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The Online Cert Revolution Has Arrived: MS Goes Big with Online Proctoring

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!

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SDN Cert Landscape Remains More Unchanged Than I'd Hoped

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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ONF Takes Next Steps toward SDN Certs: Timetable Announced

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.

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CompTIA Skillsboost Reaches Out to Educators, Parents & Students

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.

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Prepping for a Cert? Don't Forget About Online Study Groups

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.

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What's an IT Academy Worth?

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.

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Azure-based MCSD Joins that Lineup

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.

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Cisco Fires Cloud and IoT Cert Salvo

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.

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How Cert Exams Evolve & Change: Microsoft Lync Is Now Skype for Business

Reading over a recent post from Microsoft Learning that includes the tag line "Everything Lync is becoming Skype for Business" provides an illustrated lesson in how IT cert programs change and evolve. Even more interesting: what happens to old exams with scheduled retirement dates, while waiting for new ones, and how they count toward partner qualification requirements.

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Greatest Hits of MS Cert Info -- On Video!

Thanks to Kenji Onozama of Microsoft Learning, you can easily access a compilation of Microsoft learning videos from ace psychometrician Dr. Liberty Munson and her fearless sidekick (and Student Experiences Lead) Briana Roberts online. Their insightful and humorous back-and-forth style combines banter and teaching to answer lots of key questions about Microsoft certification and related testing tools.

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Are Credit Info Breaches the "New Normal?"

A recent flurry of reports via Experian, through its data breach resolution arm, in tandem will well-known security research firm the Ponemon Institute, paint a depressing portrait of the data breach landscape -- especially for firms involved in handling customer credit and other sensitive data. The moral of the story turns out to be a combination of ongoing education for security firms and data handlers alike, along with a profound need for preparation in advance of data breaches before they occur.

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Hadoop Offers Increasing Set of Cert Options

Hadoop is an Apache project, which means it's open source in nature. It's also a popular framework based on Java that's designed to support distributed storage, especially in connection with distributed processing of humongous data sets on generic computing clusters. As such, it's also an important element in many Big Data projects and activities. Given how popular Big Data is nowadays, no big stretch is needed to see Hadoop in the same light.

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