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HPE Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

HPE Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths
Credit: Shutterstock/Zakaihza

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is a global provider of information technology products, software and services to organizations, which are usually large enterprises. The company, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, generates more than $37.4 billion in net revenues annually. HPE offers more than 45 entry-level (which it calls Foundational), professional, expert and master level certifications for individuals working with HPE infrastructure and cloud, servers, storage and many other products.

The HPE Certification and Learning program technical/product path includes four certification skill levels:

  1. Foundational: HPE Product Certified
  2. Professional: HPE Accredited Technical Professional (ATP)
  3. Expert: HPE Accredited Solutions Expert (ASE)
  4. Master: HPE Master ASE

HPE offers two certification paths — one focused sales and the other targeting technical expertise. HPE recently revamped its certification portfolio and technical certification candidates will find five solution tracks to choose from: Networking, Operating Systems, Servers, Storage, and Software-Defined Infrastructure and Cloud. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Cloud is a relative newcomer to the available certification paths while big data, data center and close, IT management and security are noticeably absent from this year’s lineup. Each certification path offers two or more credentials. In the next section of this article, we cover each certification level in more detail.

The number of exams per certification varies. Depending on geography, exam prices are generally $115 to $235 for HPE0-xxx or HP0-xxx proctored exams while HPE6-xxx proctored exams typically cost between $100 and $200. The fees for web-based exams (HPE2-xxx, HP2-xxx) range from $60 to $120. For the most part, HPE training courses are recommended but not required, though some credentials do require attending training classes.

In addition to the company's professional IT certification portfolio that's open to all individuals, HPE offers certifications that target sales professionals employed by HPE or an HPE Partner. You'll see those certifications listed as "HPE Partner Restricted." Sales credentials (Aruba Certified and HPE Sales Certified) target HPE employees and channel resellers who want to validate their expertise. Additional sales credentials are offered for Enterprise or Small and Medium Business (SMB) solutions and services.

The HPE Product Certified credential is a foundation-level credential that targets professionals who recommend HPE products and can demonstrate them to customers. Typical job roles include technical engineers (presales and sales) and consultants. Demonstrated skills include knowledge of functions and key features, an understanding of product strengths and customer benefits, along with the ability to perform common tasks relating to product setup, installation and configuration.

The HPE Accredited Technical Professional (ATP) is aimed at individuals in small to mid-market environments who can design, architect, install and configure HPE IT solutions.

An HPE ASE certification identifies individuals who design, architect, implement, manage and support global IT solutions. At this level, a credential holder typically works in a job such as IT architect, integrator or solutions experts. An ASE works with much more complex technologies than an ATP and often needs to juggle the details of a distributed environment.

An HPE Master ASE credential is the top-shelf certification in the HPE certification program. A person who has achieved HP Master ASE certification is well versed in HP technologies and enterprise solutions, and can match them to IT business strategies to meet requirements. This individual is also capable of overseeing the implementation of complex solutions from the proposal stage through deployment in a production environment.

The HPE Networking certifications identify individuals who can efficiently design, deploy, manage and troubleshoot networks based on SDN (software-defined networking) and other leading-edge technologies. Such networks range from simple local area networks to enterprise solutions in converged and cloud environments.

The certifications in this portfolio include:

  • HPE Master ASE – FlexNetwork Solutions V2
  • HP ASE – FlexNetwork Architect V2
  • HP ASE – FlexNetwork Integrator V1
  • HPE ASE – Data Center Network Architect V1
  • HPE ASE – Data Center Network Integrator V1
  • HPE ATP – Data Center Solutions V1
  • HP ATP – FlexNetwork Solutions V3

Because HPE acquired Aruba Networks in 2015, there are also several Aruba certifications available in the Networking category. These certifications have their own certification levels (Associate, Professional and Expert) and are still decidedly "Aruba" in character, rather than being integrated fully into the HPE certification program. Aruba credentials include:

  • Aruba Certified ClearPass Expert (ACCX) V6.5
  • Aruba Certified Design Expert (ACDX) V6.4
  • Aruba Certified Mobility Expert (ACMX) V6.4
  • Aruba Certified Mobility Professional (ACMP) V6.4 and V8b
  • Aruba Certified Switching Professional (ACSP) V1
  • Aruba Certified ClearPass Professional (ACCP) V6.5
  • Aruba Certified Engagement and Analytics Professional (ACEAP) V1
  • Aruba Certified Mobility Associate (ACMA) V6.4
  • Aruba Certified Switching Associate (ACSA) V1

The HPE Operating Systems certifications recognize individuals who are proficient in deploying, configuring, operating and managing servers running HP-UX, HPE NonStop or HPE OpenVMS. These certifications are geared toward enterprise environments.

The certifications in this category include:

  • HP ASE - HP-UX 11i v3 Administrator V1
  • HP ATP - HP-UX 11i v3 Administrator V1

HPE Software-Defined Infrastructure and Cloud certifications target individuals working with hybrid and converged HPE solutions. Successful candidates are able to architect, build and administer cloud and hybrid-cloud solutions using various HPE infrastructures as well as CloudSystem 10, Composable Infrastructure, and Hyper Converged solutions. HPE offers three credentials:  

  • HPE ASE – Hybrid Infrastructure and Cloud Architect V1
  • HPE Product Certified – OneView [2016]
  • HPE Product Certified – Synergy Solutions [2016]

The HPE Servers certifications identify professionals who plan, design, build, implement and manage server solutions, which may include ProLiant Generation 9 (Gen9), BladeSystems, Integrity, Apollo, Moonshot or Synergy. Server certifications are mainly aimed at solution architects and integrators.

The Server certifications include:

  • Master ASE – Advanced Server Solutions Architect V3
  • HPE ASE – ProLiant Server Solutions Integrator V3
  • HPE ASE – Server Solutions Architect v3 and V4
  • HPE ATP – Server Solutions V3
  • HPE ASE – Synergy Solutions Integrator V1
  • HPE ATP – Data Center Solutions V1
  • HPE ATP – Server Solutions V3
  • HPE Product Certified – OneView [2016]
  • HPE Product Certified – Synergy Solutions [2016]

The Storage certification portfolio offers relatively few certifications, all of which focus on HPE storage solutions and integration. Because storage goes hand in hand with other technologies, candidates must also have knowledge of Flash, Hyper-Converged Appliances, Software-Defined Storage, HPE networking, pertinent HPE software solutions and HPE converged infrastructures.

The certifications in this category include:

  • HPE Master ASE – Storage Solutions Architect V2
  • HPE ASE – Storage Solutions Architect V2
  • HPE ASE – Storage Solutions Integrator V2
  • HPE ATP – Data Center Solutions V1
  • HPE ATP – Storage Solutions V2
  • HPE Product Certified – OneView [2016]

Whichever specialty path you choose, climbing HPE's certification ladder can help you advance your career as you develop your skills and technical knowledge.

As an example, if you want to pursue HPE’s Server certification path with OneView, start with the HPE Product Certified – OneView [2016] credential. It has no prerequisites but candidates are required to attend a three-day training course and pass a single exam.

Next, you’ll move on to the HPE ATP – Server Solutions V3 or the HPE ATP Data Center Solutions V1 credentials. No prerequisites are required for either credential. Server Solution candidates are required to attend a single training course plus pass the associated exam. Data Center candidates must attend two training courses – one focused on building HPE data center solutions and the other targeting designing HPE SMB data center architectures. A single exam is required for the Data Center credential.

From there, you’ll want to obtain the HPE ASE – Server Solutions Architect V3 credential. The Server Solutions Architect credential takes either the HPE ATP – Data Center Solutions V1 or HPE ATP – Server Solutions V3 credentials as a prereq. Candidates are required to attend two training courses – one targeting HPE OneView and the other focused on architecting HPE server solutions. Two exams are required.

Finally, you’ll reach the pinnacle certification – the HPE Master ASE – Advanced Server Solutions Architect V3. To earn this credential, you must possess either the HPE ASE – ProLiant Server Solutions Integrator V3, HPE ASE-Server Solution Architect V3 or V4, or HP ASE – ProLiant Server Solutions Integrator V2 credentials. In addition, candidates must attend a required training course focused on architecting advanced HPE server solutions and then pass the associated exam.  

The Certification and Learning Certification Paths: Quick reference guide lists certifications paths for every category of HPE certification.

HPE points to four primary job roles a candidate can achieve with HPE credentials and adequate experience: architect, implementer, administrator and support.

At the top of the career pyramid is the IT architect, who consults with clients and works with team members to design solutions that meet business and technical needs. An implementer is typically an engineer who installs and configures HPE solutions in many different environments, from small businesses to complex data centers. This person collaborates with customers daily, and watches schedules and budgets.

Less customer-facing is the administrator, who manages, administers and monitors HPE solutions. An administrator also provides technical support for production environments, which requires thorough knowledge of operating systems and hardware. Finally, we're all familiar with support personnel, who must know HPE solutions inside and out to be able to diagnose and troubleshoot issues to keep customers satisfied.

There are plenty of open positions posted on such job sites as Indeed, SimplyHired and Monster that call for an HPE certification. Job seekers with one or more HPE credentials should also visit the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Careers page to browse positions available within the company.

HPE recommends training for each certification on the certification's web page. HPE Education Services delivers web-based, instructor-led, virtual instructor-led and virtual class recorded training, although not every training offering comes in all four delivery formats. Some courses are also designated as "SCA," which means special course or activity.

One of the first stops for certification training resources should be the HPE Learning Center, where you can get more information on certifications, exams and training. Once you achieve a certification, your transcript is available in the Center as well. You must first register with HPE to get a learner ID to access the resources.

Ed Tittel

Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written for numerous publications, including Tom's IT Pro, and is the author of more than 140 computing books on information security, web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.