Cisco Adds Education Specializations

Modeled on vendor’s technology specializations

October 20, 2009

D.H. Kass

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Cisco Systems Inc. has added six new education specializations designed to help customers identify qualified partners that command advanced training capabilities in specific networking technologies.

The vendor authorizes about 350 Learning Partners worldwide to deliver training and certifications on Cisco technologies both to customers and channel partners.

Cisco’s education specializations are modeled on its technology specializations that point to a partner’s level of skill on a specific platform. The vendor offers four tiers of technology specializations—Entry, Express, Advanced and Master—but is only providing education specializations that map to the Advanced level at this time.

The education specializations include Advanced Data Center Networking Infrastructure, Advanced Data Center Storage Networking, Advanced Routing and Switching, Advanced Security, Advanced Unified Communications and Advanced Wireless LAN.

“The education specializations are a way to validate a partner’s training expertise in a particular technology area,” said Andres Sintes, Cisco global director, worldwide learning partner channel.

He said that the vendor instituted the education specializations in response to market demand.

“Specialization gives Learning Partners what the market is asking for--subject matter expertise,” Sintes said. “We want our Learning Partners to become more specialized on the technology they are best at. We are going deeper than before into specific architectures.”

To qualify, partners must pass an examination and be able to fulfill the role requirements associated with the specialization, including account manager, pre-sales/sales engineer and post sales/field engineer. Education specializations are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

Qualified partners achieving one or more education specialization are featured in the vendor’s Channel Partner Locator, a portal in which customers can match Learning Partners with their ability to deliver complex technology training.

Sintes said that Cisco’s 350 Learning Partners represent about 2,200 instructors dispersed among some 1,000 locations worldwide.

The vendor has added about 100 new Learning Partners in the past year, mostly in Asia-Pacific, Europe and emerging markets, Sintes said. About 70 percent of Learning Partners globally are classified as associates, or entry level, and must partner with a top level partner to deliver training.

Of Cisco’s roster of Learning Partners, a top tier, or 20 percent, account for the majority of delivered training business worldwide and likely will attain at least one specialization, Sintes said.

TAGS: Cisco,partner,training,specialization

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