Brocade started its Brocade Certified Architect for FICON (BCAF) certification in summer 2008. The BCAF is part of the very successful Brocade Certification program, and is the only FICON/mainframe networking certification program in the industry. After the initial administrative work was completed, a team of our mainframe focused experts met in a secluded, secure location to develop the learning objectives, and met again one month later to do the item writing (question writing) for the certification exam. Once the exam was written, it was time to develop the training course and supporting material to help people prepare to pass the certification exam. A "beta" exam was made available for the truly hard core FICON fanatics out there. The "beta" version of a certification exam includes all the questions that were written. The results of the "beta" exam are used to determine which questions may be too difficult/too easy/confusing/ambiguous. In other words, it is used to weed out some questions. Following the "beta", two forms of the exam are published and made available for the public to take at Pearson Vue testing centers. In summer 2010 we repeated the process to update the exam to reflect new technologies in the marketplace: both Brocade technology as well as IBM mainframe technology. For a certification to be worthwhile, it needs to be kept current in this manner.
The 2008 and 2010 versions of the BCAF exam and training course were challenging because we needed to make certain we included material on the legacy Brocade M-Series (McDATA) FICON products that were still in use by many customers. This was especially true for the 2008 BCAF exam and course.
This past November (November 2012) our team gathered together again to update the BCAFexam. However, this update was much more involved than 2010. The latest version of the exam does not contain questions on the legacy M-Series technology. Instead, the space that had been used for those questions is used for more questions on disaster recovery/business continuity technologies, such as FCIP extension, remote data replication, IP networking for GDPS, etc. The BCAF course was significantly revised as well to cover those topics in much more detail than had been done in the 2008 and 2010 versions. And of course, the latest technologies are included in the exam and course including the IBM zEC12, and the Brocade Generation 5 FICON products: Condor 3 ASIC based switching, FOS 7.1, etc.
The 2013 version of the BCAF exam was announced (GA) and went live on 1 February 2013. Our new instructor led course supporting the exam is CAF 200, and is titled Fundamentals of Brocade Mainframe Networking. This name change reflects the fact that the course and exam include not just the traditional FICON topics, but the other new topics as well.
The new course went through an initial trial in late January, some revisions were made, and a "beta" of the course is taking place in early March. We are now in the process of taking requests for the new course from customers and OEM partners worldwide. Dave Lytle and I are the instructors. Our calendars tend to fill up quickly, so if you are interested, or have any questions about the certification exam and/or course, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in our certification program, here are some very useful additional links beyond the ones already mentioned above: