As the kids are heading back to school, it looks like Carrier Ethernet professionals have been earning their degrees, too. The Metro Ethernet Forum's Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (CECP) program reportedly is very near to reaching the milestone of 1,000 certified professionals, according to EthernetAcademy.net.
In the grand scheme of things, what do 1,000 certified professionals signify? Or for that matter, what will 2,000 certified professionals -- the number the program expects to certify before the end of next year -- mean for the industry?
Reaching 1,000 certified professionals certainly makes the CECP seem worthwhile. If it has awarded certifications at the rate of more than one professional per day during the past two years since launching program registration, it is doing something right. The broad effect is that Carrier Ethernet customers will have more confidence in the companies and individuals deploying their services and gear. (See MEF Certifies People.)
However, the aggregate number of certified Ethernet professionals throughout the industry may over the long term prove to be less significant than the breakdown of which companies have the most CECP graduates. The MEF helpfully provides this ongoing breakdown on its Services Certification Registry and Equipment Certification Registry, and EthernetAcademy.net even keeps a running tally by the names of the individuals who have been certified through the program and the names of their employers.
This looks to me like information with competitive value waiting to be exploited. It is not clear how often the MEF registries are updated or if the numbers for some companies may be more current than others. But it is interesting to note, for example, that TW Telecom has 58 employees who are CECP-certified, while AT&T lists only four. And on the vendor side, could it be possible that Fujitsu has 92 CECP grads, while Cisco Systems has none?
The disparity in some of the numbers may only demonstrate the CECP program is not yet a point of pride worth promoting for Carrier Ethernet service providers and vendors. However, as markets become more crowded with providers, and carriers and vendors explore new paths of competitive differentiation, CECP standing can and should gain new market relevance.
For now, the aggregate number of CECP earners reflects well on the sector, but the program will really be a hit when companies start showing how proud they are of their little graduates.
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading