**Editor's Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**
Cloud and virtualization provider Citrix has rolled out its revamped certifications curriculum and process after a little more than a year of development.
For partners, the changes include some important subtractions and additions. For starters, the previous platform required too much time out of the field, "which was prohibitive to adoption and to [partners] having interest in it," said Mike Fouts, Americas channel chief for Citrix. "And it wasn't hands-on and real-world enough, so I had been very vocal about that."
Now, the certifications come with online, at-your-own-pace modules.
"It's in your own time in your own setting," Fouts said.
Plus, partners don't have to backtrack.
"If you held one of our previous certification levels, you don't have to start from scratch," said Fouts. "You pick up where your skill level is certified and go through the newer portion of it."
That newer portion comes with real-world deployment problems and solutions. Citrix compiled these case studies from projects conducted over the years, pinpointing the common challenges that cropped up along the way. As a result, the overhauled certification features a virtual lab that lets partners run through scenarios and make changes that impact outcomes.
The subject matter also guides partners through a project lifecycle, from evaluation and design to implementation and support.
Three new certifications are available for Citrix XenDesktop 7. They are as follows:
- Citrix Certified Associate – Apps and Desktops: Designed for IT operators and administrators, this certification validates the skills required to manage XenDesktop 7. Until the end of this year, the exam costs $150. The price will go up to $200 on Jan. 1.
- Citrix Certified Professional – Apps and Desktops: Designed for experienced IT professionals, including designers, architects, engineers and consultants, this certification validates the skills required to deploy XenDesktop 7. The exam costs $300 and requires the Citrix Certified Association qualification, so the cost of certification totals $500.
- Citrix Certified Expert – Apps and Desktops: For IT professionals including designers, architects, engineers and consultants, this certification validates understanding of complex IT implementations and skills required to design XenDesktop 7 solutions to meet business and technical requirements. The exam runs $300 and requires the Certified Professional designation, bringing the total cost of certification to $800.
Citrix said partners receive discounts to take corresponding, but not required, training; they'll get 40-60 percent off the customer list price for any standard scheduled classes.
The provider will introduce similar certifications for networking and mobility in the coming months.