Cisco has launched a certification for network managers, which measures and certifies their business skills.
The certification, the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE), has been developed to help companies identify and hire network managers who have an appreciation for the business environment and can tailor the design of a network accordingly.
For example, a suitable candidate could be a network manager that understands the real-time requirements of building a financial trading application and how these requirements map to network design characteristics, such as low-speed delays in data transfer.
The certification is not a course where students learn new skills, but instead gauges the level of business and technical skills of current managers have through a series of examinations and scenario tests.
"Networks are becoming more complex, and so a manager who can show he understands the business issues can command a higher salary," said Fred Weiller, director of certifications and training at Cisco.
"Networks are strategic and the role of a network designer is becoming much more important," said Yankee Group research analyst Zeus Kerravala. "People who take on design roles impact the strategy of their organisations. This new expert level certification recognises the importance of individuals to not only operate and diagnose networks, but design them."
Yankee Group said network design experts are no longer involved in hands-on configuration, but rather in strategic design and architecture. Networking consultant and author Terry Slattery said the certification would provide a path for technical experts to be involved in business decisions and would help promote best practice when companies design networks.
"The new certification recognises that implementing best practices at the design level is far more efficient than tackling network problems after implementation," he said.
Forrester Research predicts that the discipline of network design will rise in importance, with globalisation fuelling international collaboration and companies turning to videoconferencing and unified communications to enable joined up working.Networks blog >>