Google has launched a certification program for its Google Apps set of cloud-based programs. Appropriately enough, the certification process is all cloud-based as well.
The Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist test, available starting Wednesday, is the first in a series of certifications Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has planned in the areas of sales, developer and support.
"Our customers want to recognize those users with the greatest expertise and our partners want a way to better differentiate themselves and their expertise to garner more clients," Stephen Cho, director of Google's Apps Channels, told InternetNews.com.
Jon Hallett, CEO of Cloud Sherpas, a Google Apps authorized reseller, said he thinks the certification program "will help generate new client interest by highlighting our commitment to offering the highest-value consulting services to the market."
The Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist certifies IT professionals who have demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills required to migrate to, configure, and deploy Google Apps, the search giant said.
Cho said the multiple choice exam tests specific knowhow and expertise in migration issues and related tasks. Exams must be scheduled and there is a live human proctor monitoring the process.
The $100 fee includes a webcam provided by Google, which must be used as part of the process. Cho said Google is working with third-party companies to help administer the exams. The proctors will have a view of the applicant's face and keyboard as a check against cheating.
"If there's anything going on that looks suspicious the proctor can text the applicant as a warning or shut them down depending on what they see," said Cho. Google requires a minimum of a 14-day wait to retake the exam and another 60 day wait if it needs to be retaken again. Users can see their results immediately upon completion of the exam. There is also an annual recertification requirement, i.e. retaking the latest version of the exam.
The Deployment certification is recommended for IT professionals with 3-6 years of industry experience and individuals who have completed at least three Google Apps for Business deployments. Google is providing online resources and study guides.
While the first Google Apps certification exam is available only in English, Google said it plans to make it available in other languages as well.