do exist today, including two from Silver Peak and one from Citrix. However, these certifications are tied narrowly to the vendor products and are less applicable horizontally, such as Cisco's more mainstream networking certifications.

Despite the dearth of market-wide SD-WAN certifications, networking vendors do offer online and in-person SD-WAN courses and training. One example is the Cisco SD-WAN Operation and Deployment course. Again, however, SD-WAN courses are highly vendor-specific and train individuals only on the respective vendor's product.

As for actual SD-WAN certifications, if all the current services start to gravitate toward some common set of standards, then certification programs may emerge around those areas -- but that is unlikely for the foreseeable future.

This was last published in October 2019

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