Pearson IT Certification :: Ed Tittel latest blogs from Ed Tittel on Pearson IT Certificationen-usBlog :: Where I Go For Cert News, You Can Go, Too<p>IT training and certification can be a wild, wacky and sometimes wooly world. That's why I follow lots of different news sources to keep up. This week, I have a better than usual reason for sharing those sources with you.<br /> </p>Wed, 24 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: SQL Server Exams Get Content Refresh<p>Interesting item showed up on the <i>Born to Learn</i> blog from Larry Kaye at Microsoft Learning on February 16, 2016, to inform readers that most of the SQL Sever exams will now cover content from both SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014. This should extend the lifetime of current SQL Server certs for a while, as new version is expected to follow in the wake of Windows Server 2016, scheduled for public release sometime in the second half of 2016.</p> <p><br /> </p>Wed, 17 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: College Credit for MS Certifications<p>Ace psychometrician and MS Learning guru Liberty Munson helps certification minded IT professionals strike gold once again in a recent blog post for <i>Born to Learn.</i> In that post, she not only asserts that numerous Microsoft certification exams can provide college credit at a large number of institutions at the rate of 2-3 credit hours a pop, she also provides a list of the exam that potentially qualify for this bonanza.<br /> </p>Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft's Month-Long "Know It, Prove It" Challenge for Feb 2016<p>You've got to hand it to the team at Microsoft Learning and the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA): they're always coming up with cool and interesting ways to incent people to dig more deeply into their tools and technologies, while also expanding their skills and knowledge. It's a good thing 2016 is a Leap Year, as it happens, because MS has issued ten learning challenges IT pros, students, and software developers to get their juices flowing and to help them improve their technical chops.<br /> </p>Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: Great Answers to Q: "Why Hire Certified IT Pros?" from IDC/Microsoft<p>In trying to understand the value proposition for IT certification, employers and IT pros alike are always interested in finding good answers to the question posed in this blog post's title: &quot;Why hire certified IT pros?&quot; Cert sponsors, always seeking to sell more cert exams and expand their certified populations, are no less interested in providing such answers. A recent study from IDC (October 2015) entitled &quot;The Business Value of IT Certification&quot; provides some interesting and useful answers of interest to all parties.<br /> </p>Wed, 27 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: LinkedIn Sheds Light on High-Demand Skills<p>When LinkedIn bought online training company in April 2015, a lot of people wondered what was really going on behind the scenes. A <a href="">recent post</a> from Steve Weiss, Content Manager for Business and Data Science at Linked (formerly at, helps put such speculation to rest: in a self-referential bow toward data mining/Big Data/Data Science, LinkedIn has been mining the heck out of its 400-million-plus user base and watching hiring decisions made under its purview to help the company target hot education topics. What's at the top of the list for 2016?<br /> </p>Wed, 20 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Releases Updated Technical Certification Roadmap<p>Last month, MS updated some of its technical certifications, adding the MCSA: Windows 10, and dropping the earlier versions of that cert for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Perforce, this changes the certification roadmap for the company's programs, and now they've released an updated version of that infographic to follow suit. Find the link, and some discussion, in the remainder of this blog post!<br /> </p>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: Liberty Munson Dishes on MS Beta Cert Exam Prep<p>Dr. Liberty Munson is not just the Principle Psychmetrician for Microsoft Learning -- and as such, a driving force in exam development and delivery -- she's also a calm, reassuring, and often funny voice for the organization. In a recent <i>Born to Learn</i> blog post, she provides some excellent advice on how to select oneself, and then to prepare for beta exams that is useful enough to be restatement and further examination. It bleeds nicely over into general exam preparation techniques, in fact.<br /> </p>Wed, 06 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT :: Top Skills for 2016<p>As that inimitable and always sly soothsayer, Yogi Berra, once said: &quot;It's like deja vu, all over again,&quot; when it comes to chart-topping IT skills and technical areas for 2016. There are some recurring themes here to be sure, but also some newer technologies that promise to take up residence on the short list of what's hot for next year.<br /> </p>Wed, 30 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Gifting Technology to the Less Fortunate<p>This is the time of year when we can all thank our lucky stars for our current situation, and prepare for the onslaught of the holiday season. Most of my readers here are technophiles like myself, so I'd like to point them -- and their older, gently used computers and related gear such as game consoles, smart phones, routers, wireless access points, and so forth -- at some charities to which they can donate such gear to help those less well-endowed with gadgets and goodies.<br /> </p>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: MCSA: Windows 10 Debuts December 14, 2015<p>In a recent post to Microsoft's <i>Born to Learn</i> blog, Senior Product Manager for Certification Larry Kaye announced the pending release of an MCSA for Windows 10, along with its specific requirements. The details are sure to surprise some readers, and to delight those among them who've earned the MCSA: Windows 8.<br /> </p>Wed, 09 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Cert Vs. Degree Gets Another Look<p>Ever since I started writing about certification and related IT career development topics back in the mid-1990s, one perennial question I've been posed has been &quot;Which is better: a college degree or IT certification(s)?&quot; This is something I've written about repeatedly, but it's one of those questions that keeps coming up, particularly for cash-strapped youngsters trying to decide if their lmited funds should go to a degree, or some collection of specific IT certifications. For this blog post, I'll give a nod to an interesting and informative article over at GoCertify, and then revisit the issue yet one more time because of its enduring relevance to current and aspiring IT pros of all ages.<br /> </p>Wed, 02 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: SAVE BIG!! Black Friday for Cert Stuff at PITC<p>If you're in the market for cert books, practice tests, or video training materials, head on over to Pearson IT Certification, where you'll find savings of up to 55% on a storewide basis (you must buy two or more items to get the big discount; single items get 35% off instead).<br /> </p>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Upcoming MS Exam Retirements for H1 2016<p>In keeping with Microsoft's stated policy of informing the certified population about planned cert exam and credential retirements, MS Learning's Liberty Munson shared planned retirements for the first half of 2016 recently. Actually, the announcements go through July 31, 2016 so we get an extra month's worth of coverage from this round of information.<br /> </p>Wed, 18 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Veteran's Links for November 11<p>It gives me great pleasure to write this week's blog post, not only because I can tip my hat to the many veterans who've so ably and nobly served this country, but because I can provide some pointers for younger vets and active duty military personnel facing the transition back into civilian employment to get certified on their way out of the service and/or into the workforce. I'm also especially grateful to my Dad, Al, who served the USA in WWII and Korea, and who managed to make a 27-year career in the US Army as a member of the reserves.<br /> </p>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Revising "Ranking Certs" for 2016<p>For those of you who don't already know, we've re-created my print book entitled &quot;IT Certification Success&quot; (which appeared in 5 paper editions between 1999 and 2005) as an e-book right here at PITC. It's available through <a href="">&quot;Ed Tittel's IT Certification Success&quot;</a> any time you'd care to check it out. One of its most popular features is called &quot;Ranking Certifications&quot; wherein we apply a series of metrics to compare over 100 IT certifications by level of difficulty, time required for completion, number of exams involved, out of pocket cost, background and experience required, and average pay for certifications holders. We've just finished updating this&nbsp; massive research effort and for today's blog, I want to report on what changed since this ranking was last updated in 2014.<br /> </p>Wed, 04 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: PITC Builds a Growing Library of Author Webcasts<p>Earlier this week, it was my pleasure and privilege to moderate a webcast for Pearson IT Certification (PITC) and InformIT from the inimitable Zed Shaw, programmer extraordinaire and the inventor of the terrific &quot;The Hard Way&quot; series of programming books. In preparing for this and upcoming PITC webcasts -- I'll be your relentlessly cheerful moderator for the foreseeable future for such delights -- I found myself poking around the current library of such offerings, and thinking about new items that will be added to this growing collection.<br /> </p>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: The Ins and Outs of "Talent Development"<p>Recently, I've been tasked with designing and crafting a series of articles on talent development over at Tom's IT Pro, and it's led me into a whole new realm of IT-related learning, training, and certification concerns. Not only is there a professional association devoted to this topic -- with its own branded certification -- there's a whole discipline behind the topic that unites management, HR, and IT functions behind the idea of providing access to learning and training after an IT person joins an organization, with an eye toward keeping them focused on present and future technology needs, and being ready, willing, and able to make the most of them.<br /> </p>Wed, 21 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Updated Suite of RHCE/RHCSA Materials Now Available<p>Several of my recent blog posts have described materials aimed at the latest Linux+/LPIC-1 exams; here I do likewise for the latest and greatest versions of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 exams for the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) credentials. <br /> </p>Wed, 14 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: AppToCert Program Redux: Development for Cert Credit<p>Almost one year ago, Microsoft instituted a so-called &quot;AppToCert Program,&quot; wherein developers could trade some exercise of their abilities -- and a bit of elbow grease -- for credit in becoming certified in the MS development arena. As of last week, MS has re-launched this program for developer enrollment. Learn more about it in this week's blog post, which includes a description of the current incarnation of AppToCert, along with pointers to key blog posts and Web pages for previous incarnations as well.<br /> </p>Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Complete Video Course for Linux+/LPIC-1 Coming Soon!<p>Earlier this month, I blogged about the upcoming release of a <a href="">Cert Guide for the LPIC-1/Linux+</a> exams. Today, I'm pleased to inform my readers that Pearson IT Certification will be adding a complete video course on the same subject matter to its arsenal of prep materials on this subject matter -- and somewhat sooner, to boot. In fact, the video course will make its debut next week on October 5, 2015, while the book will become available on November 18, about five weeks thereafter.<br /> </p>Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: DoD 8570 Gives Way to DoD 8140, Specifies Security Certs for Government Workers August 2015, representatives of the United States Department of Defense (aka DoD, pronounced &quot;Dee-oh-Dee&quot;) signed the 8140 directive. It replaces the now-outmoded (but not forgotten, for reasons I'll explain soon) 8570 directive. Both 8570 and 8140 require DoD personnel and contractors to obtain certifications in their work area specializations, particulary for IT-related job roles. This means that active duty military and DoD civilians who work in and around IT must obtain a variety of security credentials based on NIST's definition for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (aka NICE). The devil, as always, is in the details, so let's look at some of them more closely.<br />Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: For More Windows Expertise, Learn Powershell<p>Since the days of Windows Vista (and prior to the release of Windows Server 2008), Windows has supported a real, honest-to-goodness command shell/shell scripting language that stands head and shoulders above and beyond the old MS-DOS command line lexicon and syntax and its batch (.BAT) file counterparts. Savvy Windows users are well-advised to dig into PowerShell, and to learn how it can be used, because it is incredibly powerful and capable.<br /> </p>Wed, 16 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Updated CompTIA Linux+/LPIC-1 Cert Guide Coming Soon<p>Writing cert prep materials is an interesting and occasionally exhausting vocation, especially in today's era of releases on rapid cadences, and on an ever-shifting and -changing certification landscape. That probably helps to explain why the Cert Guide for exams LX0-103 &amp; -104 (CompTIA) and 101-400 and 102-400 (LPI-C) is soon to be available, even though the updated exams went live at the end of March, 2015. Look for this new book to become available online and in bookstores by mid-November. Here's a preview of its contents, and a link to those interested in pre-ordering the title.<br /> </p>Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Where Can "Big Data" Take Us?<p>In my line of work, I get asked to listen to countless product pitches and watch oodles of demonstrations. It can be informative and sometimes even mildly interesting, but I seldom find myself saying &quot;I've got to see more of this stuff, and use it myself.&quot; A rare exception to this general trend hit me over the head earlier this week when I finally got together with members of the Spanish-based company Panda (a name many readers will recognize thanks to their long-standing and highly regarded anti-malware product offerings) to walk through the company's Adaptive Defense product instead.<br /> </p>Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Lack of Sex Appeal Notwithstanding, Soft Skills DO Matter in IT<p>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&nbsp; in response -- namely, the value of soft skills to IT professionals -- the reaction was tepid: &quot;We've tried that, and it didn't resonate well with our audience.&quot;<br /> </p>Wed, 26 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: SDN/NFV Continues Gaining Ground and Traction, But...<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 19 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Looking Back on 20 Years of Java<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 12 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: The Online Cert Revolution Has Arrived: MS Goes Big with Online Proctoring<p>When MS announced on September 24, 2014 that it was making &quot;select exams&quot; 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!<br /> </p>Wed, 22 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: SDN Cert Landscape Remains More Unchanged Than I'd Hoped<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: ONF Takes Next Steps toward SDN Certs: Timetable Announced<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 08 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Skillsboost Reaches Out to Educators, Parents & Students<p>In late June, CompTIA announced the opening of a vendor-neutral IT careers portal named &quot;Skillsboost&quot; 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 &quot;a vocational route into the IT industry,&quot; with special emphasis on hands-on IT training and apprenticeships.<br /> </p>Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Prepping for a Cert? Don't Forget About Online Study Groups<p>If that old saying &quot;Two heads are better than one&quot; 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 &quot;Yes,&quot; 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.<br /> </p>Thu, 18 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: What's an IT Academy Worth?<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 10 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Azure-based MCSD Joins that Lineup<p>When I posted about <a href="">a free Azure eBook offer</a> in this very blog last February, I wondered why Microsoft was putting so much oomph behind its online cloud platform. Now, with numerous additional <a href="">free eBooks</a> 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.<br /> </p>Wed, 03 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Fires Cloud and IoT Cert Salvo<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: How Cert Exams Evolve & Change: Microsoft Lync Is Now Skype for Business<p>Reading over a recent post from Microsoft Learning that includes the tag line &quot;Everything Lync is becoming Skype for Business&quot; 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.<br /> </p>Wed, 20 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Greatest Hits of MS Cert Info -- On Video!<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 13 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Are Credit Info Breaches the "New Normal?"<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 06 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Hadoop Offers Increasing Set of Cert Options<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 22 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Launches New Linux+ Exams<p>On April 15, 2015, CompTIA reported that it has launched new exams for its Linux+ Powered by LPI certification, an entry-level credential aimed at what the organization identifies as &quot;junior-level Linux administrators.&quot; These new exams incorporate changes and updates to reflect advancements in modern Linux kernels and the various tools, utilities, and command line programs so beloved of Unix admins everywhere.<br /> </p>Wed, 15 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco's Career Toolkit & Webinars: Worth Visiting<p>In perusing the Cisco Learning pages this morning, I came across a wealth of <a href="">&quot;IT Careers&quot;</a> offerings, including a very nice set of videos (both instructor-led training and pre-recorded Webinars) that provide career guidance as well as certification prep content. In this blog post, I provide more information about what's available, along with some hopefully helpful links.<br /> </p>Wed, 08 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Musings on IT/Cert Salary Surveys<p>Over the past month, the folks over at Certification Magazine (who also own and run the excellent site) have been mining their recently published end-of-year (2014) salary survey. As I chew over the numbers they report and the implicit career guidance they can dangle in front of current and aspiring IT professionals, I'm reminded of that old aphorism, often erroneously attributed to American humorist Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain: &quot;There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.&quot; Read on for further musings on what CertMag found and what it can, but doesn't have to mean, when it comes to crafting career plans.<br /> </p>Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Digging Into Windows 10<p>Just last week, another build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview -- Build 10041 -- popped onto the landscape. I've been working with it desultorily at times, and with intense focus at others, but always, always I've been struggling to find good sources of information. I'd like to share some of the results of my searching in this blog post, to help other &quot;early adopters&quot; like myself get ready for a new slate of MS certs sure to show up in late summer or early fall when Windows 10 hits the &quot;General Availability&quot; milestone.<br /> </p>Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Leaping Into Fuller (IT) Employment<p>Driving home from my Tuesday night pool league last night, I found myself listening to US Senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott on the &quot;Tavis Smiley&quot; show, as they explained their legislative agendae as the only African-American members currently sitting in that august governmental bodies. One very interesting item that came up in the conversation is <a href="">S.2234</a> the LEAP Act (Leveraging and Energizing America's Apprenticeship Programs), wherein I learned that South Carolina (Tim Scott's home state) currently leads the nation in creating and supporting such programs.<br /> </p>Wed, 18 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: It's Hard to Overstate the Value of Good Communication Skills in IT<p>This past week I've been OOO (out of the office), where I served as an expert witness in a patent suit. If there was one lesson I took away from that experience as I watched the 8-person jury struggle to absorb an amazing amount of technology information and patent law, it was the vital importance of clear communication in making things understandable and accessible as a prelude to taking action.<br /> </p>Sat, 14 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Great New Materials Available for Just-Released Network+ Exam<p>As I read over the announcement from CompTIA earlier this week that the latest version of the Network+ exam (N10-006) became available on 2/28/2015, I found myself wondering: &quot;What do we have ready for this latest iteration?&quot; As I dug into the PITC site and started checking things out, I found myself pleasantly surprised. The short answer to the question is &quot;Plenty!&quot; but you'll have to read on to get details and pointers.<br /> </p>Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Free SQL Server Online Training from MVA Available<p>MS has just rounded out a full slate of free online training courses for the SQL-related MCSA and MCSE certifications. That's a collection of materials that's hard to beat, and the price is right, too. Check them out if you're interesting in or already using SQL Server in the workplace. Find all the links you'll need in the paragraphs that follow.<br /> </p>Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: About Global Knowledge's 15 Top-Paying Certs for 2015<a href="" target="_blank" title="15 Top-Paying Certifications for 2015">15 Top Paying Certifications for 2015</a>It's mid-February as I write this blog post, or about the usual time at which Global Knowledge has ace instructor John Hales describe the findings of their annual salary survey as it relates to IT certification. The new Top 15 list has a lot in common with <a href="">last year's list</a> but offers up some new items as well. For me, what's missing is as interesting as what's present, so I'll offer up some ideas on that as well.Wed, 18 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Press Offers Free Azure eBook<p>Azure is Microsoft's online cloud platform, which the company uses itself to host OneDrive, databases galore, datacenters, email services and more. It supports all the major Windows Server platforms, and is suprisingly powerful and affordable. Right now, MS Press is giving away its lead-in Azure title, free for the downloading.<br /> </p>Wed, 11 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: A Different Take on the Value of IT Certification<p>In the past year or two, I've read stories about children as young as five years old earning IT certifications, with plenty more examples of middle&nbsp; or high school aged teenagers notching up some interesting credentials such as MCSA, MCSE, and CCNA. With an increasing number of kids getting certified on their way through high school, especially through the Microsoft IT Academy and the Cisco Academy, what's a hiring manager or business owner to do, when faced with a certified high school graduate on the lookout for an IT job? Good question!<br /> </p>Wed, 04 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Social Media Certs Gaining Interest and (Some) Credibility<p>Back in 2012, I wrote a blog here entitled &quot;Social Media: Valid Certs or Snake Oil?&quot; wherein I observed that one must look neither far nor hard to find numerous certifications about or around the subject of social media. Players in the space include training companies, consulting organizations, and even academic institutions, all eager to cash in on the growing importance and gargantuan cache that comes along with social media. And now, at long last, there seems to be serious, valuable, and vendor-/platform-neutral sponsor in this cert niche, upon whose recent efforts and activities I'd like to report here. I'm talking about an organization named the National Institute for Social Media (NISM) and their Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification.<br /> </p>Mon, 02 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: MCPs Get Discounts on ALL MS Press Titles<p>Yowza! I came across an undeniably tasty item in trolling the Microsoft <i>Born to Learn</i> blog this morning. As of January 14, anybody with a Microsoft Certified Professional credential -- and that's anybody who's passed an exam that leads to MCSA, MCSE, MCPD, Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist, and everything else except exams for Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) or Microsoft Technology Associate -- gets a pretty hefty discount through the Microsoft Press Store.<br /> </p>Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Restarts "Second Shot" Program<p>In what is apparently becoming something of a (very early) Rite of Spring, MS has re-launched its Second Shot program, whereby a special cert exam registration earns candidates the rights to a free re-take should they fail on their first attempt. The devil, of course, is in the details so please read on to learn all about them!<br /> </p>Wed, 14 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: MTA Mobility and Cloud Exams Get New Objectives<p>It's an outright truism that fast-moving technology areas change with equal rapidity. Building certifications to cover such topics areas can be a challenge and requires almost constant ferment to keep up with (or close to) the state of the art. That's why I was glad to learn that MS has recently updated its Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam objectives for its mobility and cloud fundamentals exams.<br /> </p>Wed, 07 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT :: Looking for Cert Inspiration for 2015? Look no further!<p>As 2014 is about to wind up tonight at midnight, it's highest time to start thinking about what kinds of IT certification adventures to ponder for the coming year that kicks off immediately after the ball drops in your neighborhood. I've got some suggestions for areas worth thinking about, and digging into that appear to be on the upswing for job opportunities, promotions, or simply to breathe new life and interest into a flagging career.<br /> </p>Wed, 31 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Giving Back in IT: In-School Volunteering and Mentoring<p>It's the time of year for a pause and some reflection, as the holidays are almost upon us and the New Year is immanent. I find myself thinking about how we IT pros can pass along what we know and have learned, particularly to that most impressionable of populations: school-aged youth...<br /> </p>Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Where to draw the line on exam prep?<p>In preparing, overseeing, and recommending quality cert prep materials, I always have to be keenly aware of the line that separates &quot;the good stuff&quot; from the stuff that oversteps the bounds of what's allowed when it comes to such things. Today I saw a terrific blog on Microsoft's <i>Born to Learn</i> that draws that line as clearly and explicitly as I've ever seen anywhere. Please, let me explain...<br /> </p>Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: LinkedIn Weighs in on IT Certification<p>Starting at the end of November, 2014, LinkedIn started reporting on the results of its &quot;Add to Profile for Certifications&quot; functionality, introduced earlier that same year. The results draw on the site's 320 million-plus members to shed some interesting light on the certifications that they hold. Not all of them are in IT, of course, but those that are shed some interesting light on the subject.<br /> </p>Wed, 03 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Looking Ahead: Hot IT Skills for 2015<p>When executive editor Brett Bartow at PITC occasionally suggests a blog topic, I'm always all ears. This time, he pointed me at a recent <i>Network World</i> story entitled &quot;10 <a href="">Hottest IT Skills for 2015</a>,&quot; a November 18, 2014 story from Mary K. Pratt of sister publication <i>Computer World</i>. I'm always curious to know what's on the radar, so I read the story with some interest, and will share some high points with you here.<br /> </p>Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Those Seeking Cisco Certs Should Mind Their Study/Learn Master List<p>Over the years, it's been interesting to watch the Cisco Learning Center grow and evolve to better meet the needs of IT professionals pursuing that company's often-coveted certification credentials. Of all the many things that Cisco does right with its cert programs, the company's &quot;<a href="">Study/Learn Master List</a>&quot; is second to none when it comes to helping interested parties find their way to the right exams, objectives, training, and study/prep materials. If you don't know about this already, you should; if you do know about it, you might want to head back to give it another look, as numerous exams have been (or will be) updated or replaced in the very near future.<br /> </p>Wed, 12 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: New CCNP Training Video Available at Half-Off<p>PITC's publishing arm strikes again, this time with over twelve hours of video training from Cisco CCIE and training maven Kevin Wallace. The subject is the Cisco Certified Network Network Professional, Routing &amp; Switching, Exam 300-101, and consists of 149 videos that cover the entire CCNP R&amp;S curriculum. These videos are structured as a collection of individual lessons, complete with summaries plus interactive module and glossary quizzes to help cert candidates master the materials covered. Good stuff!<br /> </p>Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MCSE: Private Cloud Study Guides Finally Ready<p>The Microsoft Press study guides for the two MCSE: Private Cloud certification are now available, either in printed or eBook form. Check them out online at Pearson IT Certification.<br /> </p>Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Amazon Web Services Certs Worth Investigating<p>Long a leader in cloud technologies and related service offerings, Amazon offers a substantial and growing certification program to support its Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings. Currently, credentials are available for architects, developers and sysadmins at associate and professional levels, with more on the way.<br /> </p>Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Goes Exclusive with Pearson VUE for Cert Exams<p>One could suppose that it's not a surprise to learn that Microsoft has now designated Pearson VUE as its &quot;sole test provider,&quot; in light of the company's selection of Pearson's publishing arm to handle its MS Press titles last year. Nevertheless, I was struck by this announcement, and the growing certification synergy that's emerging across the Pearson family of companies.<br /> </p>Fri, 10 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: IDC Study Points to Future Jobs & Necessary Skills<p>Thanks to my buddies over at, I recently learned about a new IDC study that is chock-full of interesting and useful information about where jobs are going to be most plentiful in the years ahead. Entitled &quot;<a href="">Skills Requirements for Tomorrow's Best Jobs</a>, it does a great job of analyzing and dissecting current and future job markets, and of identifying skills and knowldge that current and upcoming graduates will need to excel at them.</p>Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: IBM Forces Some Employees Into Training, Imposes Pay Cut<p>In mid-September, IBM sent an interesting but also threatening e-mail to a number of employees in its Global Technology Services division, the arm of the company responsible for providing consulting and technology services to its biggest and most important customers. Observing that its recipients &quot;have not kept pace with acquiring the skills and expertise needed to address changing client needs, technology and market requirements,&quot; those same recipients were ordered into a one-day-a-week training program for 23 weeks (almost half a year). During that training interval, their pay would also be docked by 10 percent, perhaps splitting the difference with those employees of the 20 percent loss in productivity that would therefore ensue. What does this decision have to tell us, and those currently playing the IT game as professionals?<br /> </p>Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MS, Pearson VUE Team Up to Beta-Test Online Proctored Exams<p>An intriguing email from Microsoft Learning appeared in my inbox on Monday entitled &quot;<a href="">Introducing Online Proctored MCP and MTA exams (Beta).&quot;</a> I've seen numerous attempts at providing secure exams online over the past few years, including technologies from companies like Kryterion, QuestionMark and SoftwareSecure, but none of them have involved an 800-lb certification gorilla like Microsoft, so this really got my attention.</p>Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MCSA: What Goes Around Comes Back Around<p>When I learned that MS is altering is MCSA exam requirements for Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 to include one elective along with two required exams, my first reaction was to ask: &quot;Wasn't that the way the original MCSA worked, too?&quot; I checked: it was. This is a case where it's nice to see Microsoft returning to its certification roots.<br /> </p>Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: New Cisco Exam Profiles and Coverage on PITC<p>PITC, of course, is the abbreviation for this very site -- namely, Pearson IT Certification itself. In the past two weeks, a bevy of Cisco Cert Prep authors have posted articles about new CCIE, CCNP, and CCNA exams. If CCNA Data Center, or CCNP or CCIE Routing and Switching is in your future, you'll want to check them out.<br /> </p>Wed, 03 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: New CCNP Exam Prep Materials On Their Way<p>A new crop of CCNP exams is available, and the old crop is on its way out. Although Pearson doesn't yet have finished books available for the latest collection of such exams, they're on their way to print by the end of 2014. But all of them already offer so-called &quot;Rough Cuts&quot; -- online versions immediately accessible for those early adopters (such as developers, instructors, Cisco partners, or others who typically jump on the cert bandwagon sooner rather than later) who need them before print editions come off the presses in late November, 2014.<br /> <br /> </p>Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Top States for IT Jobs mid-2014<p>Quick! You have to guess which 5 US states currently enjoy the highest growth rate for technology worker jobs. What are they? If you guessed California in that bunch, WRONG! A recent article at, based on numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows a surprising line-up of southern states, the northeast, a rust belt state, and more. <br /> </p>Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Fair Warning: ISACA CRISC Updates Coming in 2015<p>As seems to be case with many cert sponsors nowadays, ISACA used to stand for the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, but later changed its official name to match that acronym rather than sticking to the expanded version. ISACA remains an organization devoted to IT systems audit and governance training and certification, however, and its Certified Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) credential is becoming a high-value element in the audit and control realm for IT. Just recently, ISACA let current and prospective members of the association know that change is coming to the CRISC in 2015.<br /> </p>Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: New Cisco CCIE Exam Retake Policies Mandate Patience, Planning, and Preparation<p>The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, or CCIE, has been a nonpareil certification ever since its inception in August 1993, when Terry Slattery earned the first ever such credential. The written exam is pretty tough, but the all-day hands-on lab exam is widely and rightly regarded as one of the hardest of all IT cert exams to pass with only a small fraction managing successful completion on their first try. As of last week (8/2/2014), Cisco has changed its exam retake policies for the CCIE, especially where the &quot;wait time&quot; between exam attempts is concerned.<br /> </p>Wed, 06 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: How I Evaluate Cert Program to See if They're "For Real"<p>I've been working in and around IT certification since the late 1980s, during which time I was the proud and interested initial author for Excelan's (later Novell's) &quot;Networking 101&quot; class. For the past 6 years, I've blogged anywhere from 3 to 7 times a week on IT certification topics for sites that have included this one, as well as TechTarget,, Tom's IT Pro, and others. During the period from 1997 to today (that date coincides with the launch of the <i><b>Exam Cram</b></i> series, now a Pearson imprint) I've turned up, investigated, and reported on hundreds of different IT certification programs. This blog post explains briefly how I separate the wheat from the chaff, when it comes to recommending for or against specific IT certs and programs, with pointers to other resources on this topic.<br /> </p>Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Begins MCSE/MCSD Recert Regime the past couple of years, MS has worked hard to earn ISO 17024 accreditation for its top certification credentials, including its recently re-issued MCSE and MCSD certifications. One requirement that comes with attaining such status is a requirement for regular re-certification, usually at 2 or 3 year intervals. In the MCP Weekly Flash newsletter for July 10, 2014, MS informs readers that the recertification regime is about to get underway, starting with MSCD recert exams in August/September 2014. <p />Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Establish a Professional Online Presence with LinkedIn<p>Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has become THE PLACE to present and promote oneself professionally online, particularly for those who labor in the technology patch -- including IT professionals. But even with over a decade of exposure, familiarity and use, lots of IT pros can benefit from a rethinking of their LinkedIn profiles, and a more calculated strategy for providing profile content, managing postings, and promoting one's individual and professional brand online.<br /> </p>Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: PITC Sale On Today Through July 7<p>I guess Pearson decided to fire off some incendiary deals in celebration of this weekend's upcoming Independence Day holiday, with a rousing round of discounts on books, ebooks, software, practice tests, and video tutorials. Be sure to drop by the site and check out the discounts, which span from Cisco, to CompTIA, to VMware, and more!<br /> </p>Wed, 02 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Resetting the Bar for Digital Literacy in High School<p>With the commercial Internet having gotten underway in 1995-1996, today's generation of school-age children inarguably qualify as &quot;digital natives&quot; born into an increasingly networked and digital world. And yet teaching basic computer literacy in K-12 here in the USA is only starting to become a part of the standard curriculum. There's still a lot more work to do in this area, but signs of change are starting to accumulate. Read on to learn about a fascinating initiative courtesy of the Microsoft IT Academy.<br /> </p>Thu, 26 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: PITC Win-Win: Apply as an IT Cert Reviewer!<p>Every now and then, Pearson IT Certification (PITC) opens up a small number of slots for IT Certification Reviewers. These stalwart and enthusiastic IT pros gain free and early access to Pearson's cert prep materials of all kinds -- including books, videos, flash cards, and so forth -- in exchange for their candid and timely feedback. If you're already certified, or seriously engaged in pursuing IT certification, this is something that can give you a leg up on early credentials in your favorite programs, while also giving back to the IT cert community at large.<br /> </p>Wed, 25 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Works Both Sides of the BYOD Street<p>If you haven't been living under a rock for the past three years or so, you already know that BYOD means &quot;bring your own device.&quot; This acronym refers broadly to the phenomenon where an organization's employees use their own cellphones, tablets, notebook or laptop PCs, or other mobile devices to do &quot;work stuff.&quot; This could occur on the road or at home (away from the office) or within an organization's premises (&quot;inside the firewall&quot;). CompTIA has invested heavily in supporting mobile technologies, including the Mobility+ and a couple of Mobile App Security+ certifications, but in talking to IT honchos and business executives, it has also observed that the promise or hype for BYOD has somewhat outpaced the realities of its use on the ground.<br /> </p>Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Exam Coming Up? Voucher Discounts!<p>If you're planning to take a CompTIA exam sometime between now and (at least) April 30, 2015, you'll want to check into discount exam vouchers now available at the website. Given that most CompTIA exams cost $200 and up (a select few are cheaper, many are more expensive) the 10% discount on offer is worth at least 20 bucks per exam. Check it out!<br /> </p>Thu, 12 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Windows 8.1 Exam Prep Tools Almost Ready<p>One nice thing about the recent alliance of Pearson IT Certification with MS Press is that you can glom onto most of the &quot;good stuff&quot; for Microsoft cert prep from a single outlet -- which is to say &quot;Right here!&quot; That's why I was pleased to see titles for the updated (8.1) versions of the Windows 8 exams are either already available, or coming in the next month or so.<br /> </p>Wed, 04 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: IT Cert Help for Veterans<p>Call me old-fashioned, call me behind the times, call me late: I've still got our veterans and returning servicepeople on my mind even though Memorial Day was officially last weekend. Maybe it's just because I'm old enough to be fixated on Memorial Day as the last weekend in May, even if that doesn't include the necessary Monday. Whatever the cause for this memory mix-up, I'm pretty sure my target audience won't mind that I'm a week behind on the delivery, because the information is bound to be of interest to them anyway. In the following paragraphs, then, you'll find pointers to IT certification resources for vets and active duty personnel transitioning back to (or facing immanent) return to civilian employment.</p>Fri, 30 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Free MS Exam Prep Mini-Courses Online those of you who couldn&rsquo;t attend Microsoft TechEd North America 2014 (held May 12 - 15) in Houston, TX, you can still reap some of its benefits. Of particular interest to those likely to read this blog, Microsoft is making numerous TechEd <a href="">exam prep sessions</a> available, free of charge, through its Channel 9 website. Certs covered include MCSA and MCSE, in various forms and flavors.<br /> <p />Thu, 22 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Revisiting Cert Rankings for 2014<p>In last week's blog, I advised readers that they could find revised content for that portion of the PITC site known as &quot;Ed Tittel's IT Certification Success.&quot; In this blog, I dig into some details on the 2014 Cert Rankings, and provide a working link through which to access that content.<br /> </p>Wed, 14 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Updated IT Cert Success is Here!<p>Shortly after I launched the <i><b>Exam Cr</b><b>a</b><b>m</b></i> series at Coriolis in 1997, Kim Lindros and I compiled a companion book for that series called <i><b>IT Certification Success</b></i>. It went through three editions at Coriolis and two more at Pearson (dated 1998, 1999, and 2000 at Coriolis, and 2002 and 2003 at Pearson) before we decided to retire that content, not because it wasn't worthwhile, but because it changed so frequently that we couldn't keep it up to date. That content has been available right here on this site in Web-based form since 2010, and I'm very pleased to report we just finished a major update of its contents.<br /> </p>Wed, 07 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Gets Bullish on IT Prospects Near-Term<p>Since 2008-2009, when we entered into the depths of the most recent recession, there's been rather more doom and gloom than there has been cheer and anticipation when it comes to business forecasts for IT. On April 28, CompTIA countered this trend with an unexpectedly ebullient IT Industry Confidence index, its own quarterly measure of business confidence and expectations regarding the IT industry (gathered, presumably, from among its thousand of industry member organization and companies). In fact, this is the third quarter in a row in which forecasts and expectations have continued upon an upward trend. Can this signal an upturn for IT?</p>Mon, 28 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Big Data Training and Certification Keeps On Rolling<p>Over the past couple of years, if not longer, Big Data has been on IT's radar as a fountain of opportunity at many levels: for companies and organizations to extract added profit and value from their customer and client interactions, for IT to demonstrate value and get to the bottom line, and for IT employees to boost their visibility and find more and better job opportunities. In looking at this trend myself, I've blogged and written articles. This morning, I was delighted to find an article from Kachina Shaw at ITBusinessEdge that confirmed and amplified what I've been reporting all along.<br /> </p>Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Savings All Over on Pearson Cert Deals<p>Every now and then, I have to toot my sponsor's horn for this blog. It's not because they pay me to write these posts (which they do): no, it's because Pearson sometimes offers such terrific deals on items they create or sell that it would be a disservice to my readers not to clue them in as to what's going on. Curious? Cert funds to spend?<br /> </p>Tue, 08 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: More info on Cisco Cert-related Subscriptions<p>A few weeks ago, right here in this very blog, I alerted readers to the excellent values available when purchasing a Cisco subscription of some kind to gain access to certification prep, study, training, practice exams, and virtual labs. Though my information was correct, Cisco has gone a couple of steps further, and put together a terrific table of information about the duration of such subscriptions, how their countdown clocks work, and some important tips to help subscribers extract the greatest value and utility from them.<br /> </p>Wed, 02 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Rackspace Expands OpenStack Curriculum<p>As one of the &quot;parents&quot; of the OpenStack cloud software collection, Rackspace has long been active in training on this subject matter. A quick visit to the company's training pages this morning shows they've not been idle of late, and now offer no less than eight courses around OpenStack technologies.<br /> </p>Tue, 25 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Another Great Bundle Offering, for CertPrep ... and Beyond!<p>After last week's blog post about on-again, off-again discounts on certprep bundles, it occurred to me that readers may want to check into the excellent offerings available at Safari Books Online, a joint venture that involves O'Reilly Media and Pearson among other publishers, and that provides ready online access to over 20,000 technical books via a subscription program. Basically, if you buy 6 or more computer technical books or certification study guides/exam crams per year, you can do better by spending the same (or similar) money to get a Safari subscription instead.<br /> </p>Wed, 19 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Sometimes, MORE really is better<p>For certification candidates pursuing exams, particularly those who take the self-study route to exam preparation, I strongly recommend assembling a battery of preparation materials to get ready for the test (or tests) that usually come near the conclusion of the certification process. That includes books, practice tests, simulators (where applicable) and more. Often, cert candidates must research these items on a one-off basis, which can be time-consuming and sometimes even frustrating. Pearson makes this easy for certain exams with a variety of bundled products for exam prep, and even offers substantial discounts on those bundles from time to time.<br /> </p>Wed, 12 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Exam in Your Future? Check Out Their Study Groups<p>When people prepare for any IT certification, I recommend taking a self-study approach for those who may be strapped for funds, with a classroom or online training based approach for those who can afford it. Either way, the run-up to the exam should also include books like those from the <i><b>Exam Cram </b></i>or <i><b>Cert Guide</b></i> series, one or more practice exams, perhaps some flash cards, and more. Another key ingredient is the focus of today's blog: a study group, which brings together a community of past, present, and future exam-takers to voice and answer questions, address concerns, talk exam strategy and so forth and so on.<br /> </p>Wed, 05 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: CCHIT Cert To Be Withdrawn from Market<p>Just recently, Healthcare IT News/HEI Watch published an interview with Alisa Ray, CEO of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) in which she revealed that her organization is exiting the Electronic Health Records (EHR) certification business, and will concentrate on advisory services and though leadership going forward. This confirms a strong suspicion I'd formed when recently updating a survey of leading Healthcare IT (HIT) certifications for Tom's IT Pro, and shows that despite strong demand and rapid growth in Healthcare IT, not all certifications (or the programs they inhabit, or sponsors who deliver them) are made alike.<br /> </p>Wed, 19 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Learning Explains "Rapid Technology Updates"<p>The introduction of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 not only provides new grist for the certification mill, it also represents a major change in the way MS handles (and will handle) certification updates going forward. Senior Product Manager at MS Learning Erika Cravens offers a fascinating blog post on this subject at Born to Learn, and I dissect and analyze that post here in mine.<br /> </p>Wed, 12 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Pondering Certification's Value and Worth<p>Branding and career expert Dan Schawbel shares a unique and interesting perspective on professional certification in a recent blog post. That post's title &quot;Certification -- Is It Worth It?&quot; gives its perspective away in the second sentence, when the author proclaims&nbsp; that &quot;Over the next 20-30 years, I believe we will see a shift from getting advanced college degrees to getting certifications.&quot; But it all really depends on figuring out the value of credentials vis-a-vis their costs in time, effort, and money to decide if earning one or more of them is advantageous or otherwise.<br /> </p>Wed, 05 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Reports on 2014 IT Outlook<p>The start of the year is a traditional time for all kinds of players to prognosticate about what the new year may bring. CompTIA jumped onto this bandwagon on January 21 with the release of its <i>IT Industry Outlook 2014</i>. Their forecast falls into a sadly familiar vein that I've often characterized in my discussions of the monthly employment figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in recent years as &quot;slow growth mode.&quot; The short version of their forecast is &quot;We're growing in IT, but slowly, and a little more slowly in the USA than across the globe writ large.&quot;<br /> </p>Wed, 29 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: A Tale of Two Driving Licenses<p>Once upon a time, a European consortium sponsored a basic computer literacy credential called the International Computer Driving License, or ICDL. I'm not sure if it was a matter of uptake outside Europe, or if it's because various European -- especially British (these credentials are the brainchildren of the British Computer Society, or BCS, a veritable fountain of standards and guidelines for computing across the Commonwealth) -- interests have decided to invest in ECDL as part of local competency and capability guidelines and requirements. Whatever the case may be, you'll now find both ICDL and ECDL tracks available around the world and in Europe, respectively. If you dig around right here at PITC, in fact, you'll even find an <i><b>ICDL Exam Cram </b></i>to read, though it's probably at least a little out-of-date by now (it published in 2004).<br /> </p>Wed, 22 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Excellent Job Search Info and Advice<p>In preparing myself to write this blog, I turn regularly to numerous resources for inspiration, information, and the topics that make the grist for this particular mill. I've noticed lately that I'm turning to one particular source pretty regularly that is not just a wellspring of good information, but also home to lots of useful job search, interview preparation, and coaching stories and advice for all ages.<br /> </p>Wed, 15 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: Job Search Tends for 2014<p>There's a fascinating story in today's digital edition of Parade magazine (and here I was, thinking it only came as a supplement to my Sunday paper). It's entitled &quot;5 Job Search Trends to Watch for in 2014,&quot; and it comes from regular contributor Heather R. Huhman. The information is good (and interesting) enough that I'll simply recap and comment on the story in this blog post.<br /> </p>Wed, 08 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT :: A Trove of VMware Exam Profiles Right Here at PITC<p>In cruising over (PITC) this morning, I couldn't help but notice a grand collection of VMware exam profiles available to readers, with five recent entries posted over the past 10 months. Almost anybody considering a VMware exam is likely to find this material useful, as the exam profiles provide an overview of the technical content and level of difficulty of the exams they cover.<br /> </p>Mon, 30 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Look for some great holiday discounts at PITC!<p>Right now, savvy cert prep materials buyers can take advantage of 40-50% discounts on selected PITC books and ebooks and digital cert prep materials, with up to 70% off on a variety of video training materials on Cisco and CompTIA topics. If you're in the market for cert prep, or Christmas shopping for somebody else in that market, these deals are too good to pass up.<br /> </p>Wed, 18 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Coding Is Back At The Top of the IT Job Heap<p>According to a recent (December 6, 2013) item on the job search website -- a natural purveyor of job market information, trends, and news, as you might well image -- software development is currently the skill in highest demand for technology jobs in the USofA. According to the site, more than 230,000 jobs have been posted there in the past three months. This represents a jump of 3 percent for the same sector from a year ago, and a 120 percent jump from 2009, when the job market was at its most recent lowest ebb.<br /> </p>Wed, 11 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Veeam Launches Certified Engineer Program<p>On November 19, Veeam Software announced new technical training and certification programs. Aimed at both reseller partners and end-users, these new certs will launch in North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in January 2014. The new credential will be called the Veeam Certified Engineer (VCME), and it seeks to identify individuals who possess the expertise needed to configure and implement Veeam's backup, replication, and virtualization management solutions for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V. <br /> </p>Wed, 04 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Get Ready for Freaky Black Friday Cert Purchase Madness<p>Sure, retail's been a bastion of over-the-top merchandising and low, low, LOW sales prices on the day after Thanksgiving since the 1990s. According to hard-boiled studies of retail sales, Black Friday didn't actually attain its much-vaunted status as &quot;the busiest shopping day of the year&quot; until 2003, a position it has occupied every year since then except for 2004, when it came in at number two behind the Saturday before Xmas. I hope you're now wondering &quot;What does this have to do with IT certification?&quot; Here's the thing: Black Friday has now found a niche in the IT training and cert prep materials marketplace too.<br /> </p>Wed, 27 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: SDN Certs: Who and When?<p>Although lots of companies are talking about SDN -- including big networking hardware companies like Cisco and Juniper, along with others that include Brocade, HP, and Enterasys -- and their talk often turns to IT certifications built around that topic, so far there haven't been any announcements of specific credentials with SDN in their names or on their top topics list. What gives?<br /> </p>Wed, 20 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: ISACA Surveys "Risks and Rewards of the Internet of Things"<p>These days, people are pretty well networked, and a fair percentage -- around a third, by most estimates -- of the world's population has found its way onto the Internet. Apparently, the next big frontier in this dimension is the &quot;Internet of Things&quot; (or &quot;Internet of Everything&quot; as Cisco likes to call it), abbreviated as IoT or IoE, depending on who's talking. These are the billions of devices in our worlds, for everything from thermostats, alarms, and household sensors, to automobiles, houses, and other mega-platforms with which we interact daily. ISACA (the organization formerly known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association) has done some recent research in this area, and has just published a report entitled &quot;Risks and Rewards of the Internet of Things.&quot;<br /> </p>Wed, 13 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: IoT or IoE: Worth Exploring, Either Way<p>Among the biggest of buzzwords in IT and networking nowadays, IoT -- which expands to &quot;the Internet of things&quot; -- is right at the top. In fact, Cisco's locution for this concept is IoE, which they decode to mean &quot;the Internet of Everything,&quot; probably captures the wild, land-rush feelings that many technologists (and technology vendors) associate with this concept and its oncoming onslaught of development, acquisition, and deployment.<br /> </p>Wed, 06 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: New Citrix Certs Are on the Way<p>On a quick reconnaissance visit to the Citrix certification site yesterday, I came across mention of several new up-and-coming credentials there. At the same time, I couldn't help but notice a whole new look and feel across the board for the entire certification program.<br /> </p>Wed, 23 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: 40% off on CCNA Simulators & Video Training<p>For a limited time, Pearson and Cisco Press are offering a 40% discount on CCENT and CCNA Routing and Switching Simulators and Video training materials, with no coupon required. This offer covers a whole slew of brand-new products, and is worth checking into for anybody on the road to CCENT/CCNA certification.<br /> </p>Wed, 16 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Added Impetus for Windows Server 2012 MCSE last week, Microsoft launched a &quot;buy 2, get 1 free&quot; exam offer that actually translates into earning a Windows Server 2012 related MCSE for $300, for those lucky enough to qualify for this offer. It's a really powerful inducement for those who already hold certain MS cert credentials to upgrade to the latest and greatest Windows Server platform.<br />Wed, 09 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Amazing Book Deal Pays Interesting Potential Dividend<p>Pearson IT Certification's &quot;eBook Deal of the Week&quot; packs an unusual wallop this week. You can get 50% off the normal price of William (Chuck) Easttom's <i><b>Computer Security Fundamentals</b></i> to be sure, but it will also help you prep for Prometric's Cyber Security Fundamentals exam as well, and could help you get an important leg up in the information security game.<br /> </p>Wed, 02 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Shares Win8.1 & Server 2012 R2 Cert Prep Update Info<p>On Monday, September 23, Microsoft's <i>Born to Learn</i> blog featured a very interesting post from MS Press publisher Anne Hamilton, by way of Liberty Munson. The post comes in response to the question: &quot;When and how will books be updated to reflect the changes that are coming?&quot; in the wake of the October 16 general availability (GA) release dates for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. That post makes for some fascinating reading, too.<br /> </p>Wed, 25 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: VMware's New Associate Certs Offering Interesting, Free Learning Opportunity<p>At the end of August, VMware added an associate level to its IT certification program. This puts a layer at the bottom of the pyramid, where the surface area is greatest and where the learning curve for skills and knowledge is at its most gentle. But what makes these new certs so very worth checking out is that they include a FREE self-paced eLearning course for each such credential, which means you can bring yourself up to speed at no cost until (or if) you're ready to start taking exams.<br /> </p>Wed, 18 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Take the PITC Survey, Get a 50% Discount Coupon or ...<p>At the moment, is running a survey for interested participants. Those who fill out a survey not only get a discount coupon from PITC good for half-off on a future purchase from PITC online, but will also be entered in a drawing for a free 4-book/ebook Library and a $50.00 Visa gift card. At a minimum, you'll get a coupon and who knows ... you may actually be lucky enough to win something!<br /> </p>Wed, 11 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Write the Best Possible Resume<p>In reading over a number of articles about resume-writing lately, I've been struck by how many of them focus on errors, mistakes, and things to avoid. To counter this trend towards negativism, I put on my thinking cap to recast some basic and very helpful advice for resume writers in purely positive terms. Hopefully, this will make it easier for those IT professionals casting about for resume tips to do the right things!<br /> </p>Wed, 04 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Failure to disclose Windows 8.1 RTM causes interesting hardships<p>Ask anybody who's ever written a certification or an OS book what &quot;day and date&quot; means, and you will quickly get an intense earful about the difficulties that attach to preparing materials for print or other forms of content delivery to coincide precisely with a specific, planned (and often publicly announced) release date. That's one thing that makes it so very, very interesting that Microsoft is declining to share its so-called &quot;RTM&quot; (release to manufacturing) release with developers and other industry insiders who are still expected to support the upcoming release anyway.<br /> </p>Wed, 28 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: New Cisco Certs Reflect Changing Face and Role for Business IT<p>Today, Cisco Systems launched a new set of training and certifications under the general heading of &quot;Business Transformation.&quot; The company's goal is to help train Cisco's own sales force and that of Cisco partners to provide input, insight, and information to engage with customers in a brave new world where business focus on IT results and ROI means that sales professionals must move from &quot;selling hardware to selling solutions that solve business issues.&quot; In light of Cisco's recent decision to lay off 5% of its workforce (4,000 employees), it's interesting to speculate about what this new program and direction tells us about the networking industry (and Cisco) in particular, and IT in general?<br /> </p>Wed, 21 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Get Ready Today For What Tomorrow May Bring<p>I've been reading and enjoying a terrific career advice and development newsletter lately. It's from Mark Cenedella, CEO and Founder of, a career development and job search website of some distinction and renown. It's always heart-warming when a CEO also happens to be not just a serious subject matter expert, but a genuine font of wisdom and insight. Maybe they do pay some CEOs too much nowadays; in Mr. Cenedella's case, he's clearly worth whatever he's pulling down!<br /> </p>Wed, 14 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Dig Into Software Defined Networking (SDN)<p>There's a quiet revolution in networking underway. It's all about software defined networking, usually abbreviated SDN, which abstracts the networking hardware in an infrastructure and separates the so-called &quot;control plane&quot; (the part of networking that decides where data must flow, and at what priority or service levels) from the &quot;data plane&quot; (data forwarding instructions on a per-packet basis). While this may not sound like much of an insight, or even slightly revolutionary, it's reworking the way people understand how networks behave and operate.<br /> </p>Wed, 07 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Picks Partner(s) for Digital Credentials<p>A couple of weeks ago I posted here about how the Professional Examination Service was staking out a spot in digital credentialing, and also backing the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure. What was missing at the time was a hook-up with a major certification sponsor. Yesterday, CompTIA announced partnerships for digital credentialing for its certifications with two organizations, neither of which is the Professional Examination Service. Looks like this space is about to go into &quot;free-for-all&quot; mode!<br /> </p>Wed, 24 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: ISC-Squared and Booz-Allen Team Up for USA Cyber Warrier Scholarship Program<p>For just under the next month, ISC-squared is accepting applications for funding support for four different ISC<sup>2</sup> certifications -- namely: SSCP, CISSP, CAP, and CSSLP. The Associate of CISSP (pass the exam before earning enough education/experience credits to qualify for the CISSP) is also covered. Support available includes funding for training, textbooks, certification and placement of qualified returning veterans into the civilian workforce.<br /> </p>Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Could a Digital Credentials Clearinghouse Be in the Offing?<p>The Professional Examination Service is a company that's in the business of issuing and maintaining strong, secure digital credentials for degree holders and certified professionals of all kinds. On July 9, 2013, the company announced its ProExam Vault for Digital Credentials, a web-based environment designed to simplify the creation and management of secure digital credentials. It's designed to make it easy for credential issuers to provide digital badges for credential holders, and to let credentialed individuals store, share, and combine credentials.<br /> </p>Wed, 10 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: MeasureUp Named Official VMWare Practice Test Provider member of the Pearson family of companies has been named as the &quot;official practice test provider&quot; for VMware certification exams. The company in question is MeasureUp, which is part of Certiport, itself a part of Pearson VUE. This is both big and good news, because VMware certification has long been an underserved niche for quality, reliable practice tests.<br />Wed, 03 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Updates Coming to Windows 8, Server 2012, and System Center 2012 Exams<p>A recent <i>Born to Learn</i>&nbsp;blog posting confirms that changes are on the way for exams that touch on Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Systems Center 2012. With update releases in the works for those products/platforms, this comes as no surprise. But it is nice that MS is sharing some details in advance.</p>Wed, 26 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Mobility Certs Nearing Completion<p>For the past year, and a bit more, CompTIA has been busy working on two new mobility oriented certifications. That effort is about to bear fruit: the CompTIA Mobility+ and CompTIA Mobile App Security+ credentials should become available before the end of 2013.</p>Wed, 19 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: New Certs Abounding<p>Having just researched what's new on the certification scene for 2013, I've come away with a surprising number of new credentials and entirely new programs...around a couple dozen, to be more precise.</p>Wed, 19 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Free E-Book "IT Certification Success"<p>In 1999, two years after launching my still-successful <strong><em>Exam Cram</em></strong> book series, I co-created a general book to help IT and other professionals pursue and achieve certification. The name of that book was <strong><em>IT Certification Success</em></strong> and it went through five editions between that year and 2003 when the final print edition was finished.</p>Wed, 05 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: VCDX Panel Defense Prep Book Now Available<p>These days, it seems like everything related to virtualization is white-hot, including not just a growing number of related IT certifications, but anything and everything in VMware's growing certification program. Until last week, though, not much had been published on the VMware pinnacle certification, the VMware Certified Design Expert (aka VCDX) credential. No longer: VMware Press has now released&nbsp;<em>VCDX Boot Camp: Preparing for the VCDX Panel Defense</em>&nbsp;(as of May 19, 2013).</p>Thu, 23 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: MCSA: Windows 8 Titles in the Offing<p>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.</p>Wed, 15 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft, CompTIA Also Part of Joint Task Force<p>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&nbsp;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.</p>Wed, 08 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Part of Joint Task Force with Feds to Smooth Transition for Military Back to Civilian (IT) Work<p>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.</p>Wed, 01 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Cert-related Textbooks Ideal for Self-Study, Too<p>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.</p>Wed, 24 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: New ICND1v2 (CCNA) Exam Ups the IPv6 Ante<p>Although IPv6 has been &quot;out there&quot; 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&nbsp;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?</p>Thu, 18 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Prometric Offers Free Cyber Security Essentials Practice Test<p>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.</p>Tue, 09 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Gearing Up For New/Updated Certs<p>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 &quot;day and date books&quot; -- 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.</p>Thu, 04 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Revamps the Whole CCNA Cert Family<p>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.</p>Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: More Big News from the Big Data Front<p>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.<br /> </p>Wed, 20 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Big Data and Data Analytics: Topics Ripe for Certification<p>As the cloud has taken over the computing world, and zottabytes of storage no longer evoke a &quot;Huh?&quot; 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)</p>Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner Climbs Up Infosec Cert Food Chain<p>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 &quot;must-have&quot; credentials for individuals to hold such positions.</p>Wed, 06 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: The Other Career Option: Freelancing<p>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 <em>The Atlantic</em> magazine entitled &quot;The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time&quot; 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.</p>Wed, 27 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Great Networking Book for Hands-on Learning<p>It's always nice to get vindication from fellow professionals that your own approach to solving a problem, or teaching a topic, is sound and feasible. In this case, I'm talking about an approach to exploring, learning, and interacting with networks that's shared between my college textbook &quot;Guide to TCP/IP&quot; (now in its fourth edition) and the Pearson Education title &quot;Practical Guide to Advanced Networking&quot; (currently in its third).</p>Mon, 25 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Don't Forget About IT Cert Success<p>In the past couple of months, I've started blogging for a couple of training companies -- Upper Training and TrainSignal, to be specific -- and have been writing the occasional guest blog for Anne Martinez at as well. Add to that my weekly blogs here, and three times a week on cert topics for IT Career JumpStart over at TechTarget, and that's a whole lotta blogging. And because of that, I've returned repeatedly to a free, book-length resource I created for this very own site about two years ago now.</p>Wed, 13 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Update in the works for our Cert Rankings<p>Starting late in 2010, Mary Kyle and I repackaged that classic book <strong><em>IT Certification Success</em></strong>, originally published in 1999, with editions about every two years after that until 2005, as a series of articles right here on the website. Essentially that means site visitors have access to a free, 200-page e-book on IT certification that we put together. It's got some great information, and includes a mix of topical, timely coverage and general IT cert information and advice.</p>Wed, 06 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Hands-on with Windows 8 Store Apps<p>The Microsoft Dev Center currently offers a set of free hands-on labs to help candidates prepare for MCSD: Windows Store Apps. In particular, these materials will be helpful for exams 70-481 and 70-482.</p>Wed, 30 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: For Modern MS Cert Success, Learn PowerShell!<p>In reading over Windows guru Brien Posey's recent article &quot;Preparing for the Next Wave of Microsoft Certification Exams,&quot; I was reminded of how much administrative capability Microsoft has built into PowerShell. This is the company's top-of-the-lne command language, using which it has also created thousands of so-called &quot;cmdlets&quot; for administrators to use with Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, and platforms such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync Server, and so forth.</p>Wed, 23 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Attains ANSI Accreditation for CCNA, CCNP certs<p>This morning, Cisco Systems announced that several of its most popular IT certifications had achieved ANSI accreditation. This is a complex, time-consuming, and demanding process, but enables accredited certs to count toward meeting specific US state and federal government requirements for IT certification.</p>Wed, 16 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Whoa! Killer Deals on eBook/Practice Test Bundles<p>In general, when shopping for cert prep materials, it's a good idea to shop around for such deals as may be available. One good way to save money on such stuff, in fact, is to look for bundles related to specific certification credentials, particularly for certs that require candidates to take and pass more than one exam to earn them.</p>Wed, 09 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Look no further than Cisco Press for the best in Cisco Cert Prep<p>Yesterday, I researched a pictorial story for Tom's IT Pro on the very best cert prep resources online for Cisco credentials. Although I can't say that what Cisco Press has to offer to help Cisco candidates prepare for their exams is the absolute end-all and be-all for that process, I can say it comes pretty darn close. As I researched what Cisco Press has to offer, I came away both amazed and impressed with their depth and breadth of coverage.</p>Thu, 03 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Takes Its MTA Cert Public<p>The Microsoft Technology Associate, or MTA, credential has been around since July 2010, but until a few weeks ago, was only available to cert candidate who participate in some Microsoft IT Academy program -- mostly in high schools and colleges. Now MTA exams and credentials are available to any and all interested parties, both inside and outside academia.</p>Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Learning Offers Great WinServCert Infographic<p>Every now and then, a vendor certification program comes up with a visual aid that helps to explain its offerings and bats one out of the park. Hats off to MS Learning, which just posted a terrific infographic entitled &quot;Windows Server Certification &amp; Career Paths&quot; to its <em>Born to Learn</em> blog.</p>Wed, 12 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Check Out Windows 8 in Depth<p>As of late October, Windows 8 has been commercially released and generally available. The books have started hitting bookstore shelves in stores and online as well. Here's a quick snapshot of one of my favorites: <strong><em>Windows 8 in Depth</em></strong>, which will keep tech-heads happy until the full crop of 70-687 and 70-688 books become available.</p>Wed, 05 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Windows 8 Titles Inching to the Market<p>On October 17, 2012, I wrote a blog post here entitled &quot;Here come the Windows 8 MS certs!&quot; At that time I indicated that only a smattering of offerings for the 70-687 and 70-688 exams were on the radar. Today, I went back and looked again and found some additional signs of activity.</p>Wed, 28 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Fills Out Data Center Cert Offerings<p>In March, 2012, Cisco announced its CCIE Data Center credential, recognizing the increasing importance of data centers in delivering virtualized, cloud-based services, platforms, and applications. On November 20, 2012, the company completed its roster of data center certs by announcing CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center credentials as well.</p>Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Cert Exam Prep Aids Galore<p>I saw a tweet earlier this week on that indicated Cisco had finished its six-part series entitled &quot;Cisco Exam Preparation -- Studying for Results.&quot; As I pondered the valuable information this series offers to those chasing Cisco certification (though it is useful for others as well), I started thinking about other such resources, too.</p>Wed, 14 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: IT Cert Study Groups: Get Support from PearsonITCertification.com<p>One of the best ways to prepare for a certification exam is to gather with a group of like-minded IT professionals and work as a group to get ready for your upcoming slot at a testing center near you. To help facilitate such efforts, offers special support for user groups as part of its community outreach efforts.</p>Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Pearson Offers Extensive QoD Line-up!<p>Ha! What is a QoD, you ask? It's an abbreviation for &quot;Question of the Day,&quot;&nbsp;a series of newsletters that Pearson makes available to readers for free to help them bone up for a veritable plethora of IT certification exams. </p>Wed, 24 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Here come the Windows 8 MS certs!<p>Having recently been hired to tech edit two different Windows 8 cert exam titles, I'm in a better position than most to know that books and study aids for the new crop of MCSA and MCSE exams will be arriving fairly soon online and in bookstores. The shape of the Windows 8 credentials is also starting to clarify further as well.</p>Wed, 17 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Interview with Bill Ferguson, author of VCP5 Cert Guide<p> My friend Anne Martinez runs a great website called, which reports on certification-related news and events, provides a monthly newsletter that tracks the certification industry, and is home to the best, most complete, and up-to-date database of IT certifications that I know of. During the week of September 25, 2012, she posted a very interesting interview with Bill Ferguson, a long-time VMware instructor and the author of the recently published (August 2012) Pearson/VMware Press book: <i>The Official VCP5 Certification Guide.</i> It&rsquo;s definitely worth a visit, and a read, particularly for those considering a run at the popular and highly regarded VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 exam.</p>Fri, 12 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Social Media: Valid Certs or Snake Oil?<p> You don&rsquo;t have to look very hard or very long to find a raft of certification programs and credentials on social media. A quick Google search on &ldquo;social media certification&rdquo; turns up numerous training and consulting companies that offer credentials to students, and a sizable number of academic institutions that offer certificate programs in this subject matter as well. But what separates a serious, well-crafted certification program from a blatant cash grab? I&rsquo;m glad you asked! I&rsquo;ll explore what makes certification both real and serious, and explain how some programs succeed while others fail in measuring up to these criteria.</p>Thu, 11 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA A+ 800-level exams for 2012 now live<p>As of October 9, 2012 the latest and greatest versions of the CompTIA A+ exams are now live. Numbered 220-801 and 220-802, these new exams catch PC technology up much closer to the present day, and provide a more representative mix of what IT professionals are likely to encounter in the modern workplace.</p>Wed, 10 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: In IT and Life, Attitude Counts ... a Lot!<p>I write several blogs on IT career development -- including this one -- and as a result, I end up fielding a decent volume of e-mail from people looking for information and advice on how to boost their careers, find better jobs (or a first job), and learn the skills and knowledge they need to improve their appeal to current and prospective employers.</p>Wed, 19 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: MCSA/E/D: Waiting for the Aftermarket<p>Not counting elements based on Windows Server 2008, Microsoft exams related to their newly-reissued MCSA, MCSE, and MCSD certifications have been available since June. I'm starting to field reader comments and inquiries along the lines of &quot;When will training kits for these certs become available?&quot; Here, &quot;training kit&quot; means a collection of study guides and/or Exam Crams for the individual topics in these mostly three-to-five exam credentials.</p>Wed, 12 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Metro Ethernet Forum Professional Cert Launches<p>Fujitsu has announced the release of a study guide for an exam based on Carrier Ethernet and related Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) services and related technologies. This study guide works on the Apple iPad, and is designed to help candidates prepare for the Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (MEF-CECP) exam.</p>Wed, 05 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: SonicWALL (Dell) Poses Interesting UTM Possibilities<p>I had lunch today with an old friend who, like many people here in Round Rock, Texas, makes his living working with Dell. He's currently attached to a high-visibility group in the company's SonicWALL division, and splits his time between teaching SonicWALL certification classes and building &quot;proof of concept&quot; customer models, where customers come to see their data running on mock-up networks built around Dell servers, switches, and SonicWALL network infrastructure components.</p>Wed, 29 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: IT Entrepreneurs Must Balance Business and Technology Focuses<p>I just got an email from an aspiring young entrepreneur in South Africa who approached me for some advice on how to grow his company. I think he was looking for a technology solution or suggestion, but I ended up suggesting some ways to find more of that all-important lubricant for business growth instead -- namely: hard, cold CASH!!!</p>Thu, 23 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Certification and Certificate Programs are NOT the same<p>Last week, the managing editor at one of the Websites that I write for sent me a CompTIA press release about an executive certificate program, and asked me to opine on the worth and utility of its &quot;credentials.&quot; I was forced to respond that certificate and certification programs are not the same, and then, of course, to explain why. Here's the gist of my explanation, thinking that readers here may find this discussion interesting.</p>Wed, 08 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Great Cert Prep Book Promotion<p>Right now, you can save 35% off the cover price for any two certification preparation titles from various Pearson imprints. Because this includes books from Cisco Press, the Pearson <strong><em>Cert Guide</em></strong> series, <strong><em>Exam Cram</em></strong> and <strong><em>Exam Prep </em></strong>titles, and popular <strong><em>cert flashcards online </em></strong>items, this is a killer deal.</p>Thu, 02 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA and Congress Ponder Why IT Fails to Attract Younger Workers<p>I came across an interesting and mildly disturbing press release from CompTIA this morning. It recounts a joint briefing from CompTIA and the Congressional Caucus on Small Business IT held in DC earlier this month. The upshot is that although our younger generations are tech-savvy, that understanding doesn't necessarily lead to interest in or pursuit of work in IT.</p>Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Never Underestimate the Value of Community<p>I'm a proud and sometimes befuddled owner of an HP laptop affectionately known as &quot;The Dragon.&quot; That's the nickname&nbsp;for the enormous HDX92xx series, introduced in 2007 and discontinued in 2009 . This Dragon has taught me many things, but none as valuable as the impact and utility of a strong and committed community.</p>Mon, 23 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Paying for More Expensive Certifications<p>These days, it's possible to spend over $2,000 to earn various certifications, and sometimes that number can climb even higher. Consider, for example, that the CCIE lab exam costs $1,500, and often involves travel and lodging expenses (there are only a half-dozen CCIE lab exam sites around the world). Then factor in the cost of the written exam at $350 and plan another $500 for books and practice tests, and you're already over $2K. Most people don't pass the lab exam on their first try, and thus, expenses could easily double before the ordeal is overcome and the CCIE earned.</p>Mon, 09 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Goes Exclusively VUE After July 8<p>Since 2003, CompTIA exam candidates have been able to take their exams at either Prometric or VUE exam centers. Starting next Monday, July 9, CompTIA exams will only be available at Pearson VUE testing centers. </p>Thu, 05 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: More on SOACP Certifications<p>I noticed a story right here on the PITC site recently, that begins as follows &quot;Pearson IT Certification has partnered with to provide IT Professionals with helpful information, tips, and guidance for preparing for SOA Certified Professional (SOACP) exams.&quot; Recognizing that it was unusual for Pearson to partner with a training company's credentials, I realized there had to be more to this new relationship than meets the eye. Some quick investigation showed me that this was the case.</p>Thu, 28 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Get Ready for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012<p>Last week Microsoft opened public registration for its exams related to the MCSE: Private Cloud credential. With Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 just around the corner -- the smart money says they'll be done before Halloween in October -- it's just a matter of time before an onslaught of new courses, exams, books, and practice tests hit the streets. Here's a quick list of suggestions for what to do to get ready in the meantime.</p>Thu, 21 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Announces New MCSE Credentials for Windows Server 2012<p>All last week in Orlando, FL, the Microsoft technical world gathered at their annual learning and technology shindig known as Tech-Ed. Don Field, Senior Director of Microsoft Certification Programs blogged from the show to present the broad outlines of the company's two new MCSE credentials for the upcoming new server version, officially known as &quot;Windows Server 2012.&quot;</p>Wed, 13 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Change Is the Only Sure Constant for IT Skills and Knowledge<p>As the source for one of the biggest (if not the biggest) IT certification programs around, I follow the activities and output from Microsoft Learning both closely and carefully. This past weekend, I ran across a blog posting from an old friend and former Novell colleague, Lutz Ziob, the General Manager of Microsoft Learning. It recounts his musings in the wake of his attendance at the Third UNESCO International Congress on Technology and Vocational Education, held in Shanghai in mid-May. He makes the point that &quot;learning how to learn&quot; is essential for those who work with technology, not only because it changes constantly, but because so many new things come along that entire industries (and the jobs they provide) often appear out of thin air while we're not looking.</p>Wed, 30 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Press Sweepstakes for Cisco Live! 2013 on until June 30<p>Those crazy marketing mavens at Cisco Press (a Pearson Education imprint that specializes in technical education and certification coverage for that well-known networking vendor) have come up with a new promotion. This time, it's for a subsidized trip to Cisco Live! in the USA next year (2013), to be held in Orlando, FL, from June 24-27.</p>Wed, 23 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: 60 Days to MCSE -- For Real!!<p>Every now and then, I'll see a blog post or tweet handle that provokes me into a genuine double-take, and occasionally even a fit of head-scratching. When I saw the tag line &quot;60 Days to MCSE&quot; recently on Microsoft's <em>Born to Learn</em> blog recently, it caused that very reaction. But when I started digging into the details, I realized that it wasn't a joke, and for a certain class of already-MS-certified IT professionals could be very much for real.</p>Wed, 16 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Win free cert exams and study materials from this site!<p>Pearson Publishing not only owns such well-known imprints as <em>Exam Cram</em>, <em>Cisco Press</em>, <em>VMware Press</em>, and the <em>Cert Guide </em>series, it also owns Pearson VUE: an operator of global testing centers for many leading IT certification progams. Thus, it should comes as no surprise at all that we're running a contest -- a sweepstakes actually --wherein 3 lucky first-place winners will collect an exam voucher for the Cisco, CompTIA, or Microsoft exam of their choosing (from VUE's exam list, that is--CCIE lab exams are NOT INCLUDED in this offer) along with any three Pearson books they might wish to choose. In addition, 7 somewhat less lucky but still chance-gifted second place winners can pick any three Pearson e-books they might like.</p>Wed, 09 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Remember: Employers Want the "Whole Package!"<p>In my capacity as a &quot;IT certification and career guy&quot; I field questions from aspiring and active IT professionals all the time about career options, choices, and development plans. If there's one type of question I see more than any other, it has to be the &quot;which is better: x or y?&quot; variety, where you can substitute any or all of college degree, various certifications, and on the job experience for the various symbols in my generic question format.</p>Wed, 02 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: MS Certs as We Know Them Today Are Heading for Major Shake-Up<p>If you read my blogs regularly, you already know that Microsoft has reinvented and reimagined the old MCSE, MSCA, and even MCSD credentials. Recent news that Windows 8 Server is on the same release schedule as the desktop version, coupled with these new credentials, argues strongly that the MS Cert World is about to go through a major set of changes.</p>Wed, 25 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Fallout from the Return of MSCA and MCSE: What happens to MCTS and MCITP? What else?<p>Last week I blogged to announce the re-introduction of new and reinvented MCSA, MCSE, and MCSD credentials from Microsoft. This week it's shaping up that the MCTS and MCITP credentials will be fading into obscurity as their product bases get retired. There are some upgrade paths and potentials to consider, and holders of the MCTS and MCITP should begin planning a new cert campaign. Read on to understand what's in your future if you hold a current Microsoft certification</p>Wed, 18 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Certification: Return of the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA!!!<p>Today, Microsoft announced a new line of so-called &quot;cloud-built certifications&quot; to complement its standard offerings (MCTS, MCITP, and MCM). These credentials include the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), and the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). Those familiar with the Microsoft certification program and its credentials will notice that those old familiar, stalwart, and immmensely popular acronyms -- most notably MCSE and MCSA, but also MCSD -- have returned to service, probably hoping to cash in on the cachet of their famous forebearers from the Windows NT, 2000, and 2003 eras.</p>Wed, 11 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco, EMC, and VMware team up for cloud and data center training and cert program<p>Interesting email hit my inbox earlier this week, in the wake of a joint announcement involving Cisco and EMC that also draws on courseware from VMware. Seems that these outfits are pooling training and exams to create multi-vendor (if not also multi-disciplinary) &quot;combo training&quot; in the areas of cloud architecture, virtualization, data center networking, and data science. Holy Moly!</p>Wed, 04 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Pure Network+ Gold, Including a Trove of TCP/IP Goodies from Sean Wilkins<p>Trolling the site this week for blog fodder, I stumbled&nbsp;a peachy&nbsp;collection of Network+ articles free for the reading. There are 52 such articles, to be precise, including contributions from Sean Wilkins, Kevin Wallace, Jeff Parker, Keith Barker, Mike Harwood, Diane Barrett, Kirk Hausman, Martin Weiss, and even yours truly. Together they do a good job of covering many important topics for the Network+ exam.</p>Wed, 28 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: VMware Updates VCP5 training and cert requirements<p>As of March 1, 2012, a new set of requirements for VCP5 certification is in effect. The short version is: no more grace period for VCP4s seeking to update to VCP5, in terms of taking the $1,495 (or thereabouts, YMMV) VMware vSphere What's New [V5.0] class. The longer version is summarized below, with a link to more details elsewhere.</p>Wed, 21 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Wendell Odom profiles CCNA exams ICND1 and ICND2<p>In case the name in the title of this blog rings no bells with you, let me observe that Mr. Odom not only holds CCIE number 1624 (they started at number 1024 -- 10000000000 in binary -- and&nbsp;they're granting new ones in the 30,000s these days) but is also the author of numerous Cisco Press books on Cisco certifications, including the key tomes in the boxed CCNA Cert Library set.</p>Wed, 14 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Great New 70-642 Cert Guide Is Out!<p>Over the past 10 years, it's been my great pleasure to work with IT certification author and Windows expert Don Poulton on a number of projects. Late last year, I helped with some last minute review of test question banks for a book of his that just came off press last month.</p>Wed, 07 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Starting Over With Windows 8...and Certification, Too!<p>The day before yesterday (February 29, 2012) Microsoft released its so-called &quot;customer preview&quot; for Windows 8 at about 9 AM central time (-06:00 UCT). Because I also blog and write about Windows -- I'll be doing a Windows 8 book for Pearson with Brian Knittel, in fact -- I was trolling the wires that morning, ready to pounce as soon as info became available. Two days later, I now understand that what I know about Windows needs a LOT of learning and supplementing. Get ready for some big changes, folks!</p>Fri, 02 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Interesting InfoSec Consortium Forms to Boost Security Certifications<p>An interesting new industry group has coalesced around the subject matters of Information Security and IT certification. It's called the Cybersecurity Credentials Collective (aka C3) and it represents &quot;...&nbsp;a new effort to promote the benefits of certifications in the skills development of information security professionals around the world,&quot; in the words of the CompTIA press release that announced the group's formation on February 29, 2012.</p>Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: The Enduring and Positive Value of Certification<p>I've been writing and working in the &quot;certification patch&quot; since 1996, when I started teaching Windows NT 4.0 Server classes for what was then the American Research Group (aka ARG, now part of the Global Knowledge training colossus). In that time, I've been constantly cheered and reminded of the value of certification by interacting with IT professionals who've shared their stories of persistence and success with me. </p>Wed, 22 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Ranking Certifications Gets Its 2012 Update<p>As part of the collection of articles right here on this very site that are collectively known as Ed Tittel's IT Certification success, there's a two-part item entitled &quot;Ranking Certifications,&quot; where Part 1 explains the methods used to do the ranking, and Part 2 uses those methods to rate and rank around 100 of the leading IT certifications currently available in today's marketplace. Those two items have just received an annual update, and thus, may be worth checking out again (or for the first time, if you haven't ready them already).</p>Wed, 22 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Branches Up (or Out?)<p>Once upon a time, the Computer Trade Industries Association aka CompTIA, focused more or less exclusively on entry-level and specialist certifications. But recently, the organization has begun to move up the food chain, and out into more technical areas than ever before.</p>Wed, 15 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Another vendor-neutral cloud certificate manifests in my inbox<p>I've recently blogged twice here (January, 2012) about cloud-related IT certifications, and an article of mine on leading cloud certifications has also appeared over on This has forced several interesting parties out of the woodwork, and led them straight to my inbox. On Monday, I heard from Ben Kepes the &quot;Curator of CloudU&quot; (which means &quot;Cloud University&quot;) at cloud-based hosting provider</p>Wed, 08 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Happy 20th Anniversary to the Microsoft Certification Program!<p>Just yesterday, January 31, 2012, Microsoft announced that its certification program turns 20 years old this month. Once the cake has been consumed, and the party hats and streamers cleaned up, it's interesting to reflect on where the program has been, where it is today, and where it's going in the future. In this blog, I'll point at a raft of Microsoft materials surrounding this anniversary and share my own thoughts and observations as well.</p>Wed, 01 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: Boning Up on Something? Build a Better Reading List...<p>There will be times in everybody's working life when they need to learn a new subject, and get up to speed quickly and effectively so they can turn around and do some real work in a new area. I've had to face this situation myself many times in my working career, particularly when researching and learning focused subject matter for a book or an article. </p>Wed, 25 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: More Cloud Stuff, More Cloud Interest<p>Since my last blog posted about a week ago, more cloud stuff has been popping up all over the place. Yesterday (January 17, 2012) Microsoft announced its first real cloud credential--a &quot;private cloud&quot; MCITP, with more to follow later this year. And thanks to a Smart Cloud e-book I'm doing for IBM and <em>...For Dummies</em> press, I'm learning a LOT more about their offerings, too.</p>Wed, 18 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: It's Clouding Up in Cert-Land!<p>I've been researching some of the ins and outs of cloud computing lately, and it's really starting to come on gangbusters. In late November, 2011, CompTIA launched its Cloud Essentials entry-level cert, but if you look around you'll find lots of &quot;cloud action&quot; on all certification fronts.</p>Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: A Year in the Life of the MS Cert Exam Programs<p>On December 29, MS Psychometrician Program Manager for Microsoft Learning Liberty Munson posted her musings on the exam related activities that her organization undertook in 2011. It's an interesting and sometimes jaw-dropping laundry list of stuff, which I reproduce here (along with what I hope is some &quot;pithy commentary&quot;). Enjoy!</p>Wed, 04 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT :: New Series of "Top 5 Certifications" Articles Coming Up!<p>Since September, I've been beavering away for the latest spin off in the Tom's Hardware family of Websites--namely Tom's IT Pro (<a href="" mce_href=""></a>) as their resident &quot;certification guy.&quot; In addition to a raft of other bits of general IT certification information and advice, I'm also engaged in a &quot;Top 5&quot; series of stories that identifies leading certifications in a number of different (and hopefully also, valid and interesting) technology areas or niches within IT. So far, this series includes four elements for system administrators, storage systems, networking, and information security.</p>Wed, 21 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: New Network+ Exam Spurs New Study Guide<p>As of December 1, 2011, there's a new version of the CompTIA Network+ exam available; it's numbered N10-005. As the &quot;005&quot; suffix indicates to those in the know, that makes it the fifth version of this exam to hit the streets since the Network+ first made its debut waaaaay back in 1999. With this new exam out, there's a new crop of books, practice exams, and other supporting materials available.</p>Fri, 16 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Where's CompTIA's Cloud Essentials?<p>They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I just discovered that it also sometimes breeds confusion. I wanted to check up on CompTIA's brand-new COMPTIA Cloud Essentials certification, just released in November, 2011, and found that entry missing from the usual home-page access tool I use on the CompTIA web site. Weird!</p>Wed, 07 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: So Long CCSP! It's all CCNP Security from here on out...<p>When Cisco introduced the new CCNP Security credential almost one year ago (early 2011), I figured the days of the Cisco Certified Security Professional, or CCSP, had to be numbered. And sure enough, Cisco retired the CCSP credential on November 17, 2011 with little fanfare.</p>Tue, 29 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Network World Survey Finds Certs Bring Jobs and Raises<p>Plowing through the postings at Microsoft's <em>Born to Learn</em> blog yesterday I came across a reference to a recent <em>Network World</em> article that recounts survey results on the value of certification. The survey itself was conducted by <em>Network World</em> in tandem with network utility vendor SolarWinds and reported undeniably positive perceptions of the linkage between earning certification and its impact on pay and career among 700 networking professionals.</p>Thu, 17 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Big Populations Take Their Places in Internet Rankings<p>An interesting story popped onto my radar this morning. It deals with how India should be ranked as the third largest Internet market in the world by the end of 2011, if not sooner, behind China (number 1) and the USA (number 2). But there's something even more interesting in these numbers than immediately meets the eye...</p>Thu, 10 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: GoCertify Seeks to "Make IT Certification Better"<p>My good friend, colleague, and fellow IT certification expert Anne Martinez has run a great IT certification site called <a href=""></a> for as long as I can remember. In the past week, she's launched an effort there called &quot;Make Certification Better&quot; that promises to provide useful news, information, and answers to questions from which anybody interested in IT certification can benefit.</p>Wed, 02 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Pearson Launches Premium Edition eBook and Practice Test Series<p>Wow, it's not often I get to plug a really great offering from the very folks who pay me to blog for this site. But today is that day, and there's a very exciting new certification prep bundle hitting the streets right now from Pearson that combines ebook versions of its excellent study guides along with practice tests to help candidates prepare for a variety of exams, starting with Cisco's CCNA (CCENT and ICND2), CCDA, and a variety of CCNP topics.</p>Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Dips an Oar into Mobile Technologies<p>Everybody knows that mobile technologies are exploding all over the place, and use of mobile devices is taking over many aspects of communication--and even computing--in the workplace and on the go. That's why I wasn't too surprised to read a recent (10/17/2011) CompTIA press release about some new mobile technology initiatives that this organization is launching.</p>Wed, 19 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Check out the Building Windows 8 Blog<p>For those interested in Windows 8 information and technology, there's a terrific &quot;horse's mouth&quot; resource available. It's called the <em>Building Windows 8</em> blog and it provides an insider view from the engineering team that's currently working on the upcoming release of Windows 8 next year (rumor has it that it will go public sometime in Q4'2012).</p>Mon, 17 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Adds SharePoint to MCA Topics and Certification<p>On Monday, October 3, 2011, Microsoft not only held its annual SharePoint conference in Anaheim, CA, it also added a new Microsoft Certified Architect credential on this technology platform to its existing collection of such certifications. Thus, SharePoint now takes its place alongside Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, and Windows Server&nbsp;Active Directory&nbsp;as a critical technology for the company and its legions of customers.</p>Thu, 06 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Says "Take Your Exam!"<p>I've been poking around the Cisco Learning Network web pages lately, and finding lots of good stuff there. The Cisco Certifications Community Manager goes by the online handle of Adrie (aka &quot;Cert Gal&quot;), and she has been a very busy bee with over 2,600 points awarded for many, many posts in this arena. My blog for today&nbsp;is about a post updated yesterday (9/27/2011) entitled &quot;Take Your Exam.&quot;</p>Wed, 28 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Recertification: Coming To a Credential Near (and Dear) to You?<p>Last July (2011) Microsoft posted a link to a survey on the subject of recertification in its Born to Learn blog. At the same time, they announced that their Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) cert for Windows Phone Developer would come with a three-year shelf-life, after which re-examination would be required to maintain that credential's currency. Since then, they've also added a re-cert requirement to the Azure Developer MCPD as well on the same three year timeline. All this naturally leads to the question of if and how recertification might propagate out into other MS credentials, such as MTA, MCTS, MCITP, MCM, and even Microsoft Certified Architect. So I asked that very question of Don Field, Microsoft's Senior Director of Certification Programs in the Microsoft Learning division .</p>Thu, 22 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Pre-Launches Storage+ Cert, Free Beta Testing Underway<p>In partnership with the Storage Networking Industry Alliance (aka SNIA), CompTIA has created an entry level Storage+ certification for IT professionals. A beta version of this exam is available free to the first 400 people who sign up, so if you're interested you'll want to act fast. Use the discount code &quot;storsnia&quot; during the Pearson VUE sign-up process, when the payment page appears to see if you still qualify.</p>Fri, 16 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Launches New CCT Certification<p>Cisco has introduced a new entry level certification into its lineup. It's called the CCT, or Cisco Certified Technician. Surprisingly, this cert emphasizes hands-on hardware troubleshooting, diagnosis, and repair skills, and aims to meet the needs of companies who hire field technicians to go to customer sites to investigate and fix networking problems.</p>Wed, 24 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Best Password Tip Ever<p>There is no end to the number of good (and sometimes even free) software tools users can employ to generate strong passwords for their various accounts and logins. But randomly generated passwords are often devilishly hard to remember, probably because they're built to resist dictionary and other brute force cracking attacks. But there is a simple trick that resists cracking and aids recall!</p>Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Ereaders, formats, and ebook readability<p>In plowing though a recent announcement from Microsoft Press about added support for various e-book formats, the relationship between formats supported and readers owned started to loom larger and more important in making e-book buying decisions. Read on to get the scoop on what's what in format-land, and which formats cover the most platforms best.</p>Wed, 10 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: New VCP5 Exam Spurs Special Offer for VCP4 Certified VMware Pros<p>Ever since the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) credential hit the streets in the mid-2000s, it's been an extremely popular and highly sought-after certification. With the introduction of vSphere 5 in July, 2011, there's a new version of the VCP certification to go with it: the VCP5, associated with the VCP510 exam. Though this exam will not be available until August 29th, it's already starting to attract both attention and interest.</p>Wed, 03 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Interested in Red Hat Certs? Check out this great interview...<p>My long time friend and colleague Anne Martinez strikes gold in her recent interview with Damian Tommasino, author of the recent Pearson book <em>Hands-on Guide to the Red Hat Exams: RHCSA and RHCSE Cert Guide. </em>She provides a nice capsule summary of these two very popular Red Hat credentials, and then digs into Tommasino's background, interests, and Red Hat chops. Read this article for the 10,000 foot view!</p>Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: When planning for certification, don't forget to have a life!<p>I've been toiling in and around the &quot;IT Certification patch&quot; as I sometimes like to call it, since the mid- to late 1990s (<strong><em>Exam Cram </em></strong>made its initial appearance in 1997). Over the past 15 years or more,&nbsp;I've had occasion to advise and work with countless IT pros in search of a career boost. If there's one thing I've learned to remind them about as they formulate a career development strategy, it's got to be &quot;don't forget: you have a life!&quot;</p>Wed, 20 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Emmett Dulaney Scores Again with his Visual Guide to Wireless Security Standards<p>Over the past year, veteran certification (and Pearson) author Emmett Dulaney has pushed out a peachy series of what he calls &quot;Visual Guides&quot; to information security. Previous efforts have covered risk management, phishing, and social engineering. His latest visual guide does a fabulous job of depicting and explaining various wireless security standards, including such alphabet soup as WEP, WPA, and WPA2.</p>Fri, 15 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: ITIL Certs Can Be a Real Career Booster for IT Professionals<p>ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, but rather than representing a collection of books on IT, it's really a methodology and set of well-documented best practices for implementing and maintaining IT operations and infrastructures. And it's&nbsp;increasingly popular and widely-used so IT pros with ITIL chops are in growing demand. Learn more about ITIL and related certs in this article.</p>Thu, 07 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: IPv6 Certification Options and Elements<p>June 8, 2011, has come and gone and with it so has &quot;World IPv6 Day.&quot; This was one day on the Internet when vendors of all kinds, shapes and sizes from the Googles and Microsofts to the smallest fry around, offered up their online presences in IPv6 form, led by the Internet Society (ISOC) to demonstrate the feasibility and usability of IPv6 around the world. In a happy surprise, the Internet kept on going that day with nary a hiccup while IPv6 traffic volume enjoyed a predictable spike.</p>Sun, 03 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Live Virtual: The Next Best Thing to Being There (It's FREE, too)<p>Cisco Live will be held in Las Vegas this year from July 10-14. Those who can't attend the show (which costs up to $1895 per person, depending on access to conference and session content) can sign up for free virtual access through the Cisco Live Virtual Web site. It's a great way to gain access to a boatload of current information and training for those with time to spend online while the conference is running.</p>Thu, 23 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: The Post-Interview Thank You: Benefits, Dos, and Don'ts<p>While a post-interview thank-you note may seem like a small courtesy, used properly it can be a powerful, effective tool that gives you a competitive edge and sets you apart from the rest of the candidates during the hiring process. Thank-you notes not only demonstrate that you are polite, well-mannered, and considerate of their time, but also show you understand proper business etiquette. Taking the time to write a thank-you note also demonstrates that you are proactive&mdash;as well as highly motivated&mdash;in actively seeking the position.</p>Thu, 16 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Interesting Issue with Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade<p>For me, working with Windows 7 is always an adventure. No matter how much I've seen, or how many problems I've solved in the past, something new, interesting, and occasionally mystifying or incredibly frustrating (if not all of these things) is always coming up. A recent Anytime Upgrade from Windows 7 Starter to Ultimate reinforced and reaffirmed this realization.</p>Wed, 08 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: CompTIA Ventures Beyond Entry-Level with CASP Credential<p>For the first time ever, CompTIA is venturing beyond entry-level, first-step certifications with its planned introduction of a CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) credential. This cert aims to identify individuals with 10 years of IT admin experience, of which 5 or more years involve hands-on security experience. It should be interesting to see if they can pull this off...</p>Wed, 01 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft To Hold "Exam Cram" Event on June 8, 2011<p>MS wants candidates to pass their certification exams, so they're holding an online one-day event on 6/8/2011 to help them prepare. Registration is required for attendance, but you'll find a boatload of popular topics on the roster for important topics and concepts likely to show up on an exam.</p>Fri, 27 May 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Ready to Test Drive IPv6? Check out "World IPv6 Day!"<p> By guest blogger, James Pyles</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re interested in buying a car, you usually take it for a test drive. Most of the time, you drive a prospective purchase as part of the &quot;buying&quot; process, but some people shop around and even drive cars they&rsquo;re not yet ready to own. If you&rsquo;re attracted to or studying for the CompTIA Network+ or the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, you&rsquo;re probably already interested in networking technologies. These interests should include Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) these days, whether you&rsquo;re actually using IPv6 on your networks or not.</p>Fri, 20 May 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Cisco Blazes Cert-ReadinessTrail with Learning Self-Assessments<p>Thinking about taking any of the more common Cisco cert exams (CCNA in partocular)? Visit the Cisco Learning Center to work your way through these self-assessment tools, with companion study guides. Way cool!</p>Wed, 11 May 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: IT pay goes up with addition of project management certs<p>Foote Partners and study IT compensation from all kinds of angles including how certs impact pay. Read about an interesting article that explores a strong and positive correlation between seniority of project management certifications earned and IT pay.</p>Fri, 06 May 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Sharkfest '11 Offers Opportunities to Learn About Protocol Analysis<p>From June 13-16, 2011, Wireshark University will host its annual convocation on the beautiful campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. If you're a serious networking professional, and want to learn more about Protocol Analysis, this is the event of the year for people like you.</p>Wed, 27 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Ongoing Opportunities in Information Security<p>A recent report from analyst firm Frost &amp; Sullivan and the ISC-squared (an information security professional organization) shows that while&nbsp;many&nbsp;individuals already work in this field, plenty of new opportunities should be forthcoming in the years ahead. The technical focus for information security is changing to keep pace with the online audience, too.</p>Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Musings On Agile Development and Project Management<p>With the recent introduction of an Agile Certification for project managers, the Project Management Institute (PMI, home of the Project Management Professional or PMP cert) has upped interest in and attention to Agile development methods, tools, and rhetoric. Here's where I weigh in on the topic, too.<br /> </p>Wed, 13 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: The Real Value of IT Certification<p>While IT professionals and salary surveys alike may seek to stress the increase in earnings potential that comes from acquiring IT (and other) certifications, their real value lies in what they teach you. It's really about skills and knowledge they add to your portfolio, not about a bigger paycheck (though that's not too bad, either...).</p>Wed, 06 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: The enduring value of hands-on skills preparation<p>Some certifications are more valuable than others. IMO, those certifications that demand hands-on interaction with systems, services, and devices deliver more value because they require their holders to demonstrate their understanding and skills rather than just recounting some laundry list of important facts and details.</p>Wed, 30 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Is Online Proctored Testing in Your Certification Future?<p>Kryterion, Inc. offers turnkey certification program development and delivery services. Its offerings include online proctored testing. Could this be the wave of the certification future? Maybe, just maybe, it could!</p>Thu, 24 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Plans to Add Cloud-related Certs to Its Lineup<p>Microsoft Training and Certification has posted a series of Web pages to announce its coverage of cloud computing related topics amidst its many MCPD and MCITP credentials.</p>Thu, 17 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Cert Exam Prep Tips<p>From a link to a collection of tips I wrote over ten years ago, to a series of quick'n'dirty exam prep tips off the top of my head, here's a&nbsp;meta-reference for exam&nbsp;prep tips to help you get ready for--and pass--your next IT certification exam.</p>Thu, 10 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMT :: Microsoft Online Conference Works the Certification and Career Intersection<p>In February, the second Microsoft Career Certification Conference (MCCC) was held online for 24 hours on the 17th of that month. With another MCCC coming on May 24, it's becoming a regular quarterly online event for the company. With lots of content, ample opportunities to interact with trainers, career coaches, industry luminaries, and employers, it's a great opportunity to mingle with&nbsp;your peers while boosting your career profile.</p>Wed, 02 Mar 2011 00:00:00 GMT