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Ahh, Certifications!  The thing that drives many of us to learn new things as well as show what we have learned.

Recently at work there was a request for some of us to get F5 certified and I figured what the heck. I have had some exposure to F5 Load Balancers in the past and have also had some intimate times other vendors products.  So, I figured I would take the time and focus on the F5 product and obtain the certification  I was much more challenging that I thought it would be –  but it was fun!

It seems as though F5 recently revamped their certification guidelines, testing procedures, and tests.   I do not know exactly when they started to revamp them, but I know it was recent based on the BIG-IP Certification Administrator going live on 3/18/13.  Based on this, the material available to study is few and far between as well many have not been exposed to the Professional Pearson Vue centeters that F5 users to administer the test.  I will cover the Pearson Professional centers as part of this post and will focus on the required tests (101 and 201) in separate posts.  There is just two much information for one post!

Now onto the Professional Pearson Vue testing centers.  Pearson Vue has some information here: http://www.pearsonvue.com/ppc/phototour/index.asp and here http://www.pearsonvue.com/ppc/ , but I will also give you a brief overview.

It is a different expereince then most of us have had with going to a normal centers.  First of all, there is a waiting area that is for candidates only, a No Visitor sign is on the door.  The next thing that is different with the Professional Centers is Biometrics –  yes they do Biometrics to check your identity.   They take a Palm scan of your hand when you check in AND before you enter the secure test room as well as when  you leave the testing room.  Like all testing centers, they also check your 2–forms of identity and take your picture to make sure it matches the one on file.   When you go to enter the test room, they check your Photo ID again and scan your palm to make sure it is you.

Below is an image from Pearson Vue of the typical room layout.  You are notified that you are Video and Audio recorded –  and also to not get out of your seat when you are done.  You are to raise your hand and the proctor will come and get you.  This is done in order to guarantee security as well as minimize the disruptions in the room.  I appreciated this approach as the room I tested in was quite, nicely laid out, and was very prosssional.

Ok, now onto some information around the F5 Certification, the reason you are probably actually reading this! 🙂

In order to obtain your Big IP Certified Administrator certification, there are actually two exams reqired.  The first exam is 101 – Application Delivery Fundementas Exam, and the second is 201 –  TMOS Administration (BIG-IP Administrator Exam).  The 101 exam is a pre-requisite to take any other F5 exam –  this is a fundemental exam to make sure you understand basic networking, load balacing, and F5 products.

So, just a quick overview of the study materials used for the F5 AD Fundementals Exam (101)
Here is a link to a PDF from F5 on the Bluepring –  http://www.f5.com/pdf/certification/exams/blueprint-app-delivery-fundamentals-exam.pdf

The main site I used was Veritable Networks –  F5 Application Delivery Fundementals Study Guide –
That site has tons of great links to all the different sections and headers.  I think that it covered about 80% of what is on the exam in links, but is missing a few things of interest.

The other site I used was the F5 University –  https://f5.learn.com/learncenter.asp?id=178412&sessionid=3-AE900D6B-3AE5-460E-8F07-477BD687EC11&page=1 –  there is some great information there, but it does require a login (free) to use.  I just signed up using my personal account and the following picture is what is avaible there.


That about covers it for this one, that is a brief overview and some study links.  As I said, I will post up more detailed posts around the 101 and 201 tests soon!