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How to get F5 certification

F5 certification

Ever use a debit card, download an app, shop online or text a friend? Application delivery networking (ADN) is the technology behind all those activities. It’s what helps keep thousands of gamers worldwide online at the same time and ensures that your favorite cooking site doesn’t go down on Thanksgiving.

A decade ago, Seattle-based F5 Networks Inc. helped pioneer ADN — then known as “load balancing”— by integrating application and networking technologies to support the overall performance of traffic between servers. Now, as cloud computing builds virtual servers on the Internet and mobile app development continues to explode, the ADN field is growing.

But to design, implement and manage ADN requires expertise in two different worlds — a rare combination, explains Ken Salchow, F5’s program manager for professional certification. To help close this gap, F5 has launched a new certification for IT professionals, and University of Phoenix has developed a noncredit certificate program in ADN that provides foundational knowledge for the first exam toward certification.

Here’s how to become F5® certified:

Sign up.

Registration with the F5 Credential Management System is required to ensure program integrity and security, Salchow says. This site is where you’ll find everything related to F5 certification, including tips and best practices, updates, study materials and information about exams.

Find out what you need to know.

Download and review the first two exam blueprints. Each provides an overview of the information required to take the 101-Application Delivery Fundamentals and 201-TMOS® Administration exams. You must pass both tests to reach the first level of certification.

Brush up on the fundamentals.

If you think you need more foundational knowledge to prepare for the exams, consider the University’s ADN certificate program. It’s the only one of its kind in the industry and was developed with guidance from F5.

Take the exams.

When you initially sign in to the F5 Credential Management System, you’ll receive an “authorization to test” email. When you’re ready to sit for the exams, find the time and location that’s right for you, and make an appointment. Each test takes about 90 minutes. Within 72 hours after successfully completing both exams, you’ll be notified that you’re certified as a BIG-IP® Administrator.

Get ready to level up.

Once you’ve attained BIG-IP certification, you’ve proven that you’re capable of day-to-day management of ADN. But you don’t have to stop there. The next level, Technology Specialist, requires a deeper understanding of ADN design, implementation and maintenance, and adds another layer of in-demand IT expertise to your arsenal.

In 2014, F5 will launch two more certification levels, Solution Expert and Application Delivery Professional, according to Salchow, creating more opportunities for ADN engineers and architects to expand their careers.

F5, TMOS and BIG-IP are registered trademarks of F5 Networks Inc.