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A peek at the Domino 6 certification path

As Lotus Software is putting the finishing touches on Notes and Domino 6 in preparation for its release later this year, Lotus is also readying the accompanying certification guidelines. Recently SearchDomino spoke with Barbara Bowen, manager of worldwide professional certification program for Lotus, and John Prokop, worldwide product development manager for education for Lotus, to catch up on the latest certification and curriculum news.

Do you have a timetable for when you'll be making curriculum decisions?
No, not really. We plan on, as far as curriculum goes, having the update courses out based on one of the pre-release builds, which is yet to be determined, between one and two months before the product is released. We'll update that again for real release about the time as the product ships. We'll also have courses that are targeted at new customers, which will start to come out at the time the product ships. We're making some changes with the essay update classes. I'd say most of the titles are going to change to some degree and the length of some courses will change based on our feedback. I think conceptually we'll have a curriculum that'll address the growth within the Lotus market and the "new to Lotus" market. We're going to provide tech update classes to our users on R4 and R5 and we'll have a parallel set of offerings for people new to Lotus, to be defined as what we're calling as skills extension, probably sometime after the product ships.

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CLICK for other articles by Eric B. Parizo What kind of work or effort approximately will be necessary for those certified in R5 and R4 to achieve R6 certification?
If you're R5 certified, you just have to take one exam. It's that easy. You can attend an update course or use an update CBT [computer based training] or practice test. There are a variety of methods to take that one exam. If you're starting from scratch or if you're certified for R4 or less and you want to be certified on 6, you'll have to take three exams. To date, what determinations has Lotus made regarding certification for Notes and Domino 6?
Here's what we know: To become a CLP (Certified Lotus Professional) in Domino 6 from 5 that will take one test. There will be one for systems administrators and one for application developers; we know that. To be a Principal, I don't know what that's going to take. We haven't made any decisions yet. There will be no upgrade path from 4. There's no point in doing that. The program will remain essentially the same with three levels. There will be a single exam for entry, three exams for mid tier, and we're not sure on advanced, but it'll be one or two exams.

 Certification and your career
Still working on your R5 certification? Authors Dave Hatter and Tim Bankes address your questions and concerns on Application Development Certification for Lotus Notes/Domino R5 in this Online Event transcript:
>>CLICK here

There seems to be some confusion in the Domino community about the course curriculum versus certification. What's the difference?
Well it's not always a one-for-one match. We know from research that since the program began, not everyone who takes a course is looking for certification and not everyone who gets certification comes to us for courses. We've stated since day one of the program that in preparation for certification we recommend taking the appropriate courses, but it's also a highly recommended that you have hands-on experience and you work with high level systems administrators and work with business partners. They've been so involved with the product for so many years that when a new version comes out, they're the ones playing with it. They've developed the expertise, and they have very little trouble passing the exams.

We try to provide -- for people who want to be certified -- an appropriate class to help them prepare; and we use the term "help to prepare" because without the related experience, I think it's pretty close to impossible for someone to sit in a class, take the exam and pass it. That's why it's not always a one-for-one match. Another good example is that we're going to address -- with a classroom course -- a learning path for R4 people. There will be no certification path from R4, so you can't just look at the certification path and the curriculum path and assume they match one to one. How are certification decisions made?
Definitely our certification group generally drives the job task analysis, and we work with the curriculum group to help refine it and we develop exams. Then we have it reviewed internationally by a job task board. Has the Notes and Domino 6 education curriculum been established?
We work with the certification people in doing job task analysis, two or three times a year every year to make sure what we still have is valid. That lays some groundwork for what the job tasks are, and gives us a first cut at what we have to teach people. Our tech curriculum has been task driven. We don't just go through the feature list; it's all driven by tasks that people have to do in the various job roles, developer administrator, etc.

We work closely with the CLI (Certified Lotus Instructor) community and with LAECs (Lotus Authorized Education Centers), and we get a market prospective on what people and customers are looking for. We go through a number of designs and work closely with subject matter experts until we reach a point where we're hitting all the right things. We're still in the process of doing that now, and the product is still changing. We're also going to being working with some of the beta customers who have the product to get their feedback on what we've defined to date on how that'll meet their needs. How often do you develop new certification guidelines?
Whenever a new release comes out or when a new series comes out, or whenever the market needs it.

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