Expert answers to your voice certification questions

This guide gives expert advice on how to pursue voice certifications that complement your career and help you learn about your company's equipment.

IT professionals with a focus on unified communications (UC) in today's job market have to be willing to change with continuously evolving voice equipment. This involves keeping up with the latest features of your current UC vendor. Pursuing voice over IP (VoIP) certifications can help you do just that.

VoIP and IP telephony continue to grow in importance in modern enterprises, and certification programs that offer coverage of either or both of these topics can really help you stay up-to-date and become an unexpendable resource to your company. Pursuing suitable voice certifications can not only be a huge resume builder, but can also bulk up job security and be a way to get your foot in the door with big companies. Check out these resources to help select the most helpful VoIP certifications for voice engineers.

What certification is best for VoIP?

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)/Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) route is the easiest way to go. This track has continuously proven to be one of the most useful overall credentials for VoIP experts. It is possible to find credentials that pertain to the subject matter in a more direct way -- like Convergence Technologies Professional (CTP) and Certified in Convergent Network Technologies (CCNT) -- but these approaches are a bit gentler, with emphasis on VoIP terms, concepts, tools and technologies.

arrow Read the full answer and find out the best VoIP certifications for you.

What is covered in the CCVP?

Cisco's voice certification, CCVP, covers this VoIP material:

  • Management of single-site, centralized and multi-site network deployments
  • Signaling protocols
  • Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE)
  • Enhanced dial plans
  • H.323 and SIP gateways
  • Call Admission Control (CAC)

arrow Read the full article explaining the details of Cisco's voice certification.

Does vendor-focused UC certification and training narrow career choices?

It is true that many of the problems that continue to plague unified communications adoption is due to insufficient interoperability, proprietary protocols and inconsistent use of standards. This is reflected in the patchy, vendor-specific UC trainings and certification programs. These issues definitely contribute to UC pros feelings that their training options are limited and their job responsibilities are in conflict with career aspirations. However, vendor-specific UC certification and training programs often cover basic data networking that voice engineers need.

arrow Find out whether vendor-specific UC VoIP certification trainings are limiting career potential.

What voice certifications does a system administrator need?

When looking into VoIP or voice certifications, it's important to look at the vendor equipment you utilize. Your vendor is the most qualified to recommend the proper courses. Other useful resources could include basic network training to give you background information on computer networks.

arrow Check out the original advice column on VoIP certifications for system administrators.

Is company-provided CCVP training worth signing a pay-back agreement?

Some companies may offer voice engineers an opportunity to attend a boot camp to earn a CCVP or other voice certification. It isn't uncommon for those companies to require a signed payback agreement that states those who leave employment sooner than two years must repay the company on a pro-rated basis for the training. Although some might view this as a way to "handcuff" an employee to a job, companies are also increasing staff value and enhancing careers. To decide whether this agreement is worth your while, ask yourself these two questions: "How much do you want to earn your CCVP?" and "How much do you like your current job?"

arrow Read Tittle's original advice on pursuing CCVP voice certification.

Read this guide to learn more about voice certifications or ask IT career expert Ed Tittel your own certification question.

This was first published in October 2012

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