In the world of IT, “convergence” is a word like “cloud” that can mean something different to every person who preaches on it. In its most common form, convergence refers to the marrying of data and voice (and other media content, such as video). A number of certifications exist to authenticate knowledge in this realm, and we will take a look at some of the more relevant facets of each.
Leading the charge of certifications for convergent technologies is Convergence Technologies Professional, or CTP+. The certification was first introduced in August 2010 and represents a partnership between CompTIA and Certification Partners, LLC. It replaces both CompTIA’s previous offering in the field, Convergence+ which was discontinued on October 31, 2010, and Certification Partners’ Convergence Technologies Professional (CTP). Currently, the certification is jointly owned, managed, and designed by both companies.
The new CTP+ is an attempt to create a single, industry-recognized designation for all convergence professionals. It validates vendor-neutral knowledge necessary to sell and maintain primary convergence-related technologies, including data, telephony, and convergence networking. Professional who have received CTP or Convergence+ certification in the past do not need to take the CTP+ exam in order to keep their certifications in good standing. CTP+ certification is endorsed and recognized on the certification paths of many technology manufacturers, including Nortel, Avaya, Mitel, Cisco, and Toshiba.
Becoming CTP+ certified requires the completion of only one exam, but the 90-minute, 65-question exam is aimed at professional-level convergence specialists and is designed to ensure that candidates need substantial field experience to pass. While the certification has no formal prerequisites, CompTIA recommends 18 to 24 months of experience with convergence technologies before applying. Additionally, CompTIA advises that candidates receive their entry-level Network+ certification prior to working toward CTP+.
Objectives for the CTP+ exam are broken into three categories of varying weight. The most prominent piece (comprising 45% of the exam) deals with data and IP networking for convergent technologies. In this portion of the exam, fundamental knowledge of convergence networking terminology and practices is assessed. Additionally, candidates are required to define and describe wireless networks, local area networks, wide area networks, and virtual local area network infrastructures. Finally, this section charges candidates with planning an IP network, including comparing and contrasting Internet Protocol versions.
Also making up a significant portion of the CTP+ exam, the section dealing with specific convergence technologies accounts for 40% of the candidate’s total score. Here, test takers must identify the devices and protocols necessary to implement and maintain a working convergence network. Knowledge of handling text, voice, video, modem, and fax services are all tested, as well as the protocols used to transmit these services. This section also covers troubleshooting and security issues for convergence technology devices and convergence-driven networks.
The third section of the exam focuses exclusively on telephone and voice technologies and makes up 15% of the total score. Within this section, candidates are quizzed on Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) fundamentals, as well as a myriad of voice services, including call waiting, call monitoring, call forwarding, and more. Exam participants are expected to be able to troubleshoot and repair both digital and analog voice technologies.
The CTP+ exam costs $239, and employees of TIA member companies can receive a 10% discount on their exam prices. For more information on the certification, as well as a detailed listing of exam objectives, visit http://www.comptia.org/certifications/listed/ctp.aspx.