Shortly after Citrix released XenDesktop 7 they also announced their new Citrix Certification Program. Although still in beta back then, they were quite clear on what to expect in the months to come. Their new solutions-focused certification program, introduced a few months ago, has just gone live and offers us three brand new certification and upgrade paths which we will have a closer look at during this Blog. The accompanying exams, three in total, are now officially open for registration at Pearson VUE. Registration for the beta exams has been closed for a while. Individuals who registered before registration closed were eligible to take the beta exams through August 6th 2013. It’s the real deal from now on.
New certification programs
Since this is an interesting topic not only for me personally but for my company as well I thought I’d dive in and sum up some of the most important changes and announcements, giving you an idea on what’s out there. These will include classroom training sessions, free online resources and a word on what is still to come. Be aware that in most cases you’ll have to login with your My Citrix credentials when having a look at some of the content discussed throughout this Blog. The format hasn’t really changed, it’s still Designing, Deploying and Managing your infrastructure, or something alike. Based on these pillars Citrix created three new certification programs, here they are:
As you can see they’ve introduced some new names for us to get used to, no surprises there. I’ll get to the details on what study in minute. Each certification is build up out of 1, 2 or 3 exams leading to a CCA, CCP or CCE credential. Of-course our current certifications haven’t lost their value, next to these three new certification programs they’ve also introduced three new upgrade paths as well, I’ll let Citrix do the explaining on this one:
CCIAs and CCEEs may update to the new equivalent level by passing only one exam. Eligibility to update will require an unexpired credential. The update path for existing CCIAs and CCEEs will be available until this first version of the CCE-AD or CCP-AD exams are retired. We will provide 3 months’ notice of any changes to the update requirements or update path availability.
Existing Citrix Certified Administrators (CCAs) and Citrix Certified Advanced Administrators (CCAA’s) can achieve the Citrix Certified Associate (CCA-AD) by passing only one exam. The new XenDesktop 7 Solutions exams will be available beginning in early Q4. By the way it goes without saying that I ‘borrowed’ the above (and below) image from Citrix, I’m sure they won’t mind. Let’s get visual:
Some more on the (beta) exams
Once registered you could take each exam just ones, but if you passed the accompanying credential was, or is, yours for life! Below you’ll find an overview on the exams including their preparation guides to give you an idea on what they are about. Although all exams are now open for registration and out of the beta phase, Citrix still needs to update their website. I’m pretty sure this will happen in a day or two, if not sooner, and if it does, I hope all URL’s will keep working, if not, please let me know.
- 1Y0-400: Designing Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutions
- 1Y0-300: Deploying Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutions
- 1Y0-200: Managing Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutionse
Pearson VUE new Citrix certifications
I copied this in from the Pearson VUE website: New Certification Announcement: On October 7, 2013, Citrix will release the first set of its new certifications: App and Desktop. Based on the evolving needs of IT professionals and industry trends, the new certifications are solution-based, validating the skills needed for success with comprehensive, end-to-end Citrix projects. App and Desktop certifications empower people and teams to successfully design, deploy and manage XenDesktop 7 solutions, resulting in faster, smoother implementations, and optimal operations. Every level of certification covers real-world solutions, products and capabilities, validating comprehensive skills across the project lifecycle. The new certification structure will have three levels: Associate, Professional and Expert. Later this year, Citrix also intends to release new Networking certifications at the Associate and Professional levels. Mobility and Cloud certifications are currently in planning.
Before moving on to some of the classroom training sessions available, these have been available for a few months already, I’d like to point out some free training material. And since the ‘real deal’ exams have just been made publicly available, you’ll have plenty of time to study. For a complete overview on the above go to:
Citrix offers a 2 hour online free Introduction to XenDesktop 7 training. I did it myself and I definitely recommend having a look and invest some of your time. Especially useful if you are a die-hard XenApp Admin and relatively new to the FMA (Flex Management Architecture) that XenDesktop has to offer.
Make sure you visit this website and have a look at the ‘Training’ section. He (Trond Eirik Haavarstein aka Eric) offers some really sweet (free) video resources on XenDesktop 7 as well as a few other related technologies. Be sure to check out the rest of the site as well. Although a membership isn’t completely free of charge, it’s some of the best Citrix and App-V training material you’ll ever come across, a small investment with a big payoff for sure. Just read some of the testimonials and you’ll be confinsed.
There is another free section on XenDesktop 7 called: Tips & Tricks. As per Citrix: These simple tips and tricks will help you implement XenDesktop 7 faster, increase your team’s productivity, and make your apps and desktops deployment go smoothly. This section will be updated on an ongoing bases as soon as new (troubleshoot) tips and tricks, manuals, known errors and other material becomes available. A great resource.
Let’s assume you’d like to pursue one of the Citrix certifications but you’re not entirely sure on where to start, then give this tool a go, it’s called: The XenDesktop 7 Skills Assessment. This is what Citrix has to say about it: This skills assessment tool helps you evaluate your Citrix and foundational knowledge. After choosing from the Designer, Builder or Operator roles, you will be presented with several real-world scenarios to rate yourself against. Based on these self-ratings, the assessment will identify your knowledge gaps and provide a summary with specific training recommendations, and the ability to link directly to the training associated with your experience and desired goal.
An extensive product documentation library. Not much more I can say about it really, it’s pretty self explanatory, it’s just all there. You can use keywords to search for your topics of interest, it supports the same keyword syntax for advanced searches as Google does.
If it’s Citrix related you’ll find it here. Some of the brightest Citrix minds out there dedicate their free (spare) time in helping you find the answers you are looking for. If you can’t get your questions answered here, it’s pretty much hopeless. Think of it as a giant dynamic knowledgebase with hundreds of Citrix enthusiasts all ready to jump in when needed, well… something like that.
The Citrix online training catalogue holds three instructor lead training sessions, these haven’t changed. They all take up 5 days but vary in price. You have two choices when signing up: Instructor led training or Virtual Instructor led training. I’ll list them below. Make sure you give the Course Description documents a good read trough so you know what to expect on the course and the exam. They cover all objectives and key skills needed to pass the exams including some preparatory information.
- CDX-400 Designing App and Desktop solutions with Citrix XenDesktop 7
- CDX-300 Deploying App anf Desktop solutions with Citrix XenDesktop 7
- CDX-203 Managing App and Desktop solutions with Citrix XenDesktop 7
Last but not least Citrix also offers the Implementing Citrix NetScaler 10 for XenDesktop and XenApp Solutions training. A new certification track will also be available not to long from now. This one offers us three choices, next to the Instructor or Virtual Instructor led training, Citrix also offers a Self-Paced online training, or SPO in short. Available whenever, wherever. Thanks for the note Clinton :-) Secure application and data access, see below:
Later this year Citrix will also introduce a new NetScaler certification track, a word from Citrix: Releasing late 2013, the Networking certifications focus on key networking solutions in support of Citrix NetScaler, including implementation for app and desktop delivery, networking performance and optimization, and security capabilities. 2014 will bring us a complete new certification track based on Citrix XenMobile, I’m definitely going to peruse that one, no real details for now. Citrix XenDesktop 7 Helpdesk is a one day course intended for Helpdesk representatives that need to support XenDesktop 7 app and desktop users. I couldn’t find any information on how soon this will be released, will keep you posted.
I hope this has been informative for you, it certainly helped me in determining which route to follow. I’m sure there are more (free) study resources out there, feel free to add anything I might have missed and I’ll make note of it. Happy studying and good luck on all the exams.
Bas van Kaam ©
Reference materials used: Citrix.com and the E-Docs website.