Huawei: What Everybody Ought to Know About New IT Certifications – with Phoenix Shen

by Mirek Burnejko

PhoenixThis is an interview with Phoenix Shen from Huawei. Huawei is going to release new IT certifications to provide as much value as possible to IT experts and Huawei’s partners.

In this interview you will find:

  • What new IT certifications Huawei is going to add to the portfolio?
  • Who can use a fast-track program?
  • Does Huawei have plan to present a simulator as a learning tool?
  • Who should start thinking about the Huawei certifications?

IT Certification Master: Hello Phoenix. Tell us something about you and your role in Huawei.

Phoenix Shen: I am a Chinese woman, brought up and educated in China. In September 2008, I moved to the Netherlands. I started to work for Huawei as a Training and Certification coordinator in Western European Enterprise Service Department since June 2011. My job responsibility is to coordinate the enterprise trainings that are delivered in the western European countries.

ICM: Can you tell us about beginnings of the Huawei certification system?

PS: Huawei certification was originated in 2008 with certifications in the field of routing and switching for carriers. In 2010 we launched the enterprise routing and switching certification for global enterprises when Huawei made its entry into the enterprise business domain. On the end of 2011 Huawei released the complete ICT technical certification system — HUAWEI CERTIFICATION Solution, which covers all of the ICT technical fields.

ICM: One question about the Huawei Certified Datacom Associate (HCDA) certification. Who should start thinking about this certification? Someone with an experience with your routers and switches or maybe people who start their career?

PS: This is an entry-level certification for Huawei networking technology and device. Both people with working experience and people who just start their career could think about it, as it will bring benefit to both of them. Starters will gain for instance lab practice experience and have more career opportunities with our HCDA certification. People with working experience for instance will be updated with the newest technology and maintain their competitiveness in the industry.

ICM: The most interesting question, also from our readers. Can you tell us about changes in 2012? We know that Huawei has a plan to add many new tracks and certifications.

Huawei CertificationsPS: We will have 3 levels (associate, professional and expert) for all ICT fields: IP, WLAN, Wireless (LTE), Transmission, Security, Security, UCC, VC, Cloud, server, Storage and ICT convergence (design). This way we will have the most complete ICT certification in the market.

ICM: Do you plan to change the actual Enterprise and Carrier track?

PS: There will be no changes in the tracks except for offering more certification choices.

ICM: We know that you have in your offer a fast-track for HCDP certification (from CCNP). What will change with new paths like Wi-Fi or Cloud? Will we see fast-track for other Professional-level Huawei certifications and for Expert level certifications like HCIE?

PS: The HCDP certification shares a lot of technologies with other datacom certifications such as CCNP, that’s why we could offer a fast-track exam along with the normal track, that is, three sub-exams of HCDP for the certification. However, for Wi-Fi and Cloud certifications, it will be unrealistic to offer a similar solution because there are too many differences between the technologies of different vendors. As to the HCIE certification, candidates could go for the exam directly with no trainings. There’s only the normal track of exams, which consists of a theoretical exam and a lab exam.

The WiFi and Cloud tracks include 3 levels: associate, profession and expert, certification materials, trainings and exams of the associate and professional level will be released in the next half-year of 2012.

ICM: Do you have a plan to do a fast-track for people with Juniper or Brocade certifications?

PS: Our HCDP fast-track certification could convert people with professional certifications of three vendors: Cisco, Juniper and H3C.

ICM: Which certifications from Cisco, Juniper and H3C people should have to do an upgrade?

PS: People with one of the following certificates: CCNP, CCIE, H3CNE RS, H3CIE, JNCIS-ENT, JNCIE-ENT, could take the HCDP fast-track exam to get an Enterprise HCDP certificate. According to our present policy, people with Brocade certificate could not take the HCDP fast-track exam, but only the standard exam

ICM: At this moment learning materials are available for partners. Do you have a plan to release some kind of public study guides or books?

PS: Presently we have no plan to release books or study guides online to the public. The individual students could buy books and lab guides from Huawei Authorized Learning Partners (HALPs) in their country for self-study. In Germany for example people could contact ftk to buy the books. Candidates are encouraged to take trainings at HALP, which is the best way to prepare you for the certification.

ICM: Do you have any plans for a simulator for routers, switches and other devices or maybe some kind of remote lab?

PS: Yes, we do have plans. We plan to release simulators of Router and Switch in the last half-year of 2012, and remote lab on Huawei Training and Certification IT platform in 2013. As to the emulator, it will only be released to our learning partner and trainees, but not to the public.

ICM: Many readers ask us about a renewal policy. Can you describe in a few words the actual policy? Are you going to change something?

Huawei CertificationsPS: The certificate is valid for 3 years. Holders must take the exam of the same or a higher level in order to renew their certifications. To renew a HCDP certification for instance, you can either take two of the three sub-exams before the old certificate expires, or you can take the HCDP fast-track exam regardless of the expiration date. To renew a HCDA certification, you only need to take the same exam again regardless of the expiration date or take the HCDP exams to get a higher level of certification.

ICM: Do you have a plan for upgrade your website with all this information?

PS: The global version of our new website will be launched in the middle of February.

ICM: A tricky question. What, in your opinion, is the best certification on the market?  Something must have for all engineers.

PS: A trick question indeed :)! But seriously speaking I think it’s almost impossible to name one single certification as the best on the market or a must-have for all engineers, since there are many certifications of good quality for different areas. It also largely depends on the professional area you are working in as well as your personal background or previous experience. When it comes to Enterprise Datacom certification, I do believe that Huawei provides certifications of really good quality, perhaps not the best yet since we are still a relatively new player in the Enterprise market, but we have a tremendous growth ahead of us in 2012 and we are confident that the growth will continue in the following years. The holders of our certification will definitely benefit as well from this growth in the future and have more opportunities open for them with it.

ICM: The last question. What do you think about certifications? We have more than 1600 certification on the list. Don’t you think this list it too big?

PS: I think certification of good quality provides a good indication not only to people’s ability to learn the knowledge in a certain area, but also their professional capability if combined with practical experience in the industry. Together with other background information, it would help employers to gain a better judgment of an applicant’s qualification in the field that he/she’s certified.
A long list of certifications is, on one hand a sign of fast development and growth on the ICT market. On the other hand, with so many certifications there it’s possible that some may not have the same value as others. I think it’s very important that the certifications are able to represent value, that is, a higher level of certification represents a higher level of theoretical knowledge and practical expertise.
At Huawei we take the quality and value of certifications very seriously, including that of the training courses that prepare you for them. If other companies share our approach of only adding new certifications that bring value to the industry and its professionals, then the list couldn’t be too long.

[This is part of the Interviews with Vendors Series]