Tim Höttges, the CEO of Deutsche Telekom, believes 5G will connect everything. It’s the next big opportunity because it’s faster, offers more capacity and will enable the “cloudification” of services. The ability to deliver apps and services anywhere at the click of a button is why communications service providers (CSPs) are rushing to deploy and monetize 5G networks. To do so, they’re turning to the cloud—the multi-cloud, to be exact. And they’re leveraging solutions like VMware.
VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram pointed out that 75% of VMware customers use two or more clouds, and 40% use three or more. VMware makes it easy for enterprises and Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to leverage multi-cloud infrastructures to accelerate growth initiatives, like 5G rollouts, and digital transformation, like moving applications and service offerings to the cloud.
The 5G multi-cloud opportunity is why VMware has introduced new Telco skills badges. CSPs need skilled individuals who have experience with tools like VMware’s SD-WAN and Telco Cloud Platform and who can help CSPs turn 5G networks into gold mines. What does it take to earn your Telco skills badge?
We interviewed Adriana Leiva and Karl Childs from the VMware Learning Certification team to get their expert insight on these new badges.
Why are certifications important to a learner?
“Certifications validate skills, knowledge and abilities of candidates,” said Adriana. Certifications allow candidates to earn recognition for what they know, which is expertise. With this recognition (and VMware’s certifications are known industry wide), certificate holders earn stronger career opportunities.
Holders earn a digital marker to place on their LinkedIn profiles or email signatures. These clickable icons contain information about the certification, allowing potential employers to easily understand the skills and qualifications required to earn that accolade. But, as Adriana pointed out, “the true value of the certification process is what it takes to go through it.”
Earning a certification requires hands-on experience, hours of studying the skills and tools in question and a passing grade on an exam. Certifications are just one way individuals can showcase their talent. Another is skills badges.
How are VMware’s new Telco skills badges different from the current certifications?
Like certifications, badges require individuals to go through a combination of hands-on experience, as well as recommended and required training and required exams. From there, badges and certifications diverge.
According to Adriana, “certifications reflect a broader area of knowledge and align more closely to job roles.” They validate an individual’s skills, knowledge and ability in a specific solution domain, such as network virtualization or security. A single certification exam may test expertise for various VMware products. Certifications highlight the tasks someone would likely complete for certain job roles and the abilities they’d need to perform successfully in that role.
Badges, on the other hand, are narrower in scope. Skills badges represent or assess an individual’s expertise with specific products or domains, such as SD-WAN, VMware Telco Cloud, vSAN or vSphere, for example. Karl added that, while certifications definitely require lab-based work on the exam, with “badges, [the exams] could be blended, they could have labs and multiple-choice questions.”
There are four different types of badges. Skills and specialist badges recognize specific skills and specialties, while milestone badges recognize accomplishments, such as earning two badges in a given field. Contributor badges recognize those who help VMware create new exams and certifications. Contributors join a panel of experts who ensure the badges program remains legally defensible, validating and fair.
Because skills badges are newer, Adriana and Karl elaborated on what it takes to earn one.
What’s the process to earn one of these badges?
Candidates should first determine which badge they’d like to earn. Let’s say they’d like to earn the VMware Telco Cloud Automation Skills badge. First, they’ll want to check the steps required to earn the badge. For this badge:
- VMware recommends attending the training Telco Cloud Automation Fundamentals.
- VMware requires passing the VMware Telco Automation Skills exam, a 105-minute, 55-question test.
On each of those pages are resources to help candidates learn and study for the requisite exam. Candidates should also understand the minimal qualifications, credentials and experience necessary to take the exam. Along with passing the exam, prospective Telco Cloud Automation Skills Badge earners must “[possess] basic knowledge of the VMware Telco Cloud Platform components,” as well as a basic understanding of related topics and technologies.
From there, it’s straightforward. Register, take and pass the exam and then await notification of a hard-earned badge!
What’s coming up in the second half of the year in terms of new certifications/badges?
Karl said that during the second half of this year, “as VMware evolves more toward a multi-cloud strategy, [VMware Learning] will develop more credentials that align with multi-cloud strategy.”
As part of this evolution, the Learning team will expand the scope of certifications. They will not solely align with VMware products and will be more tailored to industry job roles. Future certificate holders, instead of saying “I can manage a vSphere environment,” can instead proclaim, “I can come in and run your virtualized data center.” The end result is a stronger skills foundation built upon knowledge of an entire job rather than just one solution.
Along with strengthening certificate holders’ resumes, a boon for both companies and candidates, VMware Learning’s changes will also make training and exam taking more available and accessible. VMware Learning wants to help the next generation of telco cloud experts adapt to the industry’s fast-paced changes.
Is there a certain Telco badge that you are excited about?
“I really like milestone badges. They show progression. They show that a candidate is actually involved and advancing and looking for advancement in their careers,” said Adriana.
Right now, there aren’t many milestone badge holders. Those who decide to tackle the skills badge challenge will show potential employers they’re experts in a wider array of technologies.
What is the best way to keep up to date with the new badges?
In short, everything badge or certificate earners need is on the VMware Learning Certification website. Adriana and Karl also urge people to join the subject matter expert community to get involved in the program and perhaps join the panel of experts that develops new exams.
For more information about the telco-specific badges, the individual pages are all below.
- The VMware Telco Cloud Automation Skills badge validates an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities using telco cloud platform components but specifically on platform automation.
- The VMware Telco Cloud NFV Skills badge demonstrates an individual’s knowledge of virtual machine architecture and deployments for telco cloud network functions virtualization (NFV).
- The VMware Telco Cloud Platform Specialist Skills badge highlights knowledge of the VMware Telco Cloud Platform, focusing on the knowledge and skills in cloud-native telco cloud architecture deployments.
- The VMware Telco Cloud Practitioner Milestone badge recognizes a combined accomplishment for those who are both VMware Telco Cloud Platform specialists and earners of the VMware Telco Cloud NFV Skills Badge.
The telecoms industry is in the middle of immense change. Major service providers like Deutsche Telekom are embracing a multi-cloud world in search of 5G excellence. These companies need people who understand multi-cloud environments and the tools that make them tick.
If you’ve got what it takes, start earning a VMware Telco Skills Badge today!