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HP Restructures Cert Program, Relabels Major Certs

By Ed Tittel
January 03, 2012


From engineering to solutions, for all kinds of good reasons

In the past couple of months HP's certification programs, collectively known as ExpertONE, have undergone some restructuring and had a trio of cloud-related credentials added to its already substantial portfolio (thanks to GoCertify's guest contributor, Janet Foley, for bringing this back to my attention). HP offers two separate cert tracks in its programs: one for IT professionals outside the HP umbrella known as "career certifications," and another for HP employees and channel partners called "affiliate certifications." Here, I'll concentrate on the career certifications on the assumption that HP employees and channel partners already know how to learn more about those offerings that apply exclusively to them (they can, and often do, also pursue career certifications as well).

There are four levels of credentials that fall under the HP career certifications, and their rebranding involves a fairly common change of terminology from engineering to solutions (I'll explain later):

  • Master: These credentials fall under the general designation of HP Master Accredited Solutions Expert aka HP Master ASE. The acronym is the same as the earlier incarnation, except that ASE stood for "Accredited Systems Engineer."
  • Expert: These credentials fall under the general designation of HP Accredited Solutions Expert aka HP ASE. Ditto above for the change to the ASE acronym.
  • Professional: These credentials fall under the general designation of HP Accredited Technical Professional aka HP ATP. This single credential replaces several previous HP designations, including HP Accredited Integration Specialist (HP AIS), HP Certified Systems Administrator (HP CSA), and HP Certified Systems Engineer (HP CSE).
  • Associate: The HP Accedited Technical Associate, aka HP ATA, is a new credential that HP just launched in November of 2011, and it falls under the Certiport umbrella that I blogged about on 12/12/2011. According to Foley, as new versions of the HP AIS, HP CSE, and HP CSA are updated, they will also fold into this sub-program starting this year (2012).

Overall this program embraces some 61 credentials at present, with 3 scheduled to retire by March of this year, and numerous others likely to fall by the wayside in the next 12-18 months. As that happens, however, I'm sure that HP will add new items to keep their portofolio up with topics, tools, and technologies of greatest interest to their customer base. Check out a complete list of certs (by job role, or by technology) to see what I mean.

Why Do Modern Certs Avoid the "Engineer" Word?

As it happens lots of places (roughly half the states in the US, the EU, and many other countries around the world) are very picky about who gets to call themselves an engineer in a job title. For example, my home state of Texas does not permit anyone to call themselves an engineer, or use that word in their job title, unless they have taken and passed the requirements for the Professional Engineer (PE) license, which includes a demanding technical exam, an ethics exam, four years of documented on-the-job experience, and a suitable educational background (which usually means a bachelor's of science in math, physics, or some kind of engineering). In keeping with such stringent and demanding practices, certification programs have generally steered away from incorporating "engineer" in modern credential designations (except for those that include the PE or its equivalent among their requirements). And likewise, those that once included the word "engineer" in their titles have switched to something else to avoid mis-use of the term in areas where it is subject to legal and licensing strictures (The Novell CNE still stands for Certified Novell Engineer to my amazement, even though it has been around since the late 1980s!).