Which certifications are best if you want to work in the data center industry? The answer depends, in part, on exactly which type of work you want to do. There are many specializations in the data center industry – such as design, general operation and networking – and there are different certifications that align with each area of focus.
To provide guidance on which data center certifications you might want to pursue, this article breaks down the main certifications in different domains. It's not a comprehensive list of all possible data center certifications, but it's a helpful starting point if you're looking to advance your data center career by earning a certification but don't know where to begin.
General data center certifications
Several companies or organizations offer generic certifications that deal with basic data center concepts:
- The Data Center Certified Associate (DCCA) certification from Schneider Electric. This credential attests to basic understanding of key topics in data center engineering and management.
- EPI's Certified Data Center Expert (CDCE) certification, which is another general-purpose data center certification offering.
- VMware's Data Center Virtualization, which is geared toward applying virtualization technologies to data centers. This certification is recommended if you have a background in virtualization or cloud computing and want to expand your expertise to the data center.
Although these certifications assume some level of prerequisite understanding of IT technologies in general, you don't need to have prior data center experience to succeed in earning these credentials, making them good first steps if you're brand-new to the data center industry.
Data center networking certifications
Cisco is the key player in certifications related to data center networking. It offers two credentials:
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), which attests to mastery of basic networking concepts and skills that apply to data centers.
- Ciso Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Data Center, which is an advanced data center networking certification.
In addition, Juniper Networks, another major networking company, offers the Juniper Networks Certified Professional - Data Center (JNCIP-DC) certification. Comparable to Cisco's CCNP Data Center credential, JNCIP-DC focuses on advanced data center networking skills.
Data center operations
If you want to work in data center operations, consider the Certified Data Centre Technician Professional (CDCTP) certificate from CNet training.
CNet also offers a Certified Data Centre Management Professional credential, which might be useful if you already work as a data center technician and want to move up the ranks.
Data center sustainability certifications
The surge of interest in data center sustainability has prompted a number of organizations to launch certifications related to sustainable data center design and operations, including:
- Certified Data Centre Sustainability Professional (CDCSP) from CNet.
- The Certified Green Computing Facility certification, which doesn't focus on data centers specifically but can be accompanied by a Certified Green Data Center: Resilience & Availability certification, which does.
- Certified Data Centre Environmental Sustainability Specialist (CDESS) from EPI.
If you want to prove that you understand best practices related to minimizing data center waste and sourcing clean energy, these certifications are an excellent resource.
Conclusion: The many approaches to data center certifications
Whether you're just starting your data center career and need to demonstrate basic knowledge, or you want a more advanced credential in a domain like networking or sustainability, there's a certification for you. The challenge is not in finding data center certifications as much as it's figuring out which of the many certifications available is the best fit for your skill set and career goals.