Can Citrix Certifications Ever Keep Up with Product Releases?

Lately I have been on a tear when it comes to taking Citrix certification tests.  I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the exams needed to upgrade my CCEA to the new CCEE.  But a troubling trend has begun to emerge, the exams and certifications seem to have a longer development cycle than the products themselves.

I have to admit, this really isn’t a new trend in the world of certifications. And to be fair you can’t really expect an exam and corresponding certification to roll out of the door the same day products go RTM.

My best example of this is the exact certification program that I mentioned earlier…  the CCEA/CCEE program.  The current CCEA is based on the Citrix Access Suite 4.0 which includes Access Gateway 4.2, Password Manager 4.1, Presentation Server 4.0, and Web Interface 4.2.  Seriously?  I don’t know about the rest of the components of this bunch but I can tell you that Presentation Server 4.0 will be end of life and end of support by the end of the calendar year 2009!  And it is STILL the most current engineer level certification that Citrix offers!

In defense of Citrix, they have announced and released almost all of the bits and pieces for the successor of the CCEA.. the CCEE program.  At the time of writing all but one exam are available for this certification with the final exam not scheduled to be released until the fourth quarter of 2009.  No big deal right?  Well…  except that nearly every single product that will be in the ‘final’ exam will already be at least one revision behind!

The final CCEE exam has been rumored to be similar to the final exam in the CCEA program where candidates will be expected to perform a series of tasks in addition to answering multiple choice questions.  It is rumored that the exam will cover the following products:  Provisioning Server 5.0, XenApp 5.0 for Windows Server 2008, XenDesktop 2.0, and XenServer 5.0.

The problem?  Today the current releases are:  Provisioning Server 5.1, XenApp 5.0 for Windows Server 2008, XenDesktop 3.0, and XenServer 5.5.  The test hasn’t even been relased and it is already rumored to be based on older technology.

So I pose the question again… Can Citrix certifications (or any vendor for that matter) keep up with product releases?

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