MEF unveils 'Third Network' professional certification framework, focuses on service orchestration

MEF has introduced its Third Network Professional Certification Framework with an aim of equipping sales and marketing professionals with the skills required to support SDN and NFV-based on-demand services.

The Third Network combines the internet’s on-demand agility and ubiquity with the performance and security assurances of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0).

Aimed at providing training for sales and marketing personnel that work for vendors, consultants and service providers, the new framework consists of a set of what MEF says are essential, professional, and expert-level certifications.

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These will cover the concepts and skills needed to build automated, virtualized, and interconnected networks powered by LSO (Lifecycle Services Orchestration), SDN, NFV, and CE 2.0 (Carrier Ethernet 2.0). By developing these networks, service providers will accelerate the worldwide transition to on-demand Third Network services that provide user-directed control over service capabilities.

“Services are going to be more automated, virtualized and interconnected and powered by LSO, SDN and NFV,” said Stan Hubbard, director of communications and research for the MEF, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “What we’re doing here with the third network professional certification network is taking a holistic approach on where the industry is going and ensuring that professionals that are involved sales, marketing and product strategy have the skillsets they need for this era of on-demand services.”

Multitrack program

MEF’s Third Network Professional Certification Framework includes various key tracks that will be available in 2017 and 2018.

Set to be available later this year, the Essential Level: Foundational Certification for Careers Supporting Advanced Networks validates individuals’ concept-level understanding of key Third Network terms, processes, and elements such as CE, LSO/Orchestration, SDN, NFV, Open Source Software, and Network Security.

Available in September 2017, the Professional Level: IT Certifications for Practitioners in Advanced Networks track is being updated with new MEF material developed since the current exam blueprint to ensure that individuals have the most current Carrier Ethernet expertise that is most relevant to the Third Network era.

In 2018, the MEF will also introduce two additional certification programs: the SDN/NFV Certified Professional to validate knowledge, skills and abilities in SDN and NFV, and the LSO Certified Professional certification, which will cover major orchestration platforms from a practitioner’s point of view.

“We found that there was a lot of demand with the certification program for a wider view about how everything fits together, and that’s what created this Third Network foundation program,” Hubbard said.

Gaining momentum

MEF continues to gain ground with its certification programs. Just this month, MEF CE Certified Professionals (MEF-CECP) reached 5,000 certified professionals employed by over 440 companies in 83 countries.

Hubbard said the program has been “tremendously successful and we’re leveraging that experience with other industry experts to develop certifications around these other technologies and capabilities that form the Third Network foundation.”

One of those companies is Level 3, which has over 500 employees that have attained MEF-CECP certification.

“A highly skilled and well-trained workforce is essential to providing consultation and networking solutions that will address the needs of global enterprises now and in the future, particularly with the rapid migration to cloud-based services,” said Paul Savill, SVP of global product management for Level 3, in a release.