In a move targeting ongoing challenges of getting workers up to speed on network virtualization as well as expanding efforts around its Third Network initiative, MEF said it’s launching a certification program covering the automation, virtualization, and interoperability of networks tapping into lifecycle service orchestration (LSO), software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), and carrier Ethernet 2.0.
MEF, which was previously known as the Metro Ethernet Forum, said the Third Network Professional Certification Framework is set to include three levels and a corresponding increase in expertise: essential, professional, and expert.
Essential certification is termed as “foundational … for careers supporting advanced networks,” with a focus on SDN, NFV, and orchestration, with certification work scheduled to begin in the third quarter.
Professional certification is more involved, with work targeting a greater understanding of carrier Ethernet service specifications; deeper knowledge of SDN and NFV; a look at orchestration platforms; and plans to look at network security, software-defined wide-area networking; network design, and architecture.
MEF labels expert level certification as those achieving multiple professional level certifications and have gained a “mastery in vendor-neutral and vendor-specific network technologies.”
MEF explained the certification program targets network administrators that are having to adjust their skillsets to the evolving marketplace.
Workforce training is a hot topic for telecommunication operators looking to dive deeper into the use of virtualization technologies like SDN, NFV and cloud. AT&T, for one, has noted work on internal training efforts that has resulted in more than 79,000 “badges” awarded to nearly 40,000 employees.
The Linux Foundation in late 2015, launched an online training course targeting OpenStack software, noting the move was necessary as accelerated adoption of OpenStack has resulted in a shortage of qualified OpenStack administrators.
Rick Bauer, director of certification at MEF, said the organization’s certification program pulls in standards groups for a single focus on getting workers on the same page.
MEF earlier this year announced work with AT&T, Orange, Colt Technology, and TM Forum to tap MEF’s LSO framework and TM Forum’s Open API framework as the basis for developing a set of standardized APIs for use across the telecommunications space. The standardization is said to allow service providers to work with each other’s SDN architectures in “near real time,” and enable “orchestrated on-demand services over more automated and interconnected networks.”