October 19, 2011 1:18 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
interesting coverage of Microsoft's view on cloud computing
, MS Learning Offers Cloud Computing Info-cation piece
For this blog I’ve signed up with countless PR groups and agencies to be kept abreast of IT certification stuff. More frequently than I expect, this link-up actually produces useful information, as a recent email from Waggener-Edstrom (Microsoft’s PR agency, among others) reminded me. It pointed to a new Microsoft Learning White Paper entitled “Cloud Computing: What IT Professionals Need to Know,” which indeed includes oodles of info about cloud-based or -related technology offerings from Microsoft, job skills profiles, and interesting coverage of how these things tie into Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service (PaaS and SaaS, respectively).
Headline from MS Learning White Paper
The conclusion of this paper reads as follows, and sums up its content and coverage nicely:
As is historically true, the world of IT is changing. Those who discover and master the skills needed to bridge the gap between the now and the not yet will secure their future — and the future of their companies.
Though it does include plenty of focus on and coverage of Microsoft-specific cloud tools and technologies, these occur more by way of illustration and example than by way of “the hard sell” in this paper. Anybody who’s curious about what you do need to know to work with cloud technologies, and where they fit into the overall framework of current and future IT practice could do a lot worse than to read this white paper. I would have liked something with more focus on IT certification, but you can also find a specific “Microsoft Cloud Services: Training and Certification” page on the MS Learning site to identify cloud-related courses and credentials. After reading the white paper you’ll be able to make more sense of those things, and better able to relate them to current or desired job roles as well.
October 17, 2011 2:09 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
2011 value of MS developer certs
, Business Insider reports on value of MS developer certs in 2011 vis-a-vis 2010
BI headline for recent MS Developer Cert value story
Thanks to Ken Rosen of Microsoft Learning whose recent Born to Learn blog posting (10/13/2011) clued me into an interesting article at Business Insider entitled “Job Listings Prove That Microsoft Still Matters.” Written by BI staffer Matt Rosoff, this story points to the following numbers on Dice.com as evidence that MS certs still have some clout in the workplace:
- more than 10,000 listings for developers with .NET skills (up 29% from 2010)
- more than 8,000 listings for those with C# skills (26% higher than 2010)
- over 6,000 listings for ASP.NET skills (up 24% from 2010, with anecdotal evidence that demand for .NET-savvy developers is booming, to head off a shortage of people with such skills)
- 4,000-plus listings for SharePoint (46% higher than 2010, which makes it a booming specialty
Very interesting! Developers: start your engines!
October 12, 2011 11:09 AM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know I’m working with Jeff Carrell and a couple of other IPv6 stalwarts (Mark Mirroto, and Tom Lancaster, both CCIEs, to be specific) on a revision to my college textbook Guide to TCP/IP. It’s going into a fourth edition, but this time we’re reworking the book completely — you guessed it — to switch the emphasis and the bulk of its coverage to IPv6. It’s a mammoth effort, and it’s been a real learning experience for all of us, but it’s forced us to turn over and tune up our own knowledge bases, as we prepare to teach others how to learn and use IPv6 properly on their own networks.
With one third of global companies already doing “something” with IPv6, and the other two-thirds planning to do likewise in the next 2-3 years, it’s time for EVERYBODY to start thinking about why, how, and when to add IPv6 capability to their networks. In the same vein, it’s also time to start thinking about getting IPv6 through your internet service provider or ISP as well. And like many companies, many ISPs offer only token support for IPv6, or may have pilot projects up and going, but haven’t yet adopted IPvt6 fully either.
That’s where this extremely handy questionnaire from Cisco comes into play. entitled “What to Ask From Your Service Provider About IPv6″ it covers all of the questions you’ll need to get answered before you can even think about routing IPv6 traffic on and off your own networks. In posing these questions, it also points you to a lot of stuff you need to learn about, and either implement or complement on your own networks, too. It’s a great piece of work, and should go into the IPv6 toolkits for anybody who’s tasked with or interested in what’s involved in adding IPv6 support to an existing network.
October 10, 2011 1:58 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
consumerization of IT is inevitable
, IT needs to work more and better with smartphones and tablets
, post-PC era is dawning
I’ve been reading a lot of fuss and blather lately about the so-called “post-PC” era, but I can’t say I really understood what the fuss was about until I spent about 45 minutes working my way through a Special Report in the latest issue of that wonderful new magazine called The Economist this weekend. It’s called “Personal Technology: Beyond the PC” and is currently available only to subscribers to the print edition (like many subscription-oriented magazines, The Economist makes its latest edition available first in print, and then posts the digital version once the latest magazine edition hits the newsstands). This particular item appears in the October 8th -14th (2011) edition, so the digital version should post some time on or after October 15.
The point they make in their well-researched and -written study is that it’s not a case so much of the PC being dead but rather, that the kinds of functions for which consumers use PCs (Web surfing, e-mail, social networking, and so forth) are mostly being performed on smartphones and tablets nowadays, which are equally capable at handling these non-compute-intensive tasks and activities. It’s also a matter of huge scale: even though half a billion PCs may sell per year, these numbers are dwarfed by the appetite for smart phones (with over a billion units sold yearly right now, and forecasts for two billion yearly in the near future) and may soon be matched or overtaken by tablets as well.
What all is means is that a new era of low cost computing that doesn’t require PCs is getting underway. And even though the costs to users are low, the extreme volume means that companies that cash in on this phenomenon (of which Apple is a nonpareil example, it now fluctuating between number 1 and number 2 in the world in terms of market capitalization with Exxon/Mobile) can realize amazing sums of money, and can thus also invest large amounts in the R&D necessary to keep innovating, developing new technology, and improving on existing hardware and software capabilities.
What it really comes down to is this: there’s a big new technology game to play, and like it or not, IT professionals are going to have to learn to play it. The combination of cheap, powerful enough, and untethered devices with cloud-based access and storage to provide them with software and data is going to change the face of the world as we know it today, and IT must change along with it. I have to believe this means that entirely new knowledge bases will have to be created, and then mastered, and that training and certification will follow suit. We already see flashcards and practice test apps aimed at iOS, Android, and so forth: soon, we’ll see the focus turn toward other technologies that make use of these platforms for important and substantial work tasks.
Guess what? It’s time to get on the post-PC bandwagon, and start learning as much about the underlying infrastructure, security, controls, and management capabilities as possible. Otherwise, you risk being overwhelmed or left behind as the tide comes up and rearranges the landscape as we know it today.
October 7, 2011 3:13 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
counting unemployed and underemployed is a depressing business
, October 2011 employment situation summary basically flat
It’s the first Friday of the month, and as always, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics posts its “Employment Situation Summary” for the previous month — September 2011, in this case — at 8:30 AM Eastern US Time. The numbers did manage to go up a little bit (103,000) for September which beats the near-zero counts for August, though the official unemployment number didn’t budge from its 9.1 percent value.
And with the return of all those striking Sprint telecomm workers to work in September, IT employment edged up by 34,000. Lest this give you too much encouragement, however: parse this quote:
Employment in information was up by 34,000 over the month due to the return of about
45,000 telecommunications workers to payrolls after an August strike.
Even though 45,000 strikers returned to work, counts for September went up by 34,000. In my book, that reflects an actual job LOSS for IT workers of 9,000. Ouch! Total employment in the IT sector is around 2.8 million (based on the Figures in Table A-14 which cites that unemployed counts of 209,000 comprise 7.4 percent of the total working population in the Information sector, the total count is just over 2.82 million). Thus a decrease of 9,000 represents only 0.3% of that population so it is a minor fluctuation to be sure, but also one in the wrong direction (down, not up). My usual hunker down mantra is apparently still in full effect for those who are actually still working in IT, while those looking for IT jobs will have to look even harder.
In researching this month’s EmpSitSum (as I sometimes call it to myself when remember its “First Friday of the month” timing), I came across an interesting article on Examiner.com. Entitled “Employment Situation Summary October 2011” it delves a bit into something that often troubles me as I review each month’s report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics — namely, the way the unemployed are counted by this government agency.
Here’s the root of my concern, quoted from that article:
The report touches on an unsettling concern seldom reported. Not counted in the 14 millions unemployed are the 9.3 million Americans who are unable to find full time unemployment and have taken part time work. This group is referred to as involuntary part time workers and this group has continued to grow nationally.
In addition to the involuntary part time, there is a increasing number of marginally attached workers who are available to work and have looked for work within the past 12 months or have simply given up seeking employment. There are 2.5 million workers considered marginally attached workers with about a million who believe there are no job available for them and are not counted among the unemployed.
The way I read this is that our employment rate might be “officially” at 9.1 percent, but if you add 9.3 million (for those involuntary part-timers) and another 2.5 million (for the marginally attached) to the official 14.0 million, you get a total of 25.8 million. And then there’s another category of unemployed that’s not on this radar either: it’s the count of “discouraged workers” (employed persons who have basically given up on finding a job). In some cases it’s counted within the marginally attached numbers, and in some cases. not. For the purposes of this blog, let’s assume that this count is included.
Thus if 14 million equals 9.1 percent unemployment, 25.8 million unemployed and underemployed equals 16.77 percent of the workforce, or just a hair under 1 in every 6 people. This is really scary, and tells us that unless we make constructive changes as a collection of individuals, an agglomeration of local, state, and national governments, and a society, we’re in for a long and painful recovery. I certainly hope that Republicans and Democrats can join forces to help improve the jobs outlook in the USA, or we’ll be stuck in the mud for years to come!
October 5, 2011 2:28 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Microsoft Certified Architect finally abbreviated as MCA
, SharePoint 2010 credential added to Microsoft Certified Architect program
On Monday, October 3, 2011, at the MS SharePoint conference in Anaheim, California, Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Certified Architect credential to the product’s self-selected core audience. This marks two interesting milestones in the evolution of Microsoft’s pinnacle IT certification: first and foremost, it puts SharePoint right up there at the forefront of Microsoft’s critical technology platforms (along with Exchange Server, SQL Server, and Windows Server itself); second and somewhat more whimsically, it shows Microsoft surrendering to the inevitable TLA-ization of the architect credential moniker. That is, “Microsoft Certified Architect” is now being abbreviated as MCA, despite Microsoft’s initial attempts to resist this impulse for the first two years of this program’s existence!
You can read a brief blurb on this newest member of the MCA line-up on the Born to Learn blog (headline depicted above), or get the complete details from TechNet’s The Master Blog in a post entitled “Announcing MCA for MIcrosoft SharePoint Server 2010… and our very first SharePoint MCAs!” Check it out!
October 3, 2011 1:40 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Microsoft exam voucher grant pays unexpected dividend
, Renne Barcelona continues a success story
In 2009, thanks to the generous grant of a set of a half-dozen exam vouchers from Microsoft, I was able to award six lucky winners in a contest that requested applicants to share their certification success stories with me in exchange for a chance to win one of those vouchers. On July 8, 2009, I announced the winners. One of those winners was Renne Barcelona from the Philippines, who was profiled in more detail the following week on July 15.
Last week I was both surprised and pleased to receive a follow-up e-mail from Renne that provides some additional information about what’s happened in his or her life since that voucher was granted. Renne was kind enough to give me permission to reproduce this letter, so here it is:
I’ve been reading thru my past emails and just went to your blogsite, I just wanted to thank you again for giving me the opportunity last January 2010 and won a free Microsoft Exam Voucher.
As of now, I was able to pass a series of certifications from Microsoft, CompTIA, EC Council and Adobe and was also able to have an upgrade on my career. Inline with this, I was also able to fully complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and on currently pursuing my MBA course and currently working as a Tier 2 Remote Systems Engineer with one of the largest IT service provider in Dallas Forth Worth Area, Texas (I said remote because I was employed by US company but is supporting clients in the US even my current location is in the Philippines).
I’ve been reading your blog almost everyday and thanks for all the wonderful tips, tricks and knowledge that is surely helping us to be updated in the latest IT trends. If it is not for the free voucher that you gave me last year, I think I will not be able to pursue and continue my career in IT and that voucher served as an important stepping stone to success in reaching my goals in life . Thanks again Ed and may God bless you.
Boy, it’s great to know that an almost throwaway idea — “Hey, let me see if I can talk to Microsoft and get them to fund some exam vouchers! It would be good for the blog and good for their program.” — can make a real difference in somebody’s life. I am so proud of Renne for seizing the opportunity that a small gift provided and turning it to such great advantage. It calls to mind the old folk-tale “For Want of a Nail,” but in an entirely positive and heart-warming way. All I can say to Renne, and to all the people chasing IT certification in search of personal betterment is “Keep up the good work. It is your hard work and extra effort that makes the world a better place.” I hope this blog can inspire more people to get up off their duffs and get their careers moving in a positive direction.
September 28, 2011 1:59 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Brocade accredited and certified credentials
, lots to like in and about the Brocade certification program
It’s always gratifying to hear from readers of this and other blogs, doubly so when what I hear comes from other players in the industry. That’s why I was very gratified and interested to hear from Joe Cannata last month: he’s a Senior Manager for Business Development at Brocade (more formally, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.) a company best known for its high-end networking solutions. Although Joe’s title doesn’t mention “certification” anywhere, he’s the guy who runs the company’s many and varied certification programs.
Last Monday (9/26/2011) it was my pleasure to speak with Joe to discuss Brocade’s past, present, and future certification plans. I was very interested to learn that nearly 12,000 individuals hold some form of Brocade accreditation (not all of their credentials are formally identified as “certifications”) and that nearly 20,000 such credentials have been granted since their program kicked off nearly 10 years ago. Here’s a screen cap from the company’s certification overview brochure (PDF):
3 Tracks, and 3 Levels for Brocade Certification
I had to reduce this image significantly to get it to fit the blog window width, but you can grab the afore-linked PDF and consult page 4 to see the full-size original. The important things to notice are three tracks and three levels for a 9-cell matrix, which I’ll reproduce in a table:
|Brocade Certification Program Overview
||Certified Professional FICON Track 2010
||Brocade Certified Professional Data Center Track 2012
||Brocade Certified Professional Internetworking Track 2010
|Elite Level (Advanced)
||Brocade Certified Architect for FICON
Brocade Certified Fabric Professional
|Brocade Certified Fabric Designer
||Brocade Certified Network Professional
Brocade Certified Layer 4-7 Professional
|Premiere Level (Intermediate)
||Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator
||Brocade Certified SAN Manager
Brocade Certified Fabric Professional
Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator
|Brocade Certified Network Engineer
Brocade Certified Layer 4-7 Engineer
|Select Level (Beginner)
||Brocade Accredited FICON Specialist
Brocade Accredited Data Center Specialist
|Brocade Accredited Data Center Specialist
Brocade Accredited Server Connectivity Specialist
|Brocade Accredited Internetworking Specialist
As you can see, actual certifications don’t kick in until you get to the Intermediate level and into administrator, professional, manager, and engineer job roles. All the entry-level items are designated as “accredited specialist” credentials instead. Brocade’s technology focus areas include SAN and high speed networking with an emphasis on both IP and Fibre Channel based storage networking technologies. This is very interesting stuff, and I’ll keep digging into it monthly for the foreseeable future. Please stay tuned for additional posts on the program and its contents, or visit the main Brocade certification page for more information.
September 26, 2011 4:00 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
another version of our CISSP book is again in the offing
, CISSP exam objectives due for significant update for 2012
Wow! We are really cycling through some changes on the CISSP exam. If you take a look at this blog from the exam development team at Transcender (a well-known and widely respected purveyor of premium-priced IT certification practice exams, and now also a part of Kaplan, Inc.) you’ll get a pretty good sense of what’s in the offing for half of the domains in the Common Body of Knowledge (aka CBK) for the CISSP exam. Check it out at “The Transcender Team Explains the Coming CISSP Update – Part 1 of 2.”
Headline for recent update blog on CISSP objectives
This will be the third revision upcoming for our CISSP Study Guide (currently in its 5th edition) in as many years. Looks like the continued popularity of this certification is spurring significant attention to its timeliness and coverage, with concomitant impact on the amount of change to the exam’s content. Here we go again! Shon Harris and Microsoft will rev their book just after and just before New Year’s, respectively, and Mike Chapple, Michael Stewart, and I will be huffing and puffing to keep up.