Microsoft released Windows 8 on October 26, 2012, to some fanfare. Since then, there's been considerable hoopla over the Windows 8 user interface, and its touch-oriented features and functions. But MS is still plowing ahead with various certifications built around its newest desktop OS -- most notably, the MCSA: Windows 8 -- controversy notwithstanding. And now, it looks like publishers of study guides for the exams involved in this credential are starting to catch up with the subject matter.
Last week, I blogged about Cisco's role in a White House sponsored Task Force that aims to help returning military personnel with appropriate Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) get into meaningful civilian employment. In particular, Cisco seeks to identify various specialty codes (all the major branches of the military have them) that would be appropriate for its entry-level CCNA Routing and Switching. And, as I had already guessed, both CompTIA and Microsoft are also in on this initiative, known as the IT Training and Certification Partnership.
Cisco Part of Joint Task Force with Feds to Smooth Transition for Military Back to Civilian (IT) Work
On Monday, April 29, 2013, the White House made an announcement about partnering with industry to help active duty military personnel and veterans get credentialed for high-demand jobs. This issue is particularly acute at the moment, thanks to the drawdown of forces in Iraq, and a planned drawdown for those forces still deployed in Afghanistan through the end of 2014. Cisco is offering special access to CCNA training and certification exams as part of this program, to help returning servicepeople and veterans transition back into civilian life.
In following and observing IT certification learning and study habits over nearly two decades now, the ratio of those who self-study to pursue credentials has remained fairly constant at over half the overall population (probably in the 55-60 percent range). That means aspiring and practicing IT professionals are always on the lookout for good self-study materials. To aid them in their search for same, I suggest another category of publications that they might not otherwise consider -- namely, college textbooks that aim at specific certification exams or credentials.
Although IPv6 has been "out there" since the late 1990s, and IPv4 address depletion has basically occurred, organizations and companies have been slow to adopt and adapt to the new 128-bit addressing standard, and all of its enhanced services, security, and gajillions of addresses available. The newly revised CCNA ICND1 version 2 exam finally puts IPv6 front and center, and includes questions directly focused on the new stack. What does this mean for rank and file IT workers?
For the time being, Prometric is offering free access to one of two practice tests for its newly-minted Cyber Security Essentials exam. All you have to do to try out is to sign up for a Prometric account, visit the exam link, provide a promotion code, and you can check yourself against this basic information security exam.
I suppose that because I'm an author of certification prep materials myself, I'm probably more inclined than the average bear to regard such folks in a positive light. You could argue that I see the authors who sign up for "day and date books" -- which MUST be ready to put into readers' hands on the same day that a new exam or credential goes live -- as unsung heroes of the publishing industry because I have had to climb such mountains myself and know how much work must be crammed into a blisteringly short sequence of months and days to make these things happen on time.
This morning, March 26, 2013, Cisco Learning announced an interesting reshaping of its cornerstone Cisco Certified Networking Associate, or CCNA, certifications. Prior to today, some of the CCNA specialties -- most notably, Voice, Wireless, and Security -- all required candidates to earn a base-level CCNA, and then take an extra exam to qualify for the particular technical focus involved. No more: starting today, earning any CCNA requires taking two -- and only two -- exams.
I blogged here last week about big opportunities for both certification and employment in the general areas of big data, data science, data analytics, and so forth. Since then, I've gotten lots of e-mail and several other items have posted that underscore my original contention that this is a niche ripe with potential long-term career value for IT professionals.
As the cloud has taken over the computing world, and zottabytes of storage no longer evoke a "Huh?" and a blank stare from most people, tools and technologies based on the huge amounts of data that organizations and businesses routinely accumulate have become commonplace. The next step, of course, is for companies and organizations with stakes in such things to make certifications available. Then, IT professionals can demonstrate their skills and knowledge, hiring managers and HR professionals can assess them, and certification sponsors can revel in the creation of an active aftermarket (and reduced support costs) for the tools and technologies that make it all possible. And in fact, a suprising number of credentials now fall under this general heading, especially if you include business intelligence and data mining into the mix (as many experts do)
At the end of January, 2013, the Defense Information Assurance Program (DIAP) added the CASP to its list of baseline information assurance certifications. This may sound like small potatoes, but is actually a big deal, because that list of certs attaches to IT jobs with the Department of Defense -- and all of its contractors who also handle IT job roles for that Department, and other arms of the US Government -- and essentially defines "must-have" credentials for individuals to hold such positions.
Thanks to my regular participation on Google Plus, and an excellent circle of business colleagues and friends, I find myself looking at all kinds of interesting news and information on a daily basis. Yesterday, I read an article from The Atlantic magazine entitled "The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time" that got me to thinking about one good way for IT professionals to advance their careers, albeit outside the embrace of a traditional 9-to-5 job with health insurance and other benefits.