One of the benefits of a slight degree of notoriety -- or name recognition, at least -- is that one gets the occasional request to write or blog about IT certification for a variety of outlets and Websites. Over the past couple of decades that has meant working for a handful of training companies that include Global Knowledge, New Horizons, Pluralsight, Cramsession/PrepLogic, and others. Just this morning I got a phone call from one of them asking for articles and analysis, along with a request for IT cert topics worth covering. When I got on one of my favorite hobbyhorses in response -- namely, the value of soft skills to IT professionals -- the reaction was tepid: "We've tried that, and it didn't resonate well with our audience."
Yes, although Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have been out and about in the technology space for more than three years now, and plenty of major players offer interesting products and services in this vein, I'm still seeing enough of a gap between technology makers and service providers hawking these wares, and companies taking up such offers, to provide continuing ground for concern. This goes double for basic training and certification on SDN and NFV, where the number of options and offerings come nowhere near the number of players jockeying for advantage on this playing field.
In 1995, the Java programming language (produced by a talented team of programmers at Sun Microsystems, including its credited inventors James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton) made its formal debut. That means this language is now 20 years old! I remember the beginning and have been working with and around Java ever since. Though security problems have somewhat tarnished Java's reputation, it continues to be both widely deployed and used, particularly for Web-based (or -integrated) applications. That probably explains why Java certs remain valuable even 20 years into its continuing history.
When MS announced on September 24, 2014 that it was making "select exams" available through online proctoring, I thought it was interesting, and was pleased to see this particular certification giant dips its toes into testing outside the typical testing center environment. In the past week, MS has made it known that all of its MCP and MTA exams are now available online, in more than 40 countries around the world, with all its remaining countries queued up to receive similar service (at least where the minimum bandwidth requirement of 512 Kbps up and down can be met). This is big news!
In the wake of last week's news about the Open Networking Foundations two upcoming SDN credentials, I decided to revisit the overall landscape for Software Defined Networking certifications, and was both surprised and a little frustrated to find that things haven't changed much in this neck of the certification woods. Read on for a quick listing of what's out there, and what's coming.
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The Open Networking Foundation, or ONF, has been working its way toward a pair of SDN certifications for about a year now, and has just announced their cert blueprint (open for public inspection and comment) and a timetable to get to production certification exams and credentials. I'm tickled to death to see a committed, open, vendor-neutral approach to SDN start to gain significant traction in the cert world.
In late June, CompTIA announced the opening of a vendor-neutral IT careers portal named "Skillsboost" that targets parents, teachers, and students. The goal of the site is to provide one-stop online resource for IT careers and training information aimed at secondary (high school) and post-secondary (trade school, community college, university) students interested in what the organization describes as "a vocational route into the IT industry," with special emphasis on hands-on IT training and apprenticeships.
If that old saying "Two heads are better than one" is true, does this proposition scale with size? Are four heads better than two, eight better than four, and so forth? In some cases, that answer is "Yes," and my case for today's blog post is the online study group, where as many heads as can access the same server at once can pool their wisdom and experiences, but also share their questions, concerns, and uncertainties.
In checking out the Born to Learn blog this morning, I saw some numbers that just about made me fall over. As you may or may not know North Carolina was the first US State to adopt the Microsoft IT Academy statewide, back in 2010. Last week, they announced the program had produced its 200,000th Microsoft certification among their student and faculty population. That's a pretty significant accomplishment over 5 years.
When I posted about a free Azure eBook offer in this very blog last February, I wondered why Microsoft was putting so much oomph behind its online cloud platform. Now, with numerous additional free eBooks on the topic available, and the redoubtable Mark Russinovich anointed as Azure's Chief Technical Officer, MS has unleashed a new MCSD devoted to this platform. Put all these puzzle pieces together, and you get more than an inkling that MS thinks that Azure is important stuff. That should make the MCSD:Azure Solutions Architect, as the new credential is called, a good investment for those who believe in or buy into Microsoft's cloud services vision.
Today (May 27) Cisco is announcing several new Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud-related certfication credentials in the CCNA and CCNP categories. Their IoT credential will be called CCNA Industrial (IoT), and there will be Cloud versions of the CCNA and CCNP added to their lineup.