Certify Your
SDN Skills

ONF announces the availability of the OCSP Program Associate exam and shares the key skills engineers need to stay competitive.  

ONF-certified-associateOne of the biggest challenges associated with the shift to SDN is change; the networking world has changed a lot in the last decade. With the evolution of networks also comes the introduction of new ideas and, ultimately, risks as well. Now more than ever, networking professionals need to adapt to the changing landscape and that includes learning new skills.

With the advent of SDN, it can be overwhelming to determine which skills will be vital for professionals. The list is long, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top three skills that are the most important for networking professionals.

  • Automation – This is a cultural shift for network engineers. Previously, network engineers learned to program networks one box at a time. With SDN, they need to change how they configure, monitor, and manage the networks. It is a shift from low-level configuration of networks to higher-level skills, similar to programming software.
  • Troubleshooting – Excellent troubleshooting skills will still play a vital role for network engineers. But these skills will need to evolve as SDN makes the networks more dynamic, requiring the need for automated systems and additional tools to collect and analyze data in real time. Applications will drive the network changes, forcing engineers to become more aware of APIs and examine SDN logs to correlate changes with problem symptoms.
  • Software Tools – Learning how to drive a good text editor will be valuable for SDN networks. Develop some software experience in one of the languages that is used in SDN, such as Java, Python, or C/C++. Most open source projects use Git to maintain their code, making it paramount to learn how to use it to store, retrieve, and archive software projects.

As network engineers’ skills evolve, many are looking to certification programs to further validate their knowledge and experience. A little over a year ago, ONF set out to develop a certification program that would assist professionals in improving and verifying their skills. The ONF-Certified SDN Professional (OCSP) Program was developed to provide a vendor-neutral validation of a professional’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Last year we conducted beta tests of our examinations at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany, for our ONF-Certified SDN Associate (OCSA) certification. It was a packed house for our workshops – a good indication that many within the industry want to certify their skills. Today, we are pleased to announce that the entry-level OCSA examination is now live and available for all to take through our partner, ITpreneurs. The first certification available from the OCSP program verifies concept-level skills for new entrants and individuals working in the SDN ecosystem such as entry-level engineers, product marketing professionals, technical sales, and support personnel. This is a great foundational certification for networking professionals. Later this year, we will announce the availability of the OCSE certification, targeted at SDN professionals who are actively engaged in the technical components of networking and SDN ecosystems.

Are you interested in getting your skills certified? Take the OCSA exam through one of our approved training partners listed here: https://www.opennetworking.org/onf-approved-sdn-training. For more information about the OCSP Program, please visit https://www.opennetworking.org/certification/skills.

- Marco Alves, ONF Chair of Skills Certification and Director of Education Services at SDN Essentials

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