Putting another notch in the belt – SolarWinds

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SolarWinds has been an IT Management Tool that I have used for quite some time.  From working at NSI Software to Questionmark, Solar Winds products have definitely been a key piece to my IT Toolkit.  In fact, what I like about SolarWinds is that their the library of content has continued to grow over the years (not just a “One Tool Wonder”) and they have maintained their status in the IT Industry over time.  An added bonus is that all of their tools can be downloaded and demoed for free – especially nice when you are trying to either learn an application or illustrate to a non-technical team the value of a particular toolset.

Speaking of learning and education, this leads me to what I was really wanting to focus on today – the SolarWinds Certified Professional (SCP) Certification.

I learned about this cert a month or so ago – and thought “Why Not?”.  I’ve been using their suite of applications, and have a fairly solid Technical Background.  Lets play with the software (in particular Network Performance Monitor), do a little study and then see where I stand.

The SCP Training Website  gives a pretty good at outline the core fundamentals of the exam (listed below) and provides ample resources, links and videos to help you prepare.

  • Network Management Fundamentals
  • Network Management Planning
  • Network Management Operations
  • Network Fault and Performance Troubleshooting
  • Orion NPM Administration

So, how was the exam?  It was a lot tougher than I thought it would be.

Question types are Multiple Choice or “Choose Two”.  I had no True/False or multiple response questions beyond two answers.  Many questions were situational (ie – Members of Department A are complaining about B, what feature of Tool C would you use to troubleshoot?), while some are Configuration related (You want to configure Device A to do B.  What Two Steps do you need to do to achieve this goal?).

You do have to know Network Performance Monitor pretty well, but experience that you gain setting up, playing with and monitoring most test labs over a period of one or two months should be sufficient for the exam.

One nitpick however, I did find it odd that the exam is 77 questions long.  I am a big fan of round numbers and my ADD really kicked in when watching the number of remaining questions.

Overall though, I felt this was a really challenging exam, one that pushed me more than I expected and tested not only product specific knowledge – but general Networking techniques and my experiences fairly well.

IT Professionals looking to test their Knowledge, Skills and Abilities should really consider checking out, and if you are an IT or Technical Services Manager looking to provide professional development for your staff (without breaking the budget) – SCP should definitely be on your radar.

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