Netapp certification – the NCDA

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I’ve been asked by a few people over the last few weeks about the Netapp Certified Data Administrator certification, better known as the NCDA. I was only exposed to Netapp technology a few years ago so definitely don’t claim any real expertise – I don’t know if these requests are due to an increased demand for engineers with Netapp knowledge or whether I’ve just surrounded myself with like minded people pursuing similar goals. Hopefully both!

When I took my exams a couple of years ago I considered putting together a study guide as there wasn’t much available and it suits the way I learn new material. Hanging out on the Netapp forums I picked up quite a few hints and tips along with some great links to example questions, web based learning and some documents produced by Netapp which summarise the knowledge you need for the exams. I never found the time (or motivation if truth be told) to put together my own study notes but maybe there’s still enough demand to make a collection of resources useful. As always real world, hands on experience is invaluable but the below are worth your time;

NOTE: I took two exams (ns0-153 and ns0-163) whereas you can now take a single exam (ns0-154) instead which covers ONTAP 8 – 7 mode.

In terms of difficulty the NCDA is an entry level exam – I’d put these exams nearer the VCP standard than the VCAP, more like an MCP than an MCSE. They’re multiple choice and while some questions require enterprise design knowledge (I got one on Metrocluster cabling) most are much more basic. Like the Cisco exams your certification expires after two years so I should be retaking the exams if I want to stay current but as not much has changed (ONTAP v8 is out but running in cluster mode means it’s almost the same as v7) it would be a paper exercise only and hence not worth it. Besides there’s SRM, vSphere5, vCD 1.5, Chef, Puppet and more to learn should I find any free time…

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