10 Top Data Center Certifications

Data center certifications are in demand in the technology industry. 

The training is built to bridge skills gaps and make engineers, managers, and operation specialists industry ready. For instance, a professional with six certifications, such as specialized tech field, on average earns $13,000 more a year than their counterparts, according to GlobalKnowledge. 

Here are 10 top certifications IT pros should consider to advance their skills in data center technologies:

1. Data Center Certified Associates (DCCA)

Schneider Electric offers the Data Center Certified Associates (DCCA) certification for entry-level engineers looking to understand the design and management side of data centers.

Skills acquired: Candidates will gain an understanding of data center operations, data tier levels, cooling, cabling, security, electrical supply, and fire suppression system.

Prerequisites: No previous experience is required.

Location: The DCCA certification can be completed at home or in the office.

Cost: $250

2. Certified Data Center Design Professional (CDCDP®)

U.K.-based CNet offers a five-day data center professional certification to understand the center’s physical infrastructure, operations procedure, distribution systems, cabling, and structuring support systems. The course involves all the necessary steps, including initiation, commission and designing, studying business decisions, and conducting implementation phases.

Skills acquired: Candidates will receive hands-on experience with data center stack, developing projects, identifying national and international standards, availability models, structural requirements, cabinet designing, power systems, regulations, connection topologies, compliance requirements, cable management, seismic stability considerations, estimating power requirements, revising psychrometric charts, bypass and recirculation, earthing, bonding, strategizing IT requirements, virtualization, optimal testing, regulating local codes, and cable protection.

Prerequisites: Two years of experience in a data center environment as a support, technical, or operations staff are required.

Location: The certification is taken online, supported by a pre-class program and a personalized tutor experience.

Cost: $5,750

3. Data Center Practitioner (DCP)

The instructor-led DCP covers fundamental data center management practices with a particular focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. The certification also comes with a digital badge and a two-year expiry date.

Skills acquired: Candidates will gain hands-on experience with data center history, networking, cooling system basics, power system, server densities, project construction and management, energy consumption, critical load, virtualization, utility, carbon, emergency setoffs, cooling requirements, CHP, utility, emissions, and energy optimization.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites are required.

Location: The certification is taken online in a span of 42 hours.

Cost: $3,590

4. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Data Center

Cisco is an industry leader in data center networking and offers certifications across entry, intermediate, and expert categories. The CCNA Data Center certification is ideal for professionals with one to three years of experience. Cisco’s certificate is valid for three years and requires subsequent rectification with either an associate exam or Cisco’s Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) exam.

Skills acquired: Candidates will acquire an understanding of basic data center networking, troubleshooting, addressing schemes, configuring switches, VLANs, Nexus OS, common network services, network and server virtualization, load balancing, storage, and network access controls.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites; however, Cisco recommends users to take Cisco’s Data Center Networking and Technologies course.

Location: Both classroom and online modes are available.

Cost: The classroom course is five days long and costs around $4,500. Pearson VUE conducts two online proctored exams after the classroom course, each 90 minutes long, for $600 total.

5. Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD)

BICSI’s Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) certification is highly sought-after in telecom data centers.

Skills acquired: Candidates will gain skills in design, integration, implementation, project management, and building physical infrastructure for data centers.

Prerequisites: Two years of industry experience in a teleco is required before taking the course.

Location: Pearson VUE conducts proctored exams in specific areas.

Cost: $495

6. Juniper Networks Certified Professional Data Center (JNCIP-DC)

Juniper Networks is a leader in networking, and it offers certifications in data centers, enterprise routing, switching, and shifting tracks. The accreditation requires re-validation every three years, and candidates can take the JNCIP-DC exam to earn the certificate again.

Skills acquired: Candidates will gain an understanding of data center deployment, implementation of multi-chassis link aggregation group (LAG), Internet Protocol (IP) fabric, virtual chassis, virtual extensible LANs (VXLANs), and data center interconnections.

Prerequisites: Candidates are required to take the Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Enterprise Routing and Switching certification before applying for the data center course. Juniper also recommends taking the Advanced Data Center Switching course beforehand.

Location: The certification is taken online, administered by Pearson VUE. The exam is 120 minutes long and requires candidates to answer 65 multiple-choice questions.

Cost: The certification costs $2,500-$4,750, depending on course location.

7. VCE Converged Infrastructure Administration Engineer (VCE-CIA)

The VCE-CIA offering is by Dell Technologies, which manages and designs Vblock Systems. The company offers courses on all levels, basic, intermediate, and master, and comes with a four-hour long foundation course to cover the basics of data centers. The course is good for two years, and candidates can take the VCE-CIA exam to earn the certificate again.

Skills acquired: Candidates will learn system concepts, security, administration, resource management, troubleshooting, and center maintenance.

Prerequisites: Candidates are required to take the VCE Certified Converged Infrastructure Associate (VCE-CIA) certification before applying for the data center course.

Location: The VCE-CIA is an instructor-led offline classroom program. The exam requires candidates to complete 60 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes.

Cost: $200

8. VMware Certified Professional 6 — Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV)

To date, VMware has offered more than 16 data center certifications to more than 100,000 professionals. The VCP6-DCV certification bridges the gap between cloud management and classic data center networking.

VMware also offers other professional courses on the same lines: VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6.5, Data Center Virtualization Design (VCAP6.5-DCV Design) and VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX6-DCV).

Skills acquired: Candidates will gain skills in Domain Name System (DNS), deploying and scaling vSphere environments, routing techniques, storage basics, and database connectivity.

Prerequisites: Candidates are required to have six months of working experience with VMware vSphere 6.

Location: The certification is taken online, proctored by Pearson VUE. The exams vary from 105-120 minutes and contain 65-85 questions.

Cost: Depending on the exam taken, the charges are as follows:

  • $125 for the vSphere Foundations exam
  • $250 for VMware Certified Professional 6, Data Center Virtualization exam

The VMware training ranges between $4,125 to $6,000, depending on location and course specialization. VMware’s learning zone offers prep courses for certificate takers.

9. Certified Data Centre Expert (CDCE®)

EXIN accredited CDCE is ideal for IT managers and data center professionals involved in building and relocating critical infrastructures and data centers. CDCE’s exam comes in two parts: Part I is a closed-book exam, while Part II requires candidates to answer 25 open questions in 1.5 hours.

Skills acquired: Candidates will gain skills in choosing optimum centers, describing components, design life cycle stages, business resilience, site selection, technical level design, reading electrical Single Line Diagrams (SLD), evaluating product datasheets, correlating equipment specifications, floor loading capacity, maintenance requirements, developing Individual Equipment Test (IET), checklists for critical data center facility, and retirement plans.

Prerequisites: Participants are required to pass the CDCS certificate before registering for the expert-level certification.

Location: Classroom courses are led by an EPI instructor with a 60% hands-on component. Virtual ILTs are also available.

Cost: The cost varies based on the service provider.

10. Certified Data Centre Sustainability Professional (CDCSP)

CNet’s Certified Data Centre Sustainability Professional is a 20-hour intensive training program to understand sustainability and energy from a professional perspective.

Skills acquired: Candidates will learn best sustainability practices, CSR in data centers, data center performance KPIs, understanding business needs, operational risks, creating sustainable ethos, sustainability use-cases, monitoring of power sources, infrastructure, cooling capabilities, sustainability improvements, and maintenance strategies, corporate sustainability and planning.

Prerequisites: Two years of work experience in centers as an operations manager, designer, or sustainability engineer are required.

Location: Both in-person and online courses are available.

Cost: $6,990

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