May 21, 2012 1:02 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
how to quit a job with grace
, IT career advice on job exits
I really like it when a career advice article can make me laugh out loud, yet provide some good advice as well (my favorite paragon of this kind of thing is the inimitable Jerry Weinberg, whose books, articles, and classes deliver laughs and insight together better than any other writer or source that I know of). To my astonishment and delight a recent story from Certification Magazine entitled “Thinking About a Job Change? Don’t Quit Like This!” hit this mark for me this morning, too.
It begins with a list of wacky and wild reasons for quitting jobs reported in a new survey from Office Team, a placement firm for administrative professionals. That’s where the humor comes into the story, and I don’t want to spoil the zaniest reasons they report, so I’ll simply provide two merely odd ones as a teaser to induce you to read the original:
1. “A guy said he was making too much money and didn’t feel he was worth it.”
2. “One employee didn’t enjoy the cafeteria food.”
The career advice comes into the story somewhat later and is more or less devoid of humor, though not at all devoid of value or insight. The basic instructions are things that anyone preparing to leave a job should follow, so I repeat them verbatim here (sans explanations: again, you can find those in the original):
1. Give proper notice.
2. Get things in order.
3. Stay positive.
4. Don’t slack off.
5. Talk before you walk.
IT remains something of a small world, employment-wise, so you’re likely to cross paths with current colleagues at some point in the future, whether or not you change hometowns at any point along the way. Therefore, the best point I can make on the subject of leaving a job is to observe that it’s better to be remembered as a good co-worker and solid contributor rather than as some kind of flake! That way, nothing can come back to bite you later on…
May 18, 2012 3:39 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Pearson VUE acquires Certiport
, Pearson VUE and Certiport merger creates global certification and training juggernaut
In a move sure to catapult it to the very top of the testing and certification business, Pearson VUE announced on Wednesday that it was acquiring foundational level testing, certification, and content company Certiport. The terms of the acquisition have not yet been disclosed. But in a move obviously calculated to calm potentially nervous testing center partners, the press release states that “The terms and conditions of all Certiport partner contracts will remain in place. Certiport will continue to operate independently and deliver on the company’s partner-focused business plan, with oversight from Pearson VUE.”
With over 12,000 independent testing centers in 153 countries, and exams and materials in 27 languages, Certiport is already an established global player in the testing and certification market. Certiport’s programs include the CompTIA Strata credentials, as well as the Microsoft Office Specialist program (among the biggest of all certification programs in the world, if not the biggest), along with Microsoft Technology Specialist, HP Accredited Technical Associate, Adobe Certified Associate, and certified user programs for both Adobe and Intuit. Thus, Certiport has a HUGE footprint at the bottom of the IT and technical certification pyramid (where the numbers of candidates and certified individuals is always greatest, by a wide margin).
Now, add all that to Pearson VUE’s presence in 160 countries with at least 4,400 of its own testing centers (the latest numbers I can find are dated 3/3/2012). Likewise, factor in coverage for a vast majority of the major IT certification programs including those from Adobe, Brocade, Check Point, Cisco, Citrix, EC-Council, EMC, HP, IEEE, (ISC)2, LPI, Novell, Oracle, RSA Security, VMware, and Zend, among several dozen other sponsor organizations. Put it all together, and you’ve got a “killer combination” already. And, of course, Pearson VUE also does substantial business outside the IT umbrella as well, with a presence in academia, construction and inspection trades, driving tests, employment and HR examinations, financial services, insurance, legal services, and health, medicine, nursing and pharmacy exams.
It should be very interesting to see how the two organizations meld over time, and what kinds of additional stakes Pearson publishing operations will take in the Certiport credentials and offerings. I expect to see a great many more study guides, Exam Crams, practice tests, interactive labs, and other learning tools emerge from this new partnership.
May 15, 2012 7:12 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
free CCIE lab exam training and voucher
, INE offers nice CCIE lab exam scholarship
A couple of months back (March 20, 2012, to be more precise) I blogged here to report that Cisco-oriented training company INE.com had recognized this blog and my blog for Tom’s IT Pro (“Making it in IT“) as two of the Top 20 IT Career blogs on the Web. Thus, when another e-mail from INE popped into my inbox late last week, I was both curious and interested to see what it had to say.
There is some real substance to this scholarship offer
Turns out that INE is soliciting entries for its 2012 Scholarship program, which essentially offers 10 full-boat tuition and exams packages for the CCIE Routing and Switching and Voice certifications (details below). The organization will award one scholarship to a person from each of the following geographical regions: Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Middle East, North America (US/Mexico), Oceanic (Australia and the islands), and South America. For those who’ve counted the items in that list (there are only 8), two additional scholarships for CCIE Voice will be chosen from the entire global applicant pool.
Scholarship recipients will receive the following elements, intended to cover CCIE Lab training from start to finish:
1. 2 year all access pass to all of INE’s training videos.
2. 1500 tokens for rack rentals or mock lab exam use.
3. CCIE Lab exam voucher (worth $1500 for CCIE S&R, $1800 for CCIE Voice)
4. A complete set of CCIE workbooks
5. Live onsite 10-day bootcamp training
INE represents the value of each such package as $12,000. To be eligible to win, candidates must be able to travel, at least 18 years of age, and already have scheduled or passed the CCIE written exam. Because the Lab exam is the biggest hurdle to earning a CCIE, this is a pretty handsome offer, and one that’s bound to help its winners earn their CCIEs sooner rather than later.
Find the application form at the foot of the INE 2012 Scholarship Web page. If you’re in the running for a CCIE you owe it to yourself to fill out the application form and submit it soon, along with the requested 400-800 word application letter. The sponsors have indicated a range of potential topics for applicants to tackle. Good luck!
May 14, 2012 2:05 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
cadre of ambitious IT pros chasing 60 days to MCSE challenge
, good info and resources through 60 days to MCSE challenge
BTL stands for Born to Learn, Microsoft Learning’s catch-all blog clearinghouse for all things related to training, education, certification, and career development. In the past month, in the wake of the reborn MSCE and MCSA certifications, BTL has launched a dedicated forum area called “60 Days to MCSE.” Given that five exams are required for this new credential, I hope it’s obvious that this kind of aggressive time line only applies to those individuals who already have an MCITP (or multiple MCTS) credentials, and who simply need to pick up one or two more exams to meet all of the requirements for the newly-relaunched MCSE in one of its subject areas (Business Intelligence or BI, Data Platform/SQL Server stuff, and Private Cloud/System Center 2012).
Find links to all kinds of useful prep stuff in this new BTL forum
Even if you’re not ready to climb aboard the MCSE bandwagon in a couple of months if you’re interested in digging into this newly-revised Microsoft cert program (and the MCSA and MCSD besides), you’ll find this online forum worth digging into. There’s ongoing status info and updates on the forthcoming MSCA (and I expect news about the MCSD to surface here soon as well), along with three discussion groups for the various MCSE specialties already declared (BI, Data Platform, and Private Cloud), plus general news and information.
In addition, Matt Griffin, an IT blogger based in Indianapolis and driving force behind “Matt Blogs IT” has been blogging about his personal approach to and experiences with 60 Days to MCSE since April 20, 2012. Read his first post from that date at “#60Days2MCSE Challenge – The Plan – The Resources,” then follow forward links to learn about his progress from that point forward. Note further that the hash tag in the post title — #60Days2MCSE, that is — is a Twitter handle for the stalwart group of cert-heads who are hell-bent to meet this objective, where you can tune in to hear about their progress, experiences, and bumps in the road to a new MCSE. Matt’s initial post also includes a compendium of cert prep resources for the new MCSE that is worth a visit all by itself.
This should be an interesting wave to follow, or perhaps even to surf, if you’re so inclined. Lots of interesting stuff going on in the new MCSE/MCSA arena, so be sure to check it out!
Follow-up note: 5/14/2012, 1:14 PM: Thanks to Veronica Sopher of Microsoft Learning, I can also now provide a link to the original “60 Days to MCSE” BTL post. She adds that this is an organic, community-initiated and widely followed group that’s working together (and both asking for and getting Microsoft support) to jump on the MCSE certification early. Start your journey at this link, please!
May 11, 2012 4:48 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
IT students must study hard and grow skills to find meaningful work
, Rutgers survey shows only half of recent grads find full-time work
I heard a story on NPR morning edition that rocked me back on my heels, HARD. It’s entitled “College Grads Struggle to Gain Financial Footing,” and its basic point calls on a recent Rutgers survey of former students who graduated between 2006 and 20011 to report that “just half of those grads are working full time” (emphasis mine). Holy cow!
Recent grads face coin-toss odds
The story goes on to report that many recent grads are settling for part-time employment when they can’t find full-time positions, and that others often end up taking work outside their fields of study just to generate some income. What makes this situation doubly dangerous, beyond the difficulty of finding work in a slow and tight labor market is the inescapable statistic that many graduates are leaving school with significant student loans to repay following graduation.
The Rutgers study, from the Heidrich Center for Workforce Development there, found that 6 of 10 students who graduate leave school with over $20,000 in debts to repay. Cliff Zukin, a senior research fellow with that Rutgers organization remarks that “there’s certainly a suggestion that the American dream has stopped at these guys’ doorstep.”
More depressing findings from this study include:
- half of those grads who do find full-time work are in jobs that don’t even require a college degree
- the majority of respondents indicate they see no career potential in their first jobs
- one-third of recent grads “say they no longer believe education combined with hard work will necessarily lead to success”
To me, that concluding statement is completely antithetical to the American dream as we’ve always understood it. To counter this kind of despair and ennui, I can only recommend to IT students and pending graduates that they do everything they can to get experience in the field before they graduate–be it through internships, part-time on- or off-campus jobs, and even volunteer work for local school systems, charities (especially Goodwill Industries), churches, and small businesses. This not only gives you something to learn from and practice skills and knowledge on, and something to help add substance to your cover letter and resume when the time comes, but also puts you in contact with people who might point you to, or even offer you, that all-important first job once you graduate.
Many graduates also said they wished they’d done more internships, or chosen fields with better employment prospects, too. I have to believe that IT remains an excellent choice for study, now and for the foreseeable future. I honestly believe that if you do study hard, and take every opportunity to work hands-on with IT, you will be able to corner your own part of the American Dream, whether “survey says” yea or nay when you matriculate!
May 9, 2012 2:19 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Pearson IT Certification sponsors IT cert exam voucher and book giveaway
Click the Like button and you can enter the PIT contest
Because Pearson Publishing owns numerous well-known IT certification imprints and also VUE (a major dispenser of IT certification exams at their testing centers), the company can sometimes offer some interesting come-ons to prospective IT certification candidates. This is one of those times, where if you visit the home pagefor the site, then click the right-hand button depicted below, and click the Facebook like button on its landing page, you can register for a contest to win exam vouchers for either Cisco, CompTIA, or Microsoft exams and thee print books to go with them (first prize) or three e-books on any subjects of your choosing (second prize). Three first-place and seven second-place winners will be selected after June 23, the day this sweepstakes closes.
Obviously, the exams involved cover only those from Cisco, CompTIA, and Microsoft that Pearson VUE offers in its exam centers. Also, all chosen print or e-books must come from a Pearson imprint. But because such exams vary between $150 and around $500 in cost, and the books or e-books involved generally retail for $100 or more (for three titles you can easily rack up $180 at MSRP prices), it’s still a pretty good prize for providing your name, e-mail address, and your certification preferences. If you’ve got one of these exams in your future, it’s worth the two minutes it will take to register. See the registration form for details, and good luck!
May 7, 2012 1:30 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
HP is retiring over 60 certs for summer 2012
, large-scale changes to HP cert program at work
HP is putting a large number (66) of its ExpertONE certifications to pasture this summer, with 17 slated for retirement on June 30, 2012, and another 49 on August 31, 2012. You can check the complete list of retired items on the company’s Expiring Certifications page, or download a PDF version of this information for offline perusal.
HP ExpertONE program banner
Here’s a summary of what’s going by the wayside in the company’s Professional Career certifications (a lesser but still large number of Partner-only credentials will also retire on those same dates, but I don’t cover them here in this blog, though they are completely spelled out online in the HP items linked in the preceding paragraph):
- Desktops and Workstations: two AIS and two ASE credentials, all on 8/31/2012 (total 4).
- Networking: four Master ASE, five ASE, and one AIS credentials, all on 8/31/2012 (total 10).
- Operating Systems: one Master ASE, two CSA, one CSD, and two CSE credentials, all on 8/31/2012 (total 6).
- Servers: six master ASE, six ASE, three ASIC, all on 8/31/2012 (total 15).
- Software for Business Management: nine ASE, eight AIS, all on 6/30/2012 (total 17).
- Storage: three Master ASE, five ASE, four AIS, all on 8/31/2012 (total 12).
Even with all these pending retirements, there are still many credentials left in the HP to choose from. Because their technology base turns over quite frequently, their cert offerings do likewise.
HP Cert Acronym Key (Cert Overview Page)
AIS: Accredited Integration Specialist
ASE: Accredited Systems Engineer
CSA: Certified System Administration (?)
CSD: Certified System Designer (?)
CSE: Certified System Engineer (?)
Master ASE: Master Accredited Systems Engineer
From what I can see and read online the older CS* credentials are on their way out (and I am unable to confirm an official expansion for these acronyms), and look to be replaced by AIS, ASE, Master ASE credentials, along with the the addition of Accredited Technical Associate (ATA) entry-level credentials through a new partnership with Certiport to support and test for ATA credentials.
May 4, 2012 4:27 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
April 2012 employment situation shows further slowdown in job growth
, recent job recovery trends growing slimmer and slimmer
OK, it’s the Friday of the month when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation Summary, this time for April 2012. This one is something of a mixed bag, because while it once again shows modest improvement — an uptick of 115,000 jobs, in fact — that improvement is even more modest than the 120,000 uptick originally reported for March 2012. That number, in fact, has been revised upward to 154,000 as of this latest summary, and partly as a consequence of that revision overall unemployment takes a dip from 8.2 to 8.1 percent this month. The other notable revision is for February, 2012, which was retroactively raised from 240 to 259 thousand jobs as well. But the overall emphasis in this report is best summed up as “little change across the board.”
A painfully slow recovery slows down still more...
A follow-up story from Employment Screening Resources dated this morning makes some interesting observations, however:
- Professional and business service jobs are up by 62,000 in April, an increase of 1.5 million jobs since these categories hit their low points in September of 2009.
- Retail employment is up by 29,000 jobs for April, with most of those additions (21,000) in general merchandising outlets.
- Leisure and hospitality and health care each added about 20,000 jobs in April (with most of the health care positions — 15 of 19 thousand — going to ambulatory health care jobs for home health services or in private physician-owned medical practices)
- Manufacturing experienced an even smaller bump of 16,000 jobs in April, while mining and logging, construction, wholesale, information, finance, and government were flat. Only transportation and warehousing lost jobs in April, to the tune of 17,000 positions.
Given the recent reduction in the pace of recovery, some charting experts believe that it might presage an actual down-turn in the economy. For example, you can find an interesting argument for this at Abigail Dolittle’s blog “Charting the Employment Situation” (be sure to click the PDF symbol at the upper right, to see the charts discussed herein, or you’ll be as nonplussed as I was before I finally figured that out). If you do look at this blog in PDF form, you’ll see some very suggestive and visually compelling signs that there may be some bumps in the road to recovery ahead. This will make next month’s numbers for May, 2012, particularly interesting and compelling to watch.
In the meantime, cross your fingers, and hope for the best!
May 2, 2012 1:35 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
new CWNA exam PW0-105 goes live on 5/4/2012
, old CWNA exam PW0-104 to retire on 7/31/2012
These are unquestionably boom times for wireless networking, so it stands to reason that wireless networking jobs are also on the upswing. That helps to explain the likewise burgeoning popularity and reach of the Certified Wireless Networking Professional (CWNP) certification program, which now even features a Twitter jobs feed (@CWNPJobs, which lists 20 open positions for the period from 4/30 through 5/2/2012).
But wireless technology keeps changing all the time across the board, what with faster WLAN technologies on the way (802.11ac, for example, with its 1 Gbps speeds) as well as a rapidly expanding wide-area wireless networking infrastructure through such technologies as WiMAX, and LTE which are moving into true fourth generation (4G) capabilities around the world. That’s undoubtedly why Planet3 Wireless (the company behind the CWNP program and its content) is revving the Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) exam in a couple of days, from version PW0-104 to PW0-105 (which also happens to be this cert’s Pearson VUE exam code as well).
New exam gets new official study guide too
Next week, on May 8, 2012, long-time certification study guide publisher Sybex (now an imprint of J Wiley & Sons) will also release the first study guide for this new exam: CWNA: Certified Wireless Network Administrator Official Study Guide: Exam PW0-105(David D. Coleman and David A. Westcott, ISBN: 11812779X, 768 pp, paperback, list $59.99, Amazon: $37.79). It won’t be too long before other publishers follow suit, and offer competing products for the new CWNA exam, either, and the usual other supporting materials — practice exams, flash cards, and so forth — are sure to hit the market soon, too.
The old exam will remain live through then end of July (7/31/2012) so those prepping for the PW0-104 version still have some time to finish prepping for and take this exam. But after that, it’s PW0-105 all the way!