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Slightly Skeptical View on Solaris Certification

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Sun Solaris Certification Page Solaris 9 System Administrator
part I (SA310-14)
Solaris 9 System Administrator, Part II
(SA310-15)
Solaris 10 System Administrator, part I Solaris 10 System Administrator, part II Solaris 9 Network Administrator Certification Solaris 9 Security Certification Related Certifications Solaris 10 Security Certification
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Solaris 9 Certification Learning Path

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Solaris certification from Sun is highly regarded in the industry, generally above HP and IBM certifications. Getting all three Solaris Certification serve as a badge of honor in many IT organizations. The reason is that it is not that easy to obtain, as it is includes a lot of Solaris specific topics with some of marginal practical use (for example native printing subsystem in Solaris is almost never used in large corporate environment). That means that the person who passed the exam prove not only some knowledge of practically important Solaris (like in most multiple choice question tests does not directly check the real experience of working with Solaris in production environment; they test some semi-artificial "test-related" knowledge base), but also the ability to learn new topics. The latter is as important if not more important in the quickly changing world of Unix administration.

Solaris Certification is administer by Thompson Prometric (Thomson Prometric, a part of The Thomson Corporation). Please note that they do not have a reliable Web site and WEB applications for scheduling/rescheduling of the exam can show your that exam was successfully rescheduled but still did not do it (in this case you do not receive a mail notification but that is easy to overlook or attribute to the spamfilter). If you are not careful you exam fee will be forfeited. There is no recourse. Always check for the confirmation letter after rescheduling.

The current set of Solaris certifications include both Solaris 9 and Solaris 10 sets.

Still Solaris 10 needs a couple of years to stabilize and certifications for Solaris 10 are slightly more difficult then Solaris 9 certifications both due to changes in operating system itself, availability of materials for the preparation to the exam and the structure of exam itself (imitation questions are added).

All Sun certification exams are closed book: you will not be permitted to take anything with you into the testing area other then one page gel pad that is almost impossible to write. See Candidate Pretest Agreement for details (formally disclosure of the content of the test within five years is a violation of this agreement). Solaris 9 administration exam are difficult, especially the second part because may topics are not even by administrators who do Solaris 100% of time on their jobs. It make sense to use some strategy both for preparation and, especially, the strategy for the exam itself.

Like for most such cases it make sense to arrive approximately one hour before the exam and review the most critical information (you should prepare you own summaries of major topics for this purpose). You also might need some time to adapt to the environment and to take an orientation, if any. As far as I know Prometrics actually does not give any special orientation: all the orientation, which actually consists of the tutorial for the examination software is included in the test itself and is structured as a prolog for the test.

Solaris 9 Certification Program

You must both pass the Part I exam and the Part II exam to get Solaris 9 administrator certification. This is probably the most popular Sun certification ever. There are also related Solaris 9 Network Administrator and Solaris 9 Security Certification which are valued only as an addition to this certification.

Part I is rather regular certification exam; Part II is more difficult and can be challenging even for those who administer Solaris system on daily basis. Unless you are extraordinary gifted, very experienced or have a photographic memory you need some kind of strategy to increase your chances. Here are some details on both parts of the exam:

Even if you are a reasonably knowledgeable Solaris administrator expect that preparation (if you are working full-time) needs approximately three months (double this time if you don't administer Solaris system on daily basis):

Official certification normally takes approximately a month to arrive. Once you get your certification there is no requirement to re-certify until Solaris 9 becomes obsolete. So expect the life span of Solaris 9 certification to be approximately five years before you need to start to work on the certification for the next version of Solaris.

The main source of useful information on Solaris 9 certification program is, of course, Sun's Web site. Sun provides a surprising amount of free high quality documentation free of charge. Even better documentation (or sta least more structured) in included into Sun student book for related courses. Some of them include in both classroom and WEB incarnation (for example Web-based Intermediate System Administration for the Solaris 9 Operating System (WSB-239)). The latter is much cheaper then instructor-based SA-239 class.

Also look for a Usenet forum with guidance and interaction from local experts and a community of learners who are taking the same certification.

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[Mar 04, 2011] Oracle making Java, Solaris certifications pricier by Chris Kanaracus

Oracle will soon require 'hands-on' training courses to be taken before certification is granted

March 2, 2011 | ITworld/IDG News Service

Later this year, Oracle will begin requiring people interested in gaining Java and Solaris certifications to attend "hands-on" training courses, at an additional cost of thousands of dollars.

The new rule goes into effect Aug. 1 and regards Java Architect, Java Developer, Solaris System Administrator and Solaris Security Administrator certification paths, according to a notice on Oracle's website.

IT professionals can still get certified under existing requirements for those technologies through July 31, the site states. It was not clear when the notice was first posted; Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Web page provides a list of approved, instructor-led training courses, some of which are conducted in-person and others online.

"Self Study CD-Rom and Knowledge Center (including Recorded Web Courses -- RWC) courses are excellent study and reference tools but DO NOT meet the Hands-on Course Requirement for certification," it adds.

In general, the courses listed last between three and five days and cost from about US$2,000 to nearly $4,000, according to prices listed on Oracle's site.

They must be taken through Oracle University Training Center; Oracle Authorized Education Center or Oracle Authorized Education Partner; Oracle Academy and approved programs; and Oracle Workforce Development Program.

Many Oracle certifications already mandate attendance of a hands-on course. "The course requirement is being added to these certification paths to bring them in line with Oracle Certification Program's standards for the levels of certification under which they fall," the site states.

It does not matter how much experience a person has with Java or Solaris; certification will still be made to meet the training requirements, according to the site.

Currently certified individuals will not have to re-certify under the new rules, Oracle said.

The value of IT certifications has been a long-running industry debate. One common argument is that real-world experience is more important. But others note that certifications allow even veteran IT professionals to gain new skills, as well as potentially add some differentiation to their résumés.

But at the same time, certification is a lucrative business for vendors and channel partners, and Oracle's new requirements for Java and Solaris show it has no intentions of leaving any money related to those popular technologies on the table.

Download Sun Products For customers with support plans

Sun is offering these options to its customers at no charge for a limited period of time. Please note that the courseware available from this evaluation site is not Section 508 compliant.

Solaris 9 OS

The Solaris Interactive Installation -- chapter from the book that looks like a re-write of corresponding chapter of SA-299 manual. In this chapter:

something or another… » certification Neat idea of writing you own test generation scripts. Not that difficult is you know Perl, CGI and some shell programming.

One cool thing at work though was I was able to help solve a problem by reciting a command line from the Solaris 9 certification test. “coreadm -e log”. Enables coredump logging in Solaris, which is the default in FreeBSD.

... ... ...

Last night was a study night. I got home, and began scavenging resources for sample questions to take for my Solaris 9 exam on Friday. I managed to consolidate 137 questions from 5 different sources.

I’ve got another 50 or so to add before I’m happy, and need especially to generate questions on the RBAC section since I’m not familiar with it.

I’m going to be studying my tail off until then

[Jan 9, 2005] Training For a limited time, purchase certification exams and save 10%.

[Jan 8, 2005] Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram Review was updated today.

[Jan 7, 2005] Free Developer Workstation. Subscribe to a 3 year Sun Service Subscription program for only $29.95 per month and get an entry Sun Ultra 20 workstation for free.

[Dec 24, 2005] Sun Training Promotions 10% off the certification exam.

Passed 310-015 (Solaris 9 part II) today

Just passed the part 2 today and though I'd drop in a few notes here...

Whereas 310-014 was printing questions all over it (check my other review), questions were more evenly distributed amongst test objectives, with a little emphasis on NIS/Name Service and NFS. And installation methods (Jumpstart/Flash + NIS).

I've been a Solaris (2.6) admin for ~3 years, but only app servers (no nfs, printing, jumpstart, nis) so I was a rookie for much of the topics. I studied for about a month with 2 books, and did all the free tests I could find on the net.

I used CramSession's SCSA9 book (by Darrell Ambro) which covered almost all that was needed (the exam went into some details (ldap) that the book didn't cover that much).

I also used Osborne SCSA 9 book by Tim Gibbs but it's a piece of crap. I only read it to have another view of the topics. It's full of mistakes, bloathed with copy/pasted stuff from Solaris 8 that doesn't even exist in Solaris 9, etc...

Well that's about enough ... Good luck to everybody and happy holidays

Alex...

[Jan 6, 2005] Sun Opens Solaris 10 Cert Program

Though the company says that Solaris 10 won't ship until late in 2004 (by which I take to mean December, before Christmas), they've already posted a Solaris 10 Preview Web page. Likewise, the company's Certification home page includes a section on Solaris 10, with pointers to a free Web-based New Features of the Solaris 10 Operating System course, as well as instructor-led training on Solaris 10.

Even better, Sun has already posted a Solaris 10 System Administration Learning Path page, which includes specific mention of the two exams necessary to earn that credential and ePractice warm-up exams for each one, as well as the upgrade exam that individuals already certified on an earlier version of Solaris must take to validate their credential for Solaris 10. In the same vein, there's also a page for the Solaris 10 Network Management Learning Path, with mention of the related certification exam required to earn that credential. (This is promised for early 2005, as a follow-on to the System Administrator program.)

docs.sun.com man pages section 1M System Administration Commands You need to know how to take a ufs snapshot; know what it is, it's benefits, and how to do it. Also, understand how to restore a snapshot when restoring an OS disk after a failure. fssnap is a new utility:

CertCities.com News Sun Announces Solaris 10 Cert Plans; May Include Simulation Questions

9/22/2004 -- As part of a larger Solaris 10 OS announcement yesterday, Sun Microsystems officially unveiled several Solaris 10 training offerings as well as its certification plans for the track.

Although Solaris 10 is not scheduled to be released until later this year, Sun has already launched a free, Web-based training course overviewing the features of 10. The company is also prepping an "early advantage" training program that will debut Oct 18. This program will feature a five-day course focused on new features as well as a two-day course devoted to Solaris 10's dynamic tracing capabilities.

According to Sun, this is the first time the company has offered training prior to a release of a Solaris operating system.

In a pre-briefing for the announcement Friday, Sun Certification Product Manager Jim Vonick told CertCities.com that the certification exams for Solaris 10 will debut in "late March" 2005, with betas coming in January.

The company currently has plans for four Solaris 10 exams:

Sun is considering adding exams for a Sun Certified Security Administrator for Solaris 10 title, but has yet to make a final decision on a new version of this credential, which debuted with Solaris 9 track.

Vonick told CertCities.com that the program is working on adding simulation questions to its Solaris 10 exams -- something not yet seen on any Sun exam. According to Vonick, if simulations are added, they will be mixed in with standard-format questions. Vonick said that the company is working with a vendor to develop these questions, but could not provide further details by press time.

Information on the Solaris 10 certification track will be posted on Sun's Web site in the coming months. In the meantime, for more information on upcoming Solaris 10 training opportunities from Sun, go here.  -Becky Nagel

[Oct 15, 2004] US Training - Solaris 10 System Administration Learning Path

Courses support system administrators tasked with performing essential system administration procedures on the Solaris Operating System (Solaris OS) and technical application support staff responsible for administering a networked server running on the Solaris OS.

US Training - Course Catalog

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