We’ve all heard of storage networking and terms such as Network Attached Storage and Storage Area Network, but many companies and network engineers are so busy dealing with their current role or area of expertise that they don’t have the time to discover the benefits of this exciting area of IT.
The server and network support engineers used to be the cool guys in the IT department, but with the huge expansion in virtualization and need for an intelligent and robust way to store data, the storage engineer is now firmly established as the new kid on the block. In fact, Information Week had this to say:
“The virtualization and ‘software-defined’ wave is sweeping through the storage market.”
Conversely, a recent poll showed one of the biggest concerns among network managers centered around lack of trained and qualified staff to manage this technology. This is perfect news for any IT student who wants to leverage this situation.
Even if you don’t plan to pursue a career as a storage engineer, an understanding of this area of technology will only benefit your career. Here are eight reasons to get storage certified for NetApp products:
1. You will learn all the basics of storage networking
Although the exam is vendor specific, all the fundamentals of storage networking are covered in the first few modules. It’s vital to understand this if you want your skill set to be relevant to current technology. Once qualified you will have the confidence to contribute to any technical conversation about your company’s storage networking policy (or help create one if they don’t have one yet).
2. It’s practical
Many exams just give you a theoretical understanding of the technology. The NCSA is part theory, but at least half the syllabus is practical based with you installing, configuring, and administering the software. Best of all, NetApp provides a simulator you can download for free.
3. It’s highly prized
Any company recognizes the value of data storage, management, and protection. Most, in fact, have their very existence depending upon these factors. Add to that the legal ramifications of losing sensitive data, and you can begin to see the huge importance of data storage.
Paradoxically, how many of their IT support staff understand this vital area? If you become the go-to guy for storage networking, you can consider yourself indispensable.
“The value of certifications in the IT industry is often debated, but this year our survey showed average salaries increasing from $94,754 for those without any certifications to $121,750 for those holding four certifications,” said Storage Magazine.
4. NetApp is a BIG Deal
You may have never heard of the company unless you are familiar with storage networking; however, NetApp is the biggest storage provider to the US government! That’s pretty big. The military are training their own engineers in droves.
While other companies were vanishing during the dot-com bubble burst, NetApp was thriving. It is also in collaboration with Cisco and VMware “to offer customers an end-to-end Secure Multi-tenancy Design Architecture that provides enhanced security in cloud,” according to Wikipedia.
5. It’s Cutting Edge
No other area of technology is experiencing the growth, investment, and development of storage networking.
“And just when you thought storage consolidation was here to stay, along comes a new round of DAS-based distributed storage systems that piggyback on existing virtual server farms to create a SAN pool – without the SAN,” states Information Week.
Of course, we are still seeing developments in security, voice, and generic routing and switching but nowhere near on the scale of storage networking.
6. It’s Marketable
Check the job boards for “storage engineer” or “NetApp,” and see for yourself. If you have passed the exam, you’ve proven to customers you are at the level NetApp themselves certify as able to support their products. The certification translates into a job.
7. It Pays Well
I know we all like to study what we enjoy, but we also have bills to pay, right?
Storage engineers are in high demand, yet there is only a small pool of qualified engineers from which to draw. Great news for you.
“The average annual salary for the 171 respondents was $98,028….Storage pros in the Pacific region had the highest average salary at $121,400, beating New Englanders’ average salary of $112,529. The Southwest was third at $101,063, ” according to Storage Magazine.
Yes, I know the novice engineer won’t start on that, but you can guarantee that every storage engineer that took part in the survey started out knowing nothing AND is certified to do their job.
Add to that fact you can actually translate the qualification into salary, it seems to make sense to any IT engineer to seriously consider storage networking as a career path.
8. It’s Easily Passable
The NCSA is a foundation certification. Consider that the Cisco CCNA can take weeks or months to pass, but our NCSA course is just over 4 hours long! Sure, you need to do lots of labs with the free simulator, but with a bit of hard work, you could be looking at getting certified in a week or so.
Note that I never said the exam was easy, but it is easily passable. There is a big difference.
I hope you see the value of NetApp certifications. Please check out our NCSA course. Put in the coupon code “ncsa” at the join page, and you can study the course and 20 others for only $20 per month. The discount is applied at the payment page.