Survey Reveals The Biggest Hiring Boom Since The 1960s

A major employer survey has revealed companies across North America and Europe are hiring at the fastest rate since the 1960s.

With most employers reporting difficulty filling vacancies, incentives such as pay and flexibility are now commonplace.

Yet the most popular offers are training, skills development, and certifications where appropriate — commitments made by almost half (48 percent) of those struggling to hire.

Before investing in training and certification, employers need to know how it will generate a return on investment. Many use assessments to identify skills gaps, identify the best candidates and make sure the organization has the skills it needs for the future.

Having employees with the right skills has always been integral to business success. But what are ‘the right’ skills?

The pace of change within organizations makes this a complex question. Shifting objectives and the introduction of new technologies and techniques mean that skills requirements are constantly changing. So how can leaders keep up?

One way is to conduct regular skills gap analyses.

What is a skills gap analysis?
A skills gap analysis explores the difference between the skills an employer needs and those currently held by its employees. It can be conducted by an internal team – often led by the human resources (HR) department – or external consultants.

In either scenario, success is contingent on two things:

A solid understanding of business objectives. Analysts must understand where the business is headed. They can then work back from here to establish the roles and skills needed to progress towards this point.

An accurate view of existing skills. Asking employees to undertake a skills assessment can help analysts achieve this.
Once they have these two reference points, analysts can map the journey between them.

A skills gap analysis in action
Consider an HR executive, for example. They might have been hired based on their listening, collaboration and people management abilities. However, advancements in HR technology and business investment in this area, might mean they now need digital and data analytics skills to really thrive in their role.

By assessing the executive’s data literacy, employers could quantify their current data skills and develop a personalized development plan to improve them.

When to conduct a skills gap analysis
Skills gap analyses are often conducted at moments of business change. This could be following a merger or acquisition, significant regulatory shift. Or even a pandemic. These events can signal a change in business strategy, meaning that the organization or specific teams may not have the skills needed to deliver on their new remits.

The benefits of a skills gap analysis
Provides quantitative data on skills – structured assessments enable analysts to objectively quantify employees’ skills, eliminating the risk of conscious or unconscious biases clouding their impressions of these.

Aligns business and learning and development (L&D) strategies – armed with data on skills requirements, HR leaders can develop clear strategies to build these capabilities among their workforce.

Enables skills benchmarking – analysts can easily track how skillsets develop over time, enabling them to understand the effectiveness of L&D strategies and gauge return on investment in this area.

Supports organizational agility – if leaders understand the skills their workers have, they can redistribute talent throughout the organization in line with demand.
Improves employee recruitment and retention – according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company for longer if it invested in their careers. A skills gap analysis enables employers to make this investment with confidence – and helps employees see how L&D can future-proof their careers.

Moving from reactive to proactive
As the pace of business change accelerates, we’re likely to see more employers undertake skills gap analyses proactively. Those that do will benefit from an ongoing, accurate understanding of the skills they have available to them, enabling them to respond to business changes quickly and with more certainty.

Source credit: Kristin Bernor, Head of External Relations, Questionmark.

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Training And Certification Is A Recruitment Incentive

A recent survey of unemployed workers found over two thirds (70 percent) of job seekers were frustrated they could not find the right job to apply for. The majority (59 percent) also claimed there aren’t enough openings in their preferred profession, yet employers are hiring at their fastest rate since the 1960s.

The much-discussed “great resignation” was expected to lead inevitably to a “great rehire”. Instead, employer requirements and employee expectations seem to have moved apart. This stems from an outdated focus on the wrong skills.

Job specifications and recruitment ads routinely set out technical skills requirements, however too few reflect the organizational demand for modern skills which include critical thinking, problem-solving and digital literacy such as that offered by MEF Accredited Training Providers and required to achieve MEF Professional Certifications.

Some employers have promised to invest in training and certifications, but not all. Those who have not yet made this a common recruitment incentive, should. The overall benefit to employers is measurable and can be significant.

Source Credit: https://www.businesswire.com/news/altii/20210928005206/en/Employers-Need-a-Break-With-the-Past-to-Trigger-the-%E2%80%9CGreat-Rehire%E2%80%9D

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5 Techniques To Reinforce Knowledge Retention In Compliance Online Training And Break The Boredom

Hermann Ebbinghaus once said we forget 70% of all new information within 24 hours. How can we prevent this in compliance online training environments?

How To Enhance Knowledge Retention In Compliance Online Training And Break The Boredom
Ebbinghaus’ theories date back to the 1800s. He labelled them Learning Curve and Forgetting Curve, and said we have to actively counteract the latter. It’s a challenge many educators face, and one any student can prove. Five minutes after leaving the exam room, they can’t tell you the answer to the first question. Some can’t even tell you what the question was. In childhood, this is inconvenient but not damaging. In the corporate world – where online training is intended to build skills for everyday use – it’s an obvious barrier. How can you get around it to ensure knowledge retention in compliance online training so that your employees stave off dreaded L&D boredom?

5 Techniques To Improve Retention And Recall

1. Chunk It

Think about your favorite movie, the one you’ve watched hundreds of times (or you would be willing to). What can you remember about it? You might know it word-for-word from start to finish. But it’s more likely you can quote parts of the dialogue. You certainly can’t describe every detail of that particular scene, though. Our brains remember things selectively. It’s a survival mechanism. If we committed every single detail to (long-term) memory, our brains would explode. There just isn’t enough room for everything we see and hear in a day.

So, if you want to help your corporate learners make space for your online training content in their memory banks, shrink your material. Present online training content in bite-sized chunks. Use small blocks of text, short audio clips, video demos with one main theme. Employ concise language and back it up with strong visuals. Images and sounds are easier to recall than inert words on a page. Don’t tell them everything there is to know about local regulations or policies. Knowledge retention in compliance online training is promoted when you stick to what they need to know for their respective job duties and roles.

2. Storify

What’s the most important law in your life? We’re talking about actual laws here, legal regulations that influence your lived experience. It could be a traffic thing, child care, or minority-based legislation. Can you recite that law word-for-word? Unlikely. But can you recall any parables or fables from your childhood? Definitely. Our brains are wired to remember stories and in some ways, to be soothed by them. Couch your online training content as a story. It could be a case study, a simulation, or a cautionary tale. Tell it in multimedia format.

Your stories should never be abstract, in order to foster knowledge retention in compliance online training. Use realistic, contextual scenarios that they can apply at work. Branching scenarios are a good tool for this. They employ if/then situations to explain concepts and consequences. And while much of adult learning is self-directed, some corporate learners still need a bit of guidance. Offer optional chatbots or ‘tour guide’ characters that can be called up whenever necessary. Quick reference and easy keyword search tools are helpful too.

3. Preview And Review

Start and end each chapter with a summary. In the beginning, bullet-point the main teaching points or learning objectives. It primes employees and shows them what to expect. Displaying focal issues ahead of time helps corporate learners recognize key lessons when they occur. It also guides them on where to put their focus. In the end, present a chapter overview using visual mnemonics. It could be a table, infographic, chart, call-out box, or something similar that would help knowledge retention in compliance online training.

These two devices are good for revision, but they also ensure the efficacy of learning. If an employee spots something in the summary that is obtuse or unfamiliar, they can go back. They could do further research or request additional material on the compliance topic. It’s also a useful analytics tool. You – as the LMS administrator or eLearning developer – can see which areas are most often restudied. This could point to an inadequately developed area of your compliance course, prompting you to review and fix it.

4. Simulate It

Develop simulations that allow employees to apply the skills, behaviors, or knowledge they learned during the compliance online training course. They have the ability to reinforce their knowledge and discover how to translate it to real-world applications. Which helps them assign meaning and gain contextual experience. Employees aren't merely reviewing the compliance regulations or policies via a checklist or manual. Instead, they are immersing themselves in situations that encourage them to remember it organically and use it to overcome real challenges. Such as dealing with COI violations or resolving work-related conflicts according to company policy.

5. Turn The Compliance Training Tables

You have to know a great deal about something in order to teach it. Thus, one of the best ways to reinforce knowledge retention in compliance online training is to turn the tables. Invite employees to guest host a live event or create a presentation. For example, their video might cover the basics of the company dress code. Or delve into a regulation that pertains to your HR practices. This also gives you the opportunity to expand your microlearning online training library, as the employees can upload the video for the benefit of their co-workers. For instance, their 5-minute presentation on data protection protocols becomes a moment of need support tool for your IT department.


Sharing information is only the first step of any educational endeavor. You want to be sure your employees understand it and remember what they learned. Break it into smaller, more vivid, and more memorable chunks. Present your compliance content as a realistic, authentic story that’s applicable to their daily lives. Begin each chapter with talking points, exploratory questions, or learning objectives. Close the chapter with a summary in visual format for quick recall. Compliance online training doesn’t have to be repetitive. Use this article to reinforce knowledge retention in compliance training without boring them to tears. As well as give your employees all the tools they need to apply their training in the workplace and avoid violations.

Source: https://elearningindustry.com/techniques-to-reinforce-knowledge-retention-in-compliance-online-training-and-break-boredom

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MEF Professional Certifications 7500+ and rising!

MEF certifications up 75% since May 2020 among service providers – of the 60 certifications, 42 are service providers. Drilling down from the 42 certified operators, 37 have Carrier Ethernet certification, eight are SD-WAN certified and three went the extra mile to achieve certifications in both categories. Stan Hubbard, director of communications and research for MEF, says now 85% of the organization's service provider members are 3.0 certified.

"The interest in certification is a reflection of the role that operators see Carrier Ethernet as playing in their networks," says Kevin Vachon, COO for MEF. Vachon says the desire for CSPs to achieve CE and SD-WAN certification is partly motivated by wanting to show enterprise customers that their network services are up to date, tested and meet industry standards.

In addition to the MEF 3.0 certifications by CSPs and vendors, 7,500 individuals in 85 countries representing over 400 employer organizations have achieved MEF professional certifications in SD-WAN, SDN/NFV and CE indicating MEF Professional Certifications are not only unique, but a necessity in telecom product support, development, operations and sales.

MEF 3.0 was initially launched in 2017 as a "transformational global services framework for defining, delivering and certifying assured communications services orchestrated across a global ecosystem of automated networks." Since then, MEF 3.0 has expanded to include SD-WAN standards and define Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) services. There isn't an official SASE certification just yet, but last fall, the organization released MEF W117 to define SASE further and work toward a framework to standardize SASE services based on MEF's current standardization work on SD-WAN, security and automation.

Reference Article 'Light Reading': https://www.lightreading.com/sd-wan/sixty-operators-and-vendors-achieve-mef-30-certification/d/d-id/770654

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94% decision-makers worldwide say certified team members are significant value add.

Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report is the largest worldwide study of professionals in the technology community. The following are some of the key findings in the study:

Opportunities exist for bigger paychecks
IT professionals don’t lack opportunities to boost their pay.  Learning a new skill or earning a certification can result in a raise upwards of $12,000 a year. Seeking a promotion to a management position can also pay off, as some decision-makers make over 25% more than the employees they manage.

More IT professionals are certified this year
87% percent of IT professionals have at least one certification, while nearly 40% are already pursuing their next certification. After achieving a certification, IT professionals recognize the benefits immediately, including an increase in work quality, more engagement with their work, and faster job performance.

Skills gaps are stable, but still a significant problem
For the first time since 2016, the percentage of IT skills gaps did not rise year over year. And yet, over 75% of IT decision-makers are dealing with skills gaps. The loss in productivity due to skills gaps can equal 520 hours and $29,000 per employee. Yikes.

Training support is on the upswing
Over 90% of survey respondents trained in the past year — up seven percent from 2019. This may be due to an increase in manager support. When authorized by the organization, 80% of IT decision-makers approved training for their staff, an improvement of 36% from a year ago.

Workloads are major challenges for both managers and their staff
The amount of day-to-day work for the average IT professional is untenable. It’s also exacerbated by skills gaps and unfilled positions on their team. Increasing workloads cause undue stress on employees, which is a problem because an overwhelming number of unsatisfied IT professionals are likely to seek a job change.

Professional Certifications
According to the most recent 2020 report, 87% percent of IT professionals hold at least one certification, up from 85% in 2019 and just behind the all-time high of 89% in 2018.  Latin America and EMEA have the highest percentage of certified professionals (90%), while North America is below the global average for the second year in a row.

A majority of certified IT professionals experience two main certification benefits:  better job performance leading to higher salaries. 

After training to achieve an IT certification, over half of IT professionals said the quality of their work has improved, while one-third find their work more engaging post-certification.  Another 15% say they now make fewer errors.

IT professionals tend to be more effective in their jobs after certification because of the training investment required. Especially with hands-on training, individuals can learn new skills that easily translate to the workplace. These same people make an immediate and meaningful impact in their job, which is why nearly 20% either received a raise or a promotion after getting certified.

An IT certification indicates to employers that an individual is willing to invest a significant amount of time to build important skills. The respondents also said a certification can help earn the trust of customers.

In 2020, 80% of North American managers and 78% worldwide report skills gaps. a majority of IT decision-makers say their teams don’t have the skills required to meet current or future needs. When asked to assess the level of risk that skills gaps pose to their team objectives, 77% said the risk is medium to high. Only one percent said skills gaps pose “no risk.” 

Skills gaps remain a challenge and they will not disappear on their own. 68% percent of IT decision-makers anticipate new skills gaps in the next two years. Action must be taken immediately to prioritize skills development.

The number one impact of skills gaps is increased employee stress. Other costs include lower quality work, decreased ability to meet business objectives, increased project duration and a decline in innovation.  According to study conducted by Nielsen, 80% of American workers are stressed by at least one thing at work. Long hours and heavy workloads are leading stressors, and both are exacerbated by team skill shortages.

When asked how they’ll respond to rising skills gaps, 56% of IT decision-makers said they’ll train their existing staff. This is an increase of 17% from last year, signaling that many may be starting to understand that hiring isn’t a viable solution to skill shortages and upskilling current employees reduces the need to go outside your organization for new talent, plus it’s a great way to invest in your team. When formal training is available, managers must do everything in their power to ensure employees have the opportunity to build necessary skills because it benefits not just the employee, but them as well.

Certification value is nearly unanimous — 94% of decision-makers worldwide say that certified team members provide added value above and beyond the cost of certification. To put a number on it, over half of those surveyed estimate the annual economic benefit of a certified employee is more than $10,000. Sixteen percent estimate the benefit is $30,000 or higher.

The main benefit of certified personnel is their ability to close organizational skills gaps. Certified employees are also more productive, meet client requirements, troubleshoot issues quickly, provide an edge over competitors, and complete projects faster.

It’s no surprise why the learner prefers classroom training.  There are fewer distractions in the classroom, as opposed to training at home or in the office. Plus, you get to interact in real time with instructors and classmates and when you need to add critical skills that are a high priority for the business, nothing beats instructor-led training, however recent restrictions and mandates related to COVID-19 have forced tele-education as a primary modality.

On-demand training, on the other hand, provides greater flexibility. As we explored in the IT decision-maker section, IT workloads are a real problem. Managers are hesitant to approve training and even more reluctant to allow team members to be away from the desks to attend a course. That’s likely why on-demand is the most-used training type, even though it’s not the most preferred.

For IT professionals who said their company offered formal training this year, 66% took part in online training (e.g., virtual classroom) while 62% attended a course with an outside training provider. Fifty-eight percent said their company provides internal IT training.

Globally, 91% of IT professionals took some form of training last year—up from 85% in 2019. The main reason most seek training is to build new skills. Seventy-eight percent of both IT staff and decision-makers train to improve their skill set.  Another 45% said they trained to prepare for a certification, while 37% wanted to be ready for a new technology or product migration.

COVID-19 has played a significant part in the impact on budgets and the expanding role of virtual and on-line learning platforms.   The need for virtual training and we expect that number to skyrocket, and at the same time we are beginning to see a return to the physical classroom setting as well.

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Skills Revolution Reboot 2021

by Manpowergroup

When skills needs are changing faster than ever, and talent is at a premium, organizations need refreshed talent and workforce development strategies to attract, develop, engage and retain the best talent in this next phase of the Skills Revolution. 

SKILLS REVOLUTION REBOOT: THE 3Rs - RENEW, RESKILL, REDEPLOY, the latest report in the Skills Revolution series, explores the impact of COVID-19 on digitization and skills and the new future for workers, including:

Digitization is speeding up in the global slowdown as companies are accelerating their digitization and automation as a result of the pandemic.
The health, economic and social crisis has positioned HR more critically than ever as companies have had to take a #PeopleFirst approach and see HR firmly rooted in their business strategy.

The emergence of a K-shaped, two-speed recovery. Some industries and people are bouncing back faster and better – those in growth sectors and with high-demand skills – while others are at risk of falling further behind.

How organizations can leverage assessments to measure potential and identify soft skills.


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5 Benefits of Professional Certifications

by MBO Partners

A continuous thirst for knowledge is a key element in building a growing, thriving business. And although continuing education and certification programs can be an investment of time and resources, they help provide recognition for your specialized knowledge or skill set, which can be a significant benefit when it comes to landing certain clients or projects.

Here are five benefits to keep in mind if you’re considering whether or not to pursue a professional certification.

1. Realize a Competitive Advantage
When you have training that your competitors don’t, it sets you. Certifications can differentiate you from other professionals in your field, showing that you have a demonstrated commitment to understanding and excelling in your profession. This can give you an advantage, which is particularly important in today’s competitive market. Stay on top of trends and learn how to use that new software or social platform before it becomes a household name.

2. Boost Efficiency
Professional certifications can also help give your independent business a solid foundation. The advanced training, information, and knowledge you gain from specialized coursework can provide you with up-to-date tools and technical strategies that will serve to guide and direct you in the execution of your projects, allowing you to manage all aspects of your work more effectively.

3. Increase Your Earning Potential
The time and effort invested in professional certifications often results in increased income. Most clients will understand the higher costs associated with specialized training and are willing to pay for consultants who have industry certifications. For example, Project Management Professional (PMP) certification recipients report median salaries that are 26% higher than those who are not PMP certified.

4. Grow Your Knowledge and Skills
By acquiring new and updated industry information or techniques, you can hone current work habits that may be causing inefficiencies or quality issues with your output while increasing your competencies. This can help give you the skills and confidence to try something new such as establishing the groundwork to implement a more sophisticated working environment for your consultancy.

5. Establish Professional Credibility
There are an increasing number of companies, non-profits, and government organizations that, when working with independent consultants, want (or may even be required) to engage those who have certain certifications from recognized programs. Certification demonstrates your commitment to superior professionalism, upholding industry standards, and continued learning. These merits can help boost your professional credibility and prestige within your own network, with your current clients, and when pursuing new business opportunities or bidding on projects.

Certifications are often a worthwhile investment because of the many advantages they can provide throughout your career. As you move forward and as your business evolves, be sure to keep your certifications up-to-date so you can continue to realize these benefits. Also, be sure to publicize your certifications on your website, your marketplace profile, and your LinkedIn profile.


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Seven lessons on how technology transformations can deliver value

McKinsey Digital performed an annual strategy survey which reveals how technology investments are proving their worth, that the COVID-19 challenges of 2020 and 2021 actual created new opportunities and helped drive technology transformation.  Companies with top-performing IT organizations have taken advantage and differentiated themselves from others in their efforts to create value, adopt new technologies, and bring technology and business closer together.  The survey resulted in "The Seven Lessons".

The Seven Lessons (a brief review)

Lesson #1: Technology investments are creating significant business value

More than three-quarters of the initiatives their companies pursued have yielded some or significant cost reductions and improvements to employee experience.  Two-thirds surveyed indicate these initiatives/efforts have increased existing revenue streams and and more than half cite the creation of new revenue streams.

Lesson #2:  People-focused plays result in the most value

Across ten transformation initiatives, respondents say that changes to their companies’ people and talent strategies are among the highest value moves to make.  Changing practices to attract, retain, and upskill talent with digital and engineering skills—respondents report the greatest impact on all four measures of business impact vs. respondents whose companies saw no or negative value across these measures say they were least likely to pursue talent transformations or the scaling of their data and analytics capabilities.

Lesson#3: Talent remains the holy grail of technology transformations— valuable to pursue but difficult
to execute.

Talent strategy is more commonplace at top-performing companies.  Despite the high value potential, people-focused initiatives have not been adequately pursued by lower performing companies.  At companies that have
pursued recent transformations, the top challenges to doing so continue to revolve around talent, skills gap, etc.  Finding talent appears to impede progress at the companies that haven’t pursued technology transformations; 42 percent of respondents say they have stuck with the status quo because it’s difficult to source the talent they need.

Lesson #4:  The talent challenge has clear implications for sourcing

Addressing skill gaps has clearly arisen as a top concern regardless of whether a company has already been through technology transformation or not.  Most respondents say their companies have engaged partners in a range of talent sourcing models, from traditional time-and materials to managed services and joint ventures which may be responsible for the displacing existing talent who could otherwise be upskilled.

Lesson #5: No silver bullets—the top performers execute more transformation plays than others

On average top performing companies have run five out of ten transformation initiatives in recent years, versus
three initiatives at the bottom-quartile companies.  For example, companies that work on scaling their agile-development capabilities often invest in hiring new talent—and accelerating their cloud or automation strategies to enable continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps—in parallel.  However the report did not emphasize the training and certification of existing talent.

Lesson #6: The broader use of advanced technologies supports greater value creation

Top-performing respondents report using a larger suite of solutions to help drive costs down.

Lesson #7: Bridging the business technology chasm is critical to outperformance

Beyond their focus on talent, deployment of new technologies, and a broad transformation agenda, the top performers also follow several practices that foster a stronger partnership between technology and the business (Exhibit 5). At top-performing IT organizations, 57 percent of respondents say their senior leaders are very involved in strategic planning, versus 17 percent in the bottom quartile.

Download the complete McKinsey Digital Report here

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The Value of Professional Certifications

Most successful people will agree that a continuous thirst for knowledge is a key element to achieving success personally and professionally.  Certification programs are more important now than in any previous time in our history, and the benefits are tangible: career advancement, financial reward, professional recognition and empowerment.  Although certifications programs can be a significant investment of time, resources and cost, they help to provide recognition for your specialized knowledge and skill sets.  This is a significant benefit when it comes to landing opportunities on projects, clients and ultimately business revenues. 

Key benefits of professional certification:

1. Competitive Advantage
Professional development through training and certification which others have not achieved provides you and your company significant competitive advantages.  It differentiates you from other industry professionals, illustrating your commitment and knowledge in a specific topic, bolstering your credibility in related areas of knowledge and prestige in the industry.

2. Increased Efficiency
Efficiencies are gained through targeted education aimed at the achievement of professional certifications.  Advanced training, information, and knowledge and collaboration with certified community, in addition to knowledge refresh, keeps you up-to-date on terminology, concepts, likely scenarios, technical strategies and tools that will serve to guide and direct you in the execution of your projects, allowing you to manage all aspects of your work more effectively.

3. Increase Earning Potential
The time and effort invested in professional certifications often results in increased income. Businesses seeking professionals with specialized professional certifications are willing to pay more.  Some studies suggest increased salaries from 20 to 40% higher than those who do not have professional certifications.

Certifications are a worthwhile investment for the many advantages and achievements that can be attained throughout your career. As you move forward professionally and as your business evolves, keeping your certifications up-to-date is key to continued advantages:

Five Key Take-aways:

  • Professional certification is a highly valued credential. While employers are more willing to pay for certificate programs and professional certification, professional certification is considered good value for the money spent.
  • Reputation of the MEF, as well as experience-based exams, re-certification and continued education are the key factors that make certification valuable.
  • Increases in employee engagement, employment satisfaction and productivity are the top ways of measuring the value of professional certification, as are reductions in staff churn, training, and recruitment costs.
  • Employers feel that an certified candidates applying for jobs have an advantage over a non-certified candidates.
  • Employers state that an certified persons considered as independent consultant have a “very significant” advantage over a non-certified individuals.

Certification is actually preferred over other credentials, as certificates, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees are not specific to an business oriented objective, skills or tasks. 

Certification is:

  1. is Experienced based
  2. Value for the money
  3. Practically and professionally oriented
  4. Provides commitment to lifelong learning
  5. Flexible and customizable
  6. Provides both global and local learning
  7. Opens up networking opportunities
  8. Is a positive return on investment
  9. Assists, and in your case may, guaranty career advancement


  • Keeps knowledge current
  • Allows for ongoing education
  • Keeps certification relevant and valid
  • Keeps skills sharp and
  • Allows flexibility in achieving necessary credits

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MEF’s SD-WAN certification highly valuable when taking Ethernet into consideration.

Erin Dunne, from Vertical Systems Group Inc, explained that the MEF’s SD-WAN certification is highly valuable when taking Ethernet into consideration.

Since entering the competitive #SDWAN market in 2017, Comcast Business has been moving up the rankings in Vertical's Leaderboard of carriers offering managed SD-WAN services, where they now rank 7th!

Of the other leaders, Comcast Business is the only one that has achieved the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification to date.

Learn More Here: https://hubs.ly/H0qn_5x0

#MEF #ServiceProvider #sdwan #NetworkOperators #MEFCertification #ComcastBusiness #Ethernet #VPN #NFV

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What are leading industry professionals saying about MEF’s SD-WAN standardization and certification work?

The following are examples of public comments from leading service, technology, and market research professionals on MEF’s SD-WAN standardization work and its relevance to the industry.

Bob Victor, SVP Product Management, Comcast Business
“Becoming one of the first service providers to achieve MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification underscores our commitment to being a technology and standards leader to improve the quality, management and interoperability of Ethernet and IP services for our customers. We’re proud to lead the industry as the combination of SD-WAN, Ethernet and broadband connectivity displaces legacy networking and transport technologies.” (MEF PR, March 2020)

Frederick Chui, Chief Commercial Officer, PCCW Global
“PCCW Global’s managed SD-WAN service is available in 80 countries and provides our customers with intelligent path selection on a dynamic high-speed underlay of IP-MPLS, Global Internet Access (GIA) and broadband connections. We are proud to be among the first few service providers in the world to be certified for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services and applaud MEF for their efforts in setting up the first industry-wide SD-WAN standard (MEF 70). Our enterprise and wholesale customers embarking on their digital transformation journey can therefore expect better interoperability and improved application performance across disparate service providers’ domains.” (MEF PR, March 2020)

Satya Parimi, Group Vice President, Data Products, Spectrum Enterprise
“We are proud that Spectrum Enterprise is one of the first MEF-certified SD-WAN service providers because it demonstrates our commitment to industry standards and innovation. As wide area networks evolve, enterprises can confidently partner with Spectrum Enterprise to guide them on their WAN journey and match the right SD-WAN design and access service to the client’s specific network needs and at the client’s preferred pace.” (MEF PR, March 2020)

Tomi Airola, Head of Business Networking, Telia Company
“Telia is proud to be one of the first service providers to have successfully achieved the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification milestone. We view our MEF 3.0 certification as a key step in addressing the requirements of our enterprise customers. Certification is especially important for helping customers simplify the process of selecting a service provider that is committed to standardized global services. SD-WAN has become an essential part of Telia’s managed services portfolio to accelerate our customers’ digital transformation journey.” (MEF PR, March 2020)

Roman Pacewicz, Chief Product Officer, AT&T Business
“We’re seeing a significant change in how customers are using SD-WAN now versus two years ago, and that evolution is what makes service standards from MEF so critical. Today, and moving forward, SD-WAN is about delivering application performance. As the underlying networks — Optical Transport, Carrier Ethernet, and IP — are under greater pressure to be more ubiquitous, easy to provision, on-demand and elastic, that is where the MEF 3.0 construct comes into play. MEF’s role is creating a standards-based, intelligent network across multiple carriers that will eliminate friction as we work with each other to deliver application performance at the level of efficiency our customers are seeking.” (MEF PR, August 2019)

Mirko Voltolini, Global Head of Network of Demand, Colt Technology Services
“The MEF 70 standard sets the foundation for the adoption of common SD-WAN service attributes between service providers. The definition of a common standard for SD-WAN services will allow the industry to coordinate and align on the technology development. It will enable us to build end to end services across disparate service providers’ domains and serve our global customer needs.” (MEF PR, May 2019)

Laurent Perrin, Head of Application Driven Networks, Connectivity, Orange Business Services
“Orange Business Services is very pleased to support the first MEF SD-WAN standard. Our customers are expecting agile and application driven network services and we believe that this new standard will facilitate the adoption and deployment of SD-WAN and meet their expectations. We look forward to working with MEF on ongoing initiatives to develop the interoperability of SD-WAN solutions and to define standardized APIs that will allow to integrate SD-WAN in a simplified and fully secured end-to-end orchestration model, from the end user to the applications.” (MEF PR, October 2018)

Shawn Hakl, Senior Vice President Business Products, Verizon
“Verizon is pleased to support MEF’s industry-leading SD-WAN standardization work. SD-WAN is the way to interface policy with an intelligent software defined network, and standardization makes it easier for integration to work across multiple types of underlying transport services. What that means for our end customers is it lets them get a better overall experience relative to their applications, with support for a broader range of use cases, guaranteed service resiliency, and improved service capabilities in an always on, always connected world.” (MEF PR, August 2019)

Michael Strople, President, Allstream
“Customers are embracing SD-WAN to improve network performance, obtain affordable and reliable connectivity to cloud applications, and gain greater visibility and control over network services. MEF’s SD-WAN service standardization will benefit all industry stakeholders by eliminating confusion regarding SD-WAN service components, core capabilities, and concepts. Standardization also will enable service and technology providers to focus on providing a core set of common capabilities and then building on that for differentiated offerings, helping ensure maximum flexibility for customers.” (MEF PR, May 2019)

Ralph Santitoro, Head of SDN/NFV/SD-WAN Services, Fujitsu Network Communications
“SD-WAN services are transformative and have raised the expectations for network services.  They enable subscribers to focus on application performance and visibility and apply policies to regulate compliance based on business importance and security. SD-WAN services also facilitate and accelerate an enterprise’s multi-cloud digital transformation. The MEF 70 standard is the commencement of several MEF SD-WAN projects that I anticipate will simplify operations and accelerate the time to sell, deploy and support SD-WAN services.” (MEF PR, May 2019)

Nan Chen, President, MEF
“Combining standardized SD-WAN services with dynamic high-speed underlay connectivity services – including Carrier Ethernet, Optical Transport, and IP – enables service providers to deliver powerful MEF 3.0 hybrid networking solutions with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities.” (MEF PR, August 2019)

Sunil Khandekar, Head of Nuage Networks from Nokia
“Demand for SD-WAN is growing rapidly in all market segments and geographies, and there is strong momentum for it to be delivered as a managed service. The availability of the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN technology vendor certification is an important step in providing enterprises an industry benchmark for vendor selection and Nuage Networks from Nokia is proud to demonstrate its SD-WAN market leadership as a member of the first group to achieve this certification milestone.” (MEF PR, January 2020)

Kumar Mehta, Co-founder and CDO, Versa Networks
“SD-WAN has become a key part of the managed services portfolio of service providers globally in order to accelerate their enterprise customers’ digital transformation journey. With more than 60 percent of enterprises projected to deploy SD-WAN over the next two to four years, service providers needed to come together and establish standards, to help enterprises understand what they are buying and evaluate different solutions to accelerate services across automated networks. We congratulate MEF in taking a leadership role and are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to the standards by achieving MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification.” (MEF PR, January 2020)

Mike Wilkinson, CPO, Infovista
“Infovista is proud to have successfully completed the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification. We view our MEF 3.0 certification as a key milestone in addressing the requirements of both service providers and enterprises. We believe that it will help SD-WAN users in selecting a vendor that is committed to a market model that provides service consistency and interoperability.” (MEF PR, January 2020)

Marc Cohn, Head of Virtualization, Spirent
“Spirent joins MEF in congratulating Comcast Business, PCCW Global, Spectrum Enterprise, and Telia Company in attaining the first MEF SD-WAN service certifications. By participating in the pilot, the four leading SD-WAN MSPs validated and enhanced the industry’s first SD-WAN Certification Program, building upon the three initial pilot SD-WAN product certifications announced in January. We are proud to contribute as the neutral SD-WAN testing/validation/assurance authority.” (MEF PR, March 2020)

Nick Lippis, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, ONUG
“ONUG is eager to help define MEF 3.0 SD-WAN managed service standards to ensure that they address the critical requirements of the Global 2000 on their digital transformation journey. The ONUG board welcomes communications service providers and managed service providers to join the ONUG Community and participate in the development of SD-WAN reference solutions, based on MEF standards, that will be featured in proof-of-concept demonstrations at future ONUG and MEF events. This collaboration between our organizations will be instrumental in helping enterprise technologists accelerate their adoption of SD-WAN products and services.”  (ONUG PR, October 2019)

Rosemary Cochran, Principal and Co-Founder, Vertical Systems Group
“These first MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certifications achieved by Comcast Business, PCCW Global, Spectrum Enterprise, and Telia Company are very important. This signifies that MEF 3.0 certification is a new competitive differentiator for SD-WAN service providers, as well as the benchmark for assuring compliance with globally recognized SD-WAN specifications. Our research shows a direct relationship between a commitment to MEF certification and the business success of market leading companies. We anticipate similar results for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification.”

Mike Sapien, Chief Analyst, Ovum Enterprise Services
“The MEF SD-WAN standard efforts come at a good time as customer adoption starts to increase and service providers struggle to keep up with market demand. Hybrid networking, including SD-WAN services, can only grow in adoption and deployment, and having the same definitions and standard for comparison should make it easier for the providers and customers to understand the various service attributes and confirm feature alignment. Customers are becoming more aware of the more common features beyond routing, and having this standard as a reference will help in current and future deployments.” (MEF PR, August 2019)

Jennifer Clark, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading
“The momentum of SD-WAN adoption, along with the large and ever-growing community of players in the SD-WAN ecosystem – vendors, service providers and enterprises – has created an information vacuum in terms of how we deploy SD-WAN over multiple underlay connectivity services and across multiple service provider networks. The MEF SD-WAN standard is the first step to addressing this vacuum with a common language by which we can define SD-WAN services and service attributes. This and the MEF follow-on SD-WAN standards are the building blocks leading to a MEF SD-WAN certification process, which enterprise SD-WAN customers will need as they evaluate and deploy SD-WAN services.” (MEF PR, August 2019)

Greg Bryan, Senior Manager, Enterprise Research, TeleGeography
"Our WAN Manager Survey indicates that in 2018 fewer than 1/5th of enterprises had already installed SD-WAN and 1/3 were still researching their SD-WAN options. With dozens of potential suppliers to choose from – from technology start-ups to large SD-WAN managed service providers – WAN managers will benefit from the standards MEF has worked to create in this space." (MEF PR, May 2019)

Lee Doyle, Principal Analyst, Doyle Research
“As adoption of SD-WANs accelerates, enterprises will increasingly choose managed services as a delivery model. This collaboration between ONUG and MEF brings together key stakeholders to lead the market in developing SD-WAN standards, which will be critical to enabling the widespread adoption of SD-WAN services.” (ONUG PR, October 2019)

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MEF3.0 SD-WAN Services & Certifications (Q & A)

1. How would you characterize today’s SD-WAN market?
The SD-WAN market is one of the hottest in the communications industry, with tens of billions of dollars in revenue at stake throughout the next 5 years.

  • The global managed SD-WAN services market is expected to reach nearly $6.4 billion by 2023 (CAGR of 42% during 2018-2023), according to Frost & Sullivan.
  • The US managed SD-WAN services market alone is projected to be $4.5 billion by 2023 (CAGR of 74% during 2018-2023), according to Vertical Systems Group.
  • IDC estimates that the global SD-WAN infrastructure market (excluding managed services) will reach $5.3 billion by 2023 due to strong enterprise demand and the embrace of SD-WAN by leading service providers seeking to provide enterprises with dynamic management of hybrid WAN connections with guaranteed QoS on a per-application basis.

Today’s SD-WAN market shares similarities to the early days of today’s estimated $US 85+billion Carrier Ethernet market before standardization and services, technology, and professional certification took hold. There is lot of excitement about performance/price advantages, greater flexibility, etc., but there is also a huge need for education and alignment on terminology to help increase market efficiencies.

2. What is MEF’s role in the SD-WAN market and how does this relate to the broader connectivity services market?
MEF is the world’s leading communications industry organization shaping the direction and growth of the SD-WAN services market through standardization and certification of services, technologies, and professionals.

In July 2019, MEF published the industry’s first global standard defining an SD-WAN service and its service attributes to help accelerate SD-WAN market growth and enable creation of powerful new hybrid networking solutions optimized for digital transformation.

SD-WAN service standardization has been conducted within the context of the MEF 3.0 Global Services Framework. It is part of a transformational initiative to define, deliver, and certify a family of dynamic Carrier Ethernet (CE), Optical Transport, IP, SD-WAN, and security services orchestrated across automated networks using LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs.

Combining standardized SD-WAN services with dynamic high-speed underlay connectivity services will enable service providers to offer MEF 3.0 hybrid networking solutions with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities.

SD-WAN is the way to interface policy with an intelligent software defined network. Standardization makes it easier for integration to work across multiple types of underlying transport services. In the end, the combination of standardized and orchestrated overlay and underlay services will provide a better customer experience with improved service capabilities and guaranteed resiliency.

3. What is in the SD-WAN standard and why is it relevant?
MEF’s SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) standard describes requirements for an application-aware, over-the-top WAN connectivity service that uses policies to determine how application flows are directed over multiple underlay networks irrespective of the underlay technologies or service providers who deliver them.

MEF 70, among other things, defines:

  • Service attributes that describe the externally visible behavior of an SD-WAN service as experienced by the subscriber.
  • Traffic handling rules.
  • Key technical concepts and definitions like an SD-WAN UNI, the SD-WAN Edge, SD-WAN Tunnel Virtual Connections, SD-WAN Virtual Connection End Points, and Underlay Connectivity Services.

SD-WAN standardization offers numerous benefits that will help accelerate SD-WAN market growth while improving overall customer experience with hybrid networking solutions. Key benefits include:

  • Enabling a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services.
  • Making it easier to interface policy with intelligent underlay connectivity services to provide a better end-to-end application experience with guaranteed service resiliency.
  • Facilitating inclusion of SD-WAN services in standardized LSO architectures, thereby advancing efforts to orchestrate MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services across automated networks.
  • Paving the way for creation and implementation of certified MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services, which will give users confidence that a service meets a fundamental set of requirements.

4. What is next for SD-WAN standardization?
The next phase of SD-WAN standardization currently underway – MEF W70.1 ("W" indicates work in progress) – will be of high interest to many enterprises. This work includes defining:

  • Additional service attributes for application business importance and prioritization.
  • Underlay connectivity service parameters required to deploy an SD-WAN service.

MEF also is progressing related standards work focused on:

  • Application security for SD-WAN services.
  • Information and data modeling standards that will accelerate LSO API development for SD-WAN services.
  • Intent-based networking for SD-WAN that will simplify the subscriber-to-service provider interface.

5. Can you explain MEF’s work on application security for SD-WAN?
MEF’s Application Security for SD-WAN project (MEF W88) is focused on defining policy criteria and actions to protect applications (application flows) over an SD-WAN service. Work includes defining threats, security functions, and security policy terminology and attributes, and then describing what actions a security policy should take in response to certain threats.

Threats being addressed can come from within the SD-WAN subscriber’s network or externally from the Internet when connecting to public clouds and other Internet hosts. One key area the project is currently addressing is defining Zones whereby the enterprise subscriber defines a grouping of subnets, using business function naming, where unique security policies are applied. Examples of Zones include a Point-of-Sales (POS) Terminal Zone where POS terminals are segregated from the rest of the network to protect payment card transactions connecting to a data center from being scanned and information stolen. Another Zone could be a Guest Wi-Fi Zone where visitors are allowed access to the Internet but are segregated from the corporate network. For each Zone, security policies would be applied for various defense postures.

6. Can you elaborate on MEF’s LSO work related to orchestration of SD-WAN services?   
Within a broader MEF Services Model (MSM) project related to orchestration of MEF 3.0 services, MEF is modeling the SD-WAN specifications to be used for LSO APIs across many reference points within the LSO framework. The initial focus of the SD-WAN work centers on LSO Legato, which supports interactions between business applications and service orchestration functionality. The SD-WAN work also has applicability for the LSO Cantata and LSO Allegro interfaces associated with product- and service-related management interactions between a customer and a service provider.

7. Can you explain MEF’s approach to intent-based networking (IBN) for SD-WAN?
MEF’s IBN work aims to enable an SD-WAN service subscriber to set intent-related performance and security objectives and have that be translated into granular technical policies at the network level. Toward this goal, MEF is building Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) – using restricted natural languages – that will simplify APIs that sit between end-users and service providers.

8. How long do you think it will take for industry players to align on SD-WAN standards?
Different service and technology providers will have their own pace, but companies generally will want to align to MEF 70 and follow-on standards because of the confidence that this helps instill in customers.

Dozens of service provider and technology companies already have voiced support for MEF work, contributed to standards development, participated in SD-WAN-related Proof of Concept demonstrations, and/or otherwise aligned with the SD-WAN standard. This includes players like AT&T, Comcast Business, CenturyLink, Colt, Orange Business Services, PCCW Global, Spectrum Enterprise, Telia Company, Verizon, Fujitsu Network Communications, Nuage Networks, Versa Networks, Infovista, Cisco, Spirent, Amdocs, Silver Peak, and other MEF member companies.  

Having the support of ONUG is a boost for our SD-WAN work as well because it brings enterprise end-user requirements and perspectives into the game.  

MEF’s SD-WAN standardization work already is starting to draw the attention of some big purchasers of WAN services. As an example, technical leaders at one of the largest buyers of connectivity in the world informed MEF that they are looking at aligning on MEF SD-WAN terminology, similar to what they have done with MEF-defined Carrier Ethernet.  

9. How would you characterize the importance of MEF SD-WAN services, technology, and professional certification?
Recent research from Heavy Reading indicates that 76% of 125 surveyed service provider professionals worldwide believe that SD-WAN services certification is “critical” or “important” for accelerating SD-WAN market growth. Seventy-three percent of this same group believe SD-WAN technology and professional certifications are also critical or important for market growth.

10. What is the status of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification and how many companies have been certified?
In November 2019, MEF publicly introduced the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Program, with Spirent as the SD-WAN Authorized Certification and Test Partner (ACTP). Certification involves rigorous tests of the service attributes and requirements defined in MEF 70 and described in detail in the upcoming MEF SD-WAN Certification Test Requirements (MEF W90) standard.

Seven companies participated in the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification pilot. In January 2020, MEF announced the first group of certified technology vendors, including Nuage Networks, Versa Networks, and Infovista. In March 2020, MEF announced that Comcast Business, PCCW Global, Spectrum Enterprise, and Telia Company are the first service providers certified for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services.

Service and technology companies interested in participating in the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Program should contact Daniel Bar-Lev, MEF, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

11. What are the next steps for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification?
The MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Program will be transitioning from a pilot to general availability during the next few months. We expect MEF W90 to move into the final phase of MEF membership and Board approval in 2H March 2020, with the goal of the published standard being available in mid-2020.

MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification will evolve as additional SD-WAN standards roll out. The evolution of MEF 70 to MEF 70.1 will be accompanied shortly thereafter by an evolution of MEF 90 to MEF 90.1. We currently expect the draft MEF 70.1 standard will be available in 4Q 2020.  

12. Are there other companies in the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification pipeline?
We anticipate that several more companies will receive MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification within the next few months, and we are preparing for increased activity in 2H 2020.

13. What is the status of MEF SD-WAN professional certification?  
In November 2019, MEF announced the SD-WAN Certified Professional (MEF-SDCP) program. MEF’s SD-WAN professional certification is the industry's only exam verifying knowledge, skills, and abilities in the domains of SD-WAN based on the MEF 70 as well as other fundamentals of SD-WAN solutions. This exam is designed for technically-oriented SD-WAN professionals ranging from pre-sales to network/service engineering and operational personnel in the service provider, technology vendor, and enterprise communities.

There are now more than 200 MEF-SDCPs employed by 95+ companies worldwide. We expect the number of MEF-SDCPs to ramp significantly in coming quarters.

Click here to learn more about and register for the MEF-SDCP exam.

14. Does MEF 70 deal with interoperability among SD-WAN technology vendors?
Neither MEF 70 nor MEF W70.1 cover SD-WAN protocols for vendor equipment interoperability standards.

However, in 1Q 2020, MEF launched an ad hoc initiative to investigate the potential for a standardized approach to enable SD-WAN interoperability (data plane & control plane) between different SD-WAN vendors. This initiative will explore use cases such as network edge and 5G and could evolve into a formal project.

The problem today is that it currently is not possible to develop/deploy a common SD-WAN-enabled network edge by managed service providers and cloud providers without losing key SD-WAN capabilities such as traffic steering and telemetry. SD-WAN edge devices provided by one vendor cannot communicate with similar devices provided by a different SD-WAN vendor without losing key SD-WAN capabilities.

15. Can you elaborate on your SD-WAN partnership with ONUG and why it is important?
In October 2019, MEF and ONUG announced we are collaborating to ensure that enterprises are provided with communications services optimized for digital transformation in the multi-cloud era. MEF will leverage ONUG’s hybrid multi-cloud enterprise end user requirements to accelerate development of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN managed services standards and related certification programs for services, technologies, and professionals. For the first time, enterprise users, technology vendors, and service providers will formally engage together to drive the development of SD-WAN service delivery models and standards.

ONUG and MEF will collaborate on the joint definition of common service models and APIs for automating SD-WAN services, with initial areas of focus including:

ONUG SD-WAN 1.0 service models and API requirements specifications

  • ONUG SD-WAN 2.0 multi-cloud integration use cases
  • Application security for SD-WANs
  • Intent-based networking and service automation for SD-WANs

16. How can service, technology, or enterprise professionals participate in or learn more about MEF’s SD-WAN work?
The following links offer useful information available to all industry professionals:

MEF’s Enterprise Advisory Council (EAC) offers an excellent opportunity for enterprises to learn more about and influence MEF work related to SD-WAN, application security, service automation, and other MEF 3.0 initiatives. The EAC is a collaborative council of leading enterprises designed to strengthen the channels of communications among end-users, service providers, and vendors involved in digital transformation initiatives. We have a limited number of seats remaining open on the council for large to multi-national enterprises, and participation is free. Enterprises can learn more about this program by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More detailed information is available to MEF members on the MEF Applications Committee Home page and the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Pilot Information page on the MEF wiki.
Contributions to the SD-WAN work are welcomed. Send an inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details on how you can participate.

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Addressing Telecom Industry Needs with SD-WAN Certification for Professionals and achieving Network Expert & Subject Matter Expert designations

To provide a perspective on the significance of SD-WAN and the skills gap that it addresses, I reference a few industry studies.  First, the well known research firm Gartner, reports that “by 2020, 75 percent of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to [infrastructure and operations] skills gaps, ....”  There is an existing need to up-skill and hire top talent trained and certified in SD-WAN. 

A survey conducted in partnership between Masergy and IDG Research analyzed responses from decision makers across a variety of industries.  Key findings from the survey include:

  • The skills gap remains a top barrier to SD-WAN adoption, whereas concerns regarding interoperability with existing WANs are less prevalent than they were two years ago.
  • Optimizing the network to support cutting-edge technologies is the top WAN objective among survey participants.
  • Security is the top WAN challenge and the leading factor guiding companies in the SD-WAN selection process.
  • Network management simplification continues to be the top expected benefit of SD-WAN adoption, and the top three expected business benefits of SD-WAN are increased efficiency, improved security, and cost savings.
  • 90% of respondents’ in the survey are involved in active research, piloting and actively using or upgrading SD-WAN.

In a survey conducted by Global Knowledge of over 12,200 survey responses of IT professionals in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, the skills gap continues to rise and on average these professionals earned $5,000 more this year compared to 2018.

A real-world example:  Orange rises to the skills challenge to make the digital world a source of professional opportunities

So, as you are likely aware, MEF is a global leader in the development of industry standards.  MEF introduced a transformational global services framework for defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated services across a global ecosystem of automated networks worldwide.  The industry transition to MEF-defined connectivity and virtualized services – and ultimately to application-aware, self-organizing networks - has game-changing implications for customer agility, productivity, competitiveness and revenue generation.

As this transition occurs, the professionals engaged in the sales, support, engineering, infrastructure etc. requiring a refresh of the existing knowledge, adding new skills to meet the needs of the industry.  Leveraging significant industry relationships with top service providers, technology manufactures, industry forums, and top executives worldwide MEF defined the MEF Professional Certification Framework which is flexible, collaborative, outlines new and comprehensive skill sets required to manage complex network and telecom solutions, and lead and support the network transformation.

Professionals that want to be a part of this industry transformation need only focus on this three-step approach: 

Step 1, In response to industry interest in filling the existing skills gap specific to SD-WAN, MEF provides the MEF-SDCP SD-WAN Certification:

  • Details for the MEF-SDCP SD-WAN certification are available here.
  • Self-study resources are located here.
  • Course training is provided by MEF Accredited Training Providers (MEF-ATP).  They provide on-site, virtual and remote courses for MEF-SDCP: Lumious, SD-WAN Academy, Perpetual Solutions.  The general list of MEF-ATPs is here.
  • Exams locations are coordinated by MEF ATPs.  Those who can not travel to a facility are given the option to take exams remotely.  Selection options are available in the exam registration.

Step 2, for a MEF Certified Professional having achieved and maintained at least two active certifications for any combination of MEF-SDCP, MEF-CECP and MEF-SNCP, this professional is automatically designated a MEF Network Expert.  Those achieving this level are awarded a certificate having a unique ID number and the individuals profile and MEF Network Expert registry highlight this new designation.

Step 3, a significant step above the MEF Network Expert is the MEF Subject Matter Expert (MEF-SME) program.  MEF Network Experts having achieved a combined  minimum exam score of 90% and have the desire and energy to participate in the MEF-SME program are invited to specific opportunities including, but not limited to: exam certification developments, blueprints, course accreditations, testimonials, presentation opportunities etc., and by scored participation in exam developments can earn designations of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. 

As the MEF Certified Professional and Subject Matter Expert programs evolve, additional levels of accomplishment are added and will provide new and unique benefits.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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The path to MEF Network Expert

After getting my 1st MEF certification in 2011 and getting re-certified in 2015, my pursuit for updating my knowledge still continued. At the same time I saw MEF progressing itself in multiple directions supporting the requirements of the digital economy in this hyper-connected world.  MEF introduced a new look, introduced MEF 3.0 and the transformation continues.

In the same year MEF introduced MEF-NF (MEF Network Foundations) certification, making it the foundation credential in a stack of professional-level certifications called the MEF Network Certification Framework.  MEF-NF validates at a concept level, the key terms, processes, and elements of today’s programmable networks. With this, MEF-NF introduced new areas like SDN, NFV, LSO/Orchestration and various combinations and use cases in these practice areas, collectively called “The Software-Driven Network Vision”, in addition to Carrier Ethernet/Connectivity Services.  I again volunteered for the beta test and with self-study was able to pass the exam in the 1st attempt becoming the 1st Sri Lankan to get the certification.

Having completed the essential level (MEF-NF) and 1 certification in the professional level in the MEF Network Certification Framework, I was waiting for other certifications to come up. Early this year MEF introduced their next in its line-up of professional level certifications, MEF-SDN/NFV, making it the first ISO-level exam that validates individual knowledge, skills, and abilities in the domains of SDN and NFV, expertly designed to certify real-world, practitioner-level technical skills of SDN and NFV for network/telecom operators and engineers.  SDN, NFV and Cloud have been my personal research areas since 2015 and I was actually looking for a way to validate my knowledge especially in the area of SDN and NFV.  I planned to take OCSA (ONF-Certified SDN Associate Exam), however MEF introduced the MEF-SDN/NFV certification around the same time and MEF certification  was the better option. I was able to study for the exam via self-study and passed the exam in the 1st attempt becoming Sri Lanka’s 1st MEF-SDN/NFV certified professional and the MEF's 2nd MEF-SDN/NFV certified professional worldwide.

In mid-2018, MEF introduced MEF Network Expert, making it the Standard of Excellence and Recognition in Software-Driven Networking. MEF Network Expert is not an exam, but a recognition and the requirement is to pass all three of the MEF Professional Certification exams (MEF Network Foundations (MEF-NF), MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (MEF-CECP), and the brand-new MEF SDN/NFV Certified Professional (MEF-SDN/NFV).  Upon its introduction and acknowledgment of those who reached this achievement, I came to understand that I am the first person to pass all 3 exams, maintaining "Active" status of those certifications making me the 1st official MEF Network Expert!

Next steps ->  stay in-tune with MEF's strategic direction and programs, specifically MEF 3.0 Implementations projects, participate as a subject matter expert where possible, collaborate with industry professionals on MEFProCERT.com and elsewhere, speak at telecommunications events.  

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Getting my first MEF certification

With my 1st writing to MEF ProCERT blog I tried share my very first experiences with MEF. That was more about how I used MEF technical specifications in the early stages of my career to help me out with planning, designing and architecting Metro Ethernet and Carrier Ethernet networks and also preparing RFPs for the same.

This blog is about my first experience with MEF Professional Certifications.

After 2 successful implementations of a Metro Ethernet Network and a Carrier Ethernet Network, I became more enthusiastic about the technology and the work of MEF. I started learning more and also contributing to the community. I also became an author and a senior contributor to the then Ethernet Academy.  

In 2011 MEF introduced its 1st professional certification MEF-CECP (MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional) and invited technical experts in the subject area to take the beta test. I volunteered and took the exam and with self-study, passed it from the 1st attempt becoming one of the 58 people in the world to become a MEF-CECP and also the 1st Sri Lankan to do so. I didn’t stop there. I encouraged my colleagues to do the exam and as a result 2 of them got the certification. Since then I volunteered for many MEF-CECP beta exams. In 2015, I got myself re-certified with MEF-CECP.

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A Network Experts contribution on MEF Foundational elements

Having associated with MEF (then Metro Ethernet Forum) from as far back as 2003, I thought of sharing a bit about my experience with MEF for the benefit of everyone.

Few months after joining my current company (a Service Provider in Sri Lanka) as a young Engineer back in 2003, I was asked to plan and design a network using a technology called “Metro Ethernet”. Though I had heard about Ethernet, Metro Ethernet was kind of new to me. I searched on the web and within the 1st few search results there came the “Metro Ethernet Forum”.

While referring to other learning material, I extensively used the material available in MEF to learn about the foundation principles of Metro Ethernet. I found the MEF Technical Specifications extremely user friendly, compared to the documents published by other SDOs (Standards Developing Organizations). That made me to read more MEF documents. I also used the book Metro Ethernet by Sam Halabi. Having gained enough knowledge, in 2004, I started architecting, planning and designing Sri Lanka’s 1st Metro Ethernet Network from scratch and prepared the RFP (Request For Proposal) documents for product selection. The document approach and evolution was based on various IETF (RFCs and drafts), ITU-T, IEEE and MEF specifications. Two of the MEF specifications included in the RFP were MEF 8: Implementation Agreement for the Emulation of PDH Circuits over Metro Ethernet Network and MEF 14: Abstract Test Suite for Traffic Management Phase 1.

As we wanted to have CESoPSN (Circuit Emulation Services over Packet Switched Networks), MEF 8 was included.

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The value of SDN/NFV Professional Certification

We've seen a great deal of interest in SDN/NFV professional certification upon its release.  The value of this certification is obvious to some however not so obvious to others.  To potentially stimulate some discussion, take a look at the following table (click here).  In addition to the table is an article which substantiates the value (click here).  I look forward to your comments!

We are looking for knowledgeable contributors/collaborators/editors to post to our new ProCERT blog! Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

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Up-Skilling & Re-skilling the Workforce

July 17, 2018 the United States Whitehouse (https://www.whitehouse.gov) published a report by the Council of Economic Advisers on "Addressing America’s Re-skilling Challenge".  Its an interesting read on whats happening in America, and there is a larger affect in such industries as telecommunications which have a global impact.

The executive summary and full document are published here, but to cut to the chase, in America, the older workforce is retiring, and the younger workforce needs to up-skill to remain competitive in potentially shrinking number of companies.  This is especially in telecommunications as mergers and acquisitions take place and workers are displaced. Those displaced are often less skilled than those who retain their jobs, however this varies by situation.  The report also indicates that those who get training/up-skill do make more money than their counterparts, and this is not the only report study which indicates this fact.  Additionally, companies often know what skills they need, however they aren't always on-track to make sure their employees skills meet the requirements of the company.  This problem can be resolved and that's what we're setting out to do.  MEF Professional Certification consists of 3 exams which address specific domains of knowledge that directly apply to today's telecommunications/IT workforce and a proven track record of proof points and successes illustrating the value of MEF Professional Certifications.

Click here if you are interested in reading the full article.

We are looking for knowledgeable collaborators /editors to post to our new blog.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

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