Colleges offer BlackBerry certification

By Briony Smith, Computerworld Canada |  Career, BlackBerry, certification

The Ontario-based triOS College announced last week that it will be the first Canadian academic institution to implement the new BlackBerry certification program.

The BlackBerry Certification course, available this fall, will include the BlackBerry Certified System Administrator, BlackBerry Server Support and BlackBerry Certified Support Specialist, according to triOS College CEO Frank Gerencser. They will come as part of the Network Engineer Diploma. (IT managers off the street are out of luck, though: only diploma candidates can take courses, and the Certifications are unavailable on a piecemeal basis to outsiders.)

triOS wanted to get on board with the new certification--which was announced by Research in Motion in May --after the requests for BlackBerry-savvy interns started rolling in.

"They want network support technicians who know Microsoft network servers, Exchange...and BlackBerry Enterprise Server," Gerencser. "It's become one of the dominant communication tools in Canada for business, and adding that Certification will stack the deck for our graduates."

John Reid, president of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, said, "This is definitely a step in the right direction. When corporations buy BlackBerrys, it's not just a device--it ripples across the entire enterprise and infrastructure. It's very important that a company has the comfort that that project is being managed properly and that their staff has a validated skillset."

And, said Reid, these certifications will only gain in popularity as the legal and integration issues of many mobile devices in the enterprise play out.

After discussions began last fall, the deal was signed with Research in Motion last month. Its Certification offerings are so new, however, that the company had to set up an ad-hoc "bootcamp" to train triOS instructors in the new certifications.

The students themselves will get to work with a BlackBerry Pearl to ensure they get hands-on experience with the device during the certification process. They will be schooled in enterprise support for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server in a Microsoft Exchange environment, how to support the actual BlackBerrys themselves, and server-side administrative training. This year, the schools will have more than 400 graduates who will leave school with the new certifications under their belt.

"These certifications are a great validation that the market has evolved, and that there is a need for IT individuals to develop, help, and maintain mobile technology in the enterprise, and that an ecosystem needs to be developed," said IDC Canada vice-president of technology Marc Perrella.

They could also benefit Research in Motion itself, he said, along with other mobile device and mobile application vendors.

"This will even improve the technology by bringing to market those skills," Perrella said. "The more people developing applications and the better the customer experience--that will drive customer adoption in the enterprise."

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