77 Replies Latest reply on Jan 17, 2013 10:32 AM by DanielleH

    SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

      Hi folks,

      Great news! We've just reached a milestone in developing our certification program by opening up the exam to a small beta audience.  For those of you who did not receive notification to participate in the beta, please understand that we have had to restrict access to the beta exam to a very small subset of customers. 

      Everyone will be allowed to take the exam when it goes live this summer.

      For those of you participating in the beta, please use this forum to exchange comments/questions about the test, but please remember not to exchange actual test questions / answers. 

      Also, feel free to private message me for any specific concerns.

      Happy testing!

      Nick

        • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

          is the training material available yet??

            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

              rtobin,

              Here are a few study resources:

              * Orion NPM Admin Guide
              * Orion NPM Online Demo
              * Geek Central

              We also recommend researching the five exam topics outlined above using additional online resources such as Wikipedia or Cisco.com. The beta exam has limited training materials available while the final exam will have additional materials available for candidates.

                • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                  rsprim

                  Nick,

                  I saw you mentioned that there will be 3 times more questions on the demo test than on the final test after the beta program.  How many questions will be on the demo?

                  Robert

                  • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                    rsprim

                    Here are a few study resources:

                    * Orion NPM Admin Guide
                    * Orion NPM Online Demo
                    * Geek Central

                    We also recommend researching the five exam topics outlined above using additional online resources such as Wikipedia or Cisco.com. The beta exam has limited training materials available while the final exam will have additional materials available for candidates.

                    For those of you who have taken the test, did you review these resources before the test or did you go in fairly cold? What resource(s) did you find most useful in your preparation for the beta besides the admin guide and what do you wish you would have studied more?

                    Robert

                      • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                        kbenton

                        I just got back from taking the test... I need a nap!  I'm not ADD, but halfway through my attention was wandering, and I was thinking, WILL IT EVER END!!!  :-p  ~80 questions is definitely about the right length.  It took me about 2.5 hours, with leaving some comments.

                        I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I didn't do any prep at all... I didn't even open the admin guide.  In comparison to the crazy amount of studying I did for the CCNP tests, I walked into the test center thinking, What did I do?  Am I going to look like an idiot?

                        But, I think I did pretty well - kudos to Solarwinds, it seems like if you have used NPM and been around and understand network management, you will just know this stuff - you don't need to study anything.  I would say at least 80% of this test is like that.  Many of the questions (on NPM) are written so that if you have used the product, you will know the answer.  If you have just read about it in the admin guide, you won't.  It's really difficult to come up with questions like that, so good job there. 

                        For everyone who has taken cisco tests and is familiar with the difference between cisco's answer and reality, the obscure trivia, the cisco dogma, etc that's on their tests, there's a distinct lack of that sort of thing on this test.

                        There were some questions I felt like the wording was a bit off or vague, or the "what troubleshooting step would you take first" answers didn't include what I would do first.  Par for the course, but they were a small percentage, and I left comments.  There were a few questions that I felt like were just too obvious, and even though everyone (hopefully) is going to get them right, they probably shouldn't be included or should be changed.  I think we all have a vested interest in making sure if you pass this test, it should be because you really know something about network management and be thoroughly familiar with NPM.

                        As far as the modules go, there are questions in all the different areas, but none of them (it seemed to me) required you to have used solarwinds software.  More like, what is netflow, what information can you get from it, when would you use it.  When would you use looking at the device config as a troubleshooting step, but not how would you do this in NCM.  That being said, if you have never considered using netflow, never had to deal with any sort of voip traffic, or don't know what WMI is I could see those questions being a bit challenging.  But I think that gets back to having a well rounded knowledge of network management, so its fair to ask.

                        - Kathy

                  • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                    crwchief6

                    Nick, Will the beta exam be multiple choice or essay style questions?

                    • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                      Will the beta exam cover all Solarwinds tools or just NPM.

                        • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                          The exam will have the following breakdown:

                          TopicTest Percentage
                          Network Management Fundamentals7%
                          Network Management Planning15%
                          Network Management Operations13%
                          Network Fault and Performance Troubleshooting31%
                          Orion NPM Administration34%
                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                              GarethHassall

                              Hi Nick,
                              I have registered for my exam. Is there more detailed coverage of study topics beyond your 5 points listed above?
                              Thanks,

                              Gareth (SCP-to be!)

                              • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                                Many of you have requested additional details regarding the exam topics, so we've pulled together a more detailed outline of the exam topics.  Please use this as a guide for what the test will cover.  Hope that helps!

                                Network Management Fundamentals

                                • Use and  explain network management protocols (e.g. SNMP, SNMP Traps, Syslog, ICMP, NetFlow, ,etc.)
                                • Leverage MIBs, OIDs, and WMI performance counters to diagnose and troubleshoot network problems.

                                Network Management Planning

                                • Translate business requirements into monitoring needs, thresholds, and Orion NPM configurations.
                                • Design a reporting system that meets the needs of the various stakeholders.
                                • Determine monitoring scope and impact on the network.
                                • Determine the impact of network topology on monitoring.

                                Network Management Operations

                                • Enable devices for network management.
                                • Determine future capacity requirements.
                                • Define, monitor, and report on SLAs.

                                Network Fault and Performance Troubleshooting.

                                • Detect and verify network faults.
                                • Determine the scope of the network fault.
                                • Collect and analyze network monitoring data to determine the cause of a network fault.
                                • Detect and verify performance issues.
                                • Determine the scope of the performance issue.
                                • Collect and analyze network monitoring data to determine the cause of the performance issue.

                                Orion NPM Administration

                                • Manage accounts in Orion NPM.
                                • Discover and manage network elements (e.g. nodes, interfaces, volumes) using Orion NPM.
                                • Configure and use the Orion NPM Universal Device Poller (UnDP).
                                • Create and run standard and customized Orion NPM reports.
                                • Configure an Orion NPM alert and verify the logic.
                                • Configure and manage Syslog and SNMP Traps.
                                • Customize Orion web console.
                                • Customize Orion NPM custom properties, views, and menu bars.
                                • Create and maintain Orion NPM maps.
                                • Scale Orion NPM and optimize its performance.
                                • Identify the ways in which Orion NPM can integrate with other management products.
                                • Explain the technical capabilities and limitations of each Orion module.
                                • Leverage the expertise and custom resources on Thwack.
                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                              GarethHassall
                              Hi Nick,
                              "Exam results will be sent to you approximately 12 weeks after taking the test."
                              What? Are you marking them all by hand?  ;>)

                              I've done a number of prometric exams before, and the norm is that at the end of the session, your results appear immediately. Will we have this, even if only in the form of a "190 correct out of 200" format? Also, what is the target? Most MS exams require a roughly 80% pass mark.
                              Thanks,

                              Gareth (SCP-to-be!)
                                • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                                  Hi folks,

                                  I've received a number of questions about the beta, so I thought I'd answer them in one post:

                                  1.       Test Time- While the testing time period indicates over 5 hours, I suspect that it won't take that long to complete the exam for most folks.  We simply did not want to put too much time pressure on the beta exam so we provided ample time for folks to take the test.

                                  2.       Exam Results- The final cut score to determine if you have passed or failed the exam has not yet been determined for the beta exam.  This is really the primary reason we're asking folks to take a beta exam - so we can determine what the correct passing/failing score should be.  This is why we've indicated we potentially need 12 weeks to determine if beta candidates have passed the test.  After determining that score, we'll send out notification if you have passed or failed the exam, which maybe sooner than 12 weeks, but it very well could take that long. When the final test is live after launch, results will most likely be available immediately after completing the exam, but this is not possible for the beta.

                                  3.      Training Materials - While I realize that there are few training materials for the beta, we are in the process of pulling together additional materials for the full SCP launch later this summer.  My suggestion is to familiarize yourself as much as you can with the topics listed above as much as possible. 

                                  4.       Exam Availability - Due to the very tight testing window of 3 weeks, we're finding that a few testing centers are already booked for the beta.  This is partially due to other SCP candidates quickly signing up, but primarily because those specific testing centers are already booked up with testing candidates taking other unrelated exams during that time frame.

                                  Unfortunately, my hands are tied when it comes to freeing up additional resources at testing centers, however I can assure you that when our live exam launches, scheduling in those testing centers will be less of a problem as we will no longer be limited to a small 3 week testing window. 

                                  Thanks,

                                  Nick

                                • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                  Craig Norborg

                                  So, has anyone taken the test yet?   Any hints for those of us who are going to be taking it in the coming weeks?

                                    • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                      qle

                                      If I recall correctly, I thought the earliest scheduled date for the exam was March 25. If that's the case, you'll have to wait at least another couple of days to get any kind of feedback.

                                        • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                          Network_Guru

                                          I'm scheduled for Monday morning - May 30th

                                          Yikes - 5Hrs & 15Mins - I will need to bring food and water for this one!

                                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                              ljenkins

                                              I took the exam today.  Was in for just over two hours, but I'm usually a fast test taker.

                                              You get no results after the test, not a number right/wrong and obviously as stated by the officials no pass/fail.

                                              There was nothing too surprising on there.  I reviewed the Orion Installation Guide, at least the first 270 pages of it before going in and I think I got a few more right for the efforts than I would have otherwise.

                                              There was more NetFlow stuff than I expected, and you might want to know the ports used by all your network management protocols (SNMP, Syslog, NetFlow, etc.)  And Cisco commands necessary to get those things running.  That's about all the spoilers I can throw you.

                                              The rest was common sense type troubleshooting stuff and things you'd probably know from using Orion for a while.

                                              Good luck all!

                                              • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                Craig Norborg

                                                I did bring food and water - and had to leave it outside, against Prometrics policy to allow it in the room.   First test I remember that being a factor.   Luckily it took me only a bit over 2 hours, including time to comment on several questions I found to be not worded well.   I would think maybe allowing people to only bring in unopened drinks in a clear bottle or something and inspecting it maybe.   Or giving us a napkin or plate to put our energy bars on...  8-)   But denying it altogether?  Come on Prometric, thats a bit of an overkill...    Man, and I was planning on selling pop and energy bars that came with answers to the CCIE concealed inside the wrapper too!!  Figure it would be a huge seller...  8-)

                                                 

                                                Quite a few "You see this and this, what is the next step" type questions, the majority pretty good.   Overall I thought the technical content wasn't that high of a level, while still being able to weed out people who don't know anything about the subject...

                                                 

                                                Not sure if everyone has the same order to the questions when they took the test, but I found myself getting pretty impatient after the first 45 to 60 minutes and rushing through the last part of the test.  I think it might be good to take that as a factor when weighing whether a question makes the final cut or not.  ie:  We probably didn't pay as much attention to the wording as the test dragged on!!  8-)   So if you feel a question was a good one to have on the test and everyone missed it, but it was near the end of the test, it probably was good but we just didn't take the time to read it!!  8-D

                                                 

                                                Worst testing center I've ever taken a test at.  The business itself was ok, but they definitely shoe-horned the testing stations in.  Plus it was on the ground floor and you could hear people walking above the whole time, rather annoying...

                                                  • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                    ljenkins

                                                    Man, and I was planning on selling pop and energy bars that came with answers to the CCIE concealed inside the wrapper too!!  Figure it would be a huge seller...  8-) 

                                                    You're plan wouldn't have worked.  Cisco uses Pearson Vue for testing.  Incidentally, I prefer them over Prometric...

                                                    • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                      jedski

                                                      Took the exam yesterday and it was a very long one. It took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the exam. Yes there were questions on netflow, sflow,jflow and port numbers. The exam was good and some were really based from user experiences. Troubleshooting tips were also there and some alerts notification.

                                                      I only used the Administrator Guide v9 and wikipedia. The questions were more on network management yes there were no tricky questions. All of them were good questions. THere were also questions on configurations but mainly on cisco devices. Some of the questions asked were somehow relevant to the questions I have raised to Solarwinds Technical Support team.

                                                      For me, some questions needs to be rephrased. Some few questions are hard to understand and some are unclear. You just have to read it thrice, if you have to.

                                                      Thanks,

                                                      Jedski

                                                        • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                          rsprim

                                                          I took the test today and had 27 minutes left when I walked out.  Perhaps I read too much into the questions but I found many of them to not have enough information provided to clearly determine the answer that hope SolarWinds was looking for.  I guess it boils down to troubleshooting preferences too.  I also agree with Freeman that having more questions on Orion rather than general networking should be the goal.  I commented on many of them so it will be interesting to see if I passed or not.  I hope so cause I'm a sucker for schwag too.

                                                          Overall though I thought the test was a great effort by the SolarWinds team and I really appreciate the opportunity to test drive it.

                                                          Rob

                                                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                              GarethHassall

                                                              Just got out from the test - I took 3 hours as I included quite a few comments.
                                                              Overall, the Orion NPM questions were very well targeted, as were most of the general NW management & troubleshooting questions.

                                                              Bit disappointed that for the question "what do you do when a user complains about slow internet", there was no option "eliminate the user & quietly dispose of the body."
                                                              (Recommended reading: http://www.theregister.co.uk/odds/bofh/)

                                                              I had some problems with some of the module-specific questions as we don't use most of the modules at my site (NPM & APM only). there were some deep-dive technical questions on VOIP manager, NCM, Netflow & Wireless monitor which are outside the core NPM function. However, if you know the basics, you can intelligently eliminate the patently false answers to leave yourself with a reasonable subset.

                                                              I would also question the definite lean towards Cisco as a preferred provider. If your aim is to focus on NPM & general NW mgmt, asking questions on Cisco-specific commands will unfairly disadvantage  people using other vendors. (Are there other vendors?)   ;>))

                                                              There were a few questions that were slightly unclear, but in general the questions were well formulated to avoid confusion. There were one or two where the answer was quite subjective (what would YOUR first action be in x to diagnose y).

                                                              Outside of the key areas already listed, my uncensored advice for those still to write:

                                                              • Know your ports & the TCP / UDP assignations.
                                                              • Make sure you have a full understanding of SNMP, WMI, NetFlow & the differences.
                                                              • Bone up on the basics of sFlow (hint: there is nothing in the NPM admin guide)
                                                              • Get a clear idea of the NPM modules & their functions - it won't help you for extremely technical, module-specific info, but might get you a couple extra points.
                                                              • Refresh the basics for VOIP-specific monitoring & troubleshooting.
                                                              • Understand L2 vs L3 differences.

                                                              As a server-engineer-turned-network-techie, I think I did OK.
                                                              If you were to ask me how I did, I would estimate a raw score of about 60%.
                                                              I just hope the nice people marking, and how nice they ARE! (hint hint!) set a reasonable pass mark.

                                                              OK, I've written almost as much here as in the test.
                                                              Good luck, and may the Schwartz be with you. . . . .

                                                              Gareth /v (verbose mode)
                                                              SCP-to-be.

                                                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                              Craig Norborg

                                                              Yes there were questions on netflow, sflow,jflow and port numbers.

                                                               

                                                              I would say questions on them is a bit of an overstatement.  If I remember right there were questions to which an answer was "sflow" or "jflow" rather than "netflow", but I don't remember much in terms of questions on the actual Netflow protocol.  A bit on how it works, but nothing regarding the protocol or port numbers. 

                                                              There were questions like that on other things like Syslog and SNMP though, so learn the basics of those protocols!!

                                                    • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                      Jason Ward

                                                      Aloha...

                                                      Took the test on Friday (10 April), must have been a slug took me 4.5 hours to complete - compared to what others are posting.  Overall it was a good test, but I came out of there totally exhausted - good thing my flight back to the BI was a few hours after my test so I could recouperate.  I would echo some of the other posted responses, hit a variety of areas so that you need know what the product is about/does. 

                                                      I was concerend about some of the posts about the cisco questions but as long as you know networking basics you should not have a problem with any of the questions.  Can not wait until I find out the results - I feel good about it, but you never know.

                                                      Mahalo....

                                                      DaHaole

                                                        • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                          freemen

                                                          Took the test today. Ovetrall the test was good, but I thought it was way too heavy on the general network management and planning questions. I am one who thinks that there are already exams and certifications that one can take for general networking knowledge. If this is going to be a SolarWinds certification, at least 75% of the questions should be directly related to SW functionality and application.

                                                          Just my opinion.

                                                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                                                              I took the test on Saturday April 11, 2009.

                                                              After reading some previous post, I had scheduled for 12:00 noon but had lunch before I went in. Oh by the way a metrocard doesn't work as ID but I had to try ;-).

                                                              It  was a long test but I managed to complete. I think it was a good and straight-forward exam with no trick questions or crazy information found buried in some admin guide.

                                                          • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                            dixonhughes

                                                            Took the test today.  I think they did a good job with the first run of the exam.  I liked the real world troubleshooting senarios tied in with NPM.   The test started with basic questions about the product but then got into how to use the product to solve problems.    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the beta.

                                                            Here are the some study areas based on the questions I pulled:

                                                            Lots of questions on alerts - need to know how to configure and details about actions,  suppressions, and alert senarios.  I thought this was good since that' a powerfull part of the app.

                                                            Several questions on Map maker and report writer - need to be familiar with both and how to customize each.

                                                            General Network skills questions - common ports, basics of routing protocols,  loopbacks and diagnostic steps

                                                            Know what the different modules of NPM do and when to use

                                                            Know details of basic management protocols and how to configure in cisco and microsoft world.  Also know how they tie in with NPM (snmp, wmi, syslog, netflow)

                                                            I didn't have much time to study but I did look over the current manual which was helpful for alerts and mapping.  The online demo is helpfull to get a look at modules you don't have.  The geek speek webcasts on demand are very good resources too.

                                                            Good luck

                                                            • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                                                              Hi guys,

                                                              I took the exam yesterday. I think it was too long. I spent all the avaible time to answer the questions in the test. At the end of the test I was very tired.

                                                              I think the test is not so simple. Questions look like simple but the answers are not so banal. In fact there are some choices similar and not mutually exclusive.

                                                              I hope Solarwinds staff will have attentions towards who partecipate in beta exam and put the threshold to pass the exam very low (for beta candidates only).   ;-)

                                                              P.S. A particular thanks to Solarwinds staff for the opportunity that they give us to test our knoledge about NM.

                                                               

                                                              Bye

                                                                • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                                                                  I took it yesterday and man what a waste it was for me.  I assumed it would be more on the orion/npm/apm/alerting/triggering/mapping.  Was I wrong.  It focused more on the netflow/cisco/switch side of it.  My team doesnt even touch the netflow part of it.  We have a whole different team that does the netflow part.  Im not a full fledged cisco guy what I knew I hope I got correct. The ones I didnt know I felt like a 2 year old and somebody was trying to teach me this stuff. 

                                                                  I appreciate the chance to take it.

                                                                • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam

                                                                  Is it just me or is the suspense painfull??

                                                                  Randy

                                                                  • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                                    DanielleH

                                                                    All - there is a new SCP exam prep guide available here.

                                                                    • Re: SolarWinds Certified Professional Beta Exam
                                                                      Asif Raza Khan

                                                                      Dear I have passed my SCP certification.My SCP#: SCP2186.