Google has announced the new Google Apps Certification Program, and with it, the program's first official certification: Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist.
What is it? It's a recognition that you know how to deploy Google Apps in an enterprise setting. You get a certification and a badge that you can display on your website.
What does it take? Participants are recommended to have 3–6 years IT experience, have deployed Google Apps multiple times within a business, and have experience with migration tools such as Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange or Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes.
The exam cost $100, plus $45 for a webcam (you must use the Kryterion Flexible Webcam). The exam is 100% online (you take it via a web browser), so when you take the exam somebody will watch you via webcam to ensure you're not cheating.
Should you care? For many readers, I'm guessing the answer will be no. However, the following groups might find the certification of interest:
- Consultants. If, as a consultant, you've seen a number of organizations asking about Google Apps, this certification could set you apart from the pack.
- Cloud specialists. If you're specializing in cloud technology (remember my advice about being a master at something), http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/career-development/Tip-for-Success-Be-a-Master-at-Something.aspx certifying in Google Apps is a logical fit.
- Email administrators. Even if you specialize in Exchange, Lotus Notes, or some other email client, you might consider a certification in Google Apps as a nice way to round out your knowledge of today's email systems.
The bottom line is that if you've already deployed Google Apps in a business setting, you can most likely ace the exam and it's not going to hurt your portfolio. But I'm skeptical of how many IT pros have really deployed Google Apps 3+ times. (Let me know in the comments!)
There are also study guides on Google's certification website.
One last note: if you do decide to go for a Google Apps certification, there's a few things you should know. First, you can only try three times in a year for the certification. Second, you need to recertify every year. Third, you need to attend a webinar on new features once a month to keep your certification.
To learn more or register for an exam, visit the Google Apps Certification website.