March 17, 2011 3:27 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
August 1 2011 is when training becomes a mandatory component for Oracle/Sun certifications
, Oracle nixes Sun's old exam-only certification path
Thanks to Anne Martinez’ most recent Certification Watch newsletter, I just learned that Oracle is changing its policy regarding how individuals can earn Sun/Java-based certifications. From the get-go in the late 1990s when Sun first launched its Java certifications, I’ve been following this program (it already had a thriving trade in SunOS administrator credentials even back then). It has always been the case that knowledgeable individuals could challenge any Sun exam without taking the related official curriculum course.
Sun Certifications Now Fall Under the Oracle Unversity Umbrella
No more! As of August 1, 2011, all Sun certification candidates will be required to attend official classroom training to earn their credentials, as has been the case with Oracle certifications since 2002. According to Martinez, Oracle’s “rationale [is] that it improves the value of the certification by assuring a higher skill level among certification holders.” Candidates who finish their Sun-related certs by July 31, 2011, do not have to meet this requirement.
My advice to those considering Sun certification who didn’t already plan on attending an in-class or virtual training session from an Oracle-approved training partner is “get on the stick!” With in-class seats going for $300 a day and up, and virtual seats costing at least half that much, you can save a heapo cash by accelerating your exam schedule to beat the end-of-July deadline. Too bad Oracle felt compelled to make their policy apply to the Sun certifications, but now that you know, try to turn this information to your advantage if you can! See the details on the “Important Changes…” news page at Oracle University.
March 14, 2011 2:19 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
making the most of resume and job posting sites
, tips for job search online
, using job search sites to best advantage
Header from out PearsonITCertification.com story
Last November, I wrote an article for PearsonITCertification.com entitled “Using Job Posting Web Sites,” with my regular co-writer, editor, and project manager Mary Kyle. While I highly recommend the original article, here are some high points to ponder if and when you find yourself turning to a resume/job posting site any time in the near future:
- Make sure you know what kinds of employers frequent each job posting site, and whether or not what you’re seeking matches more or less with what’s on offer there.
- Be aware that while many or even most job posting sites are free, some are for a fee. The higher your desired annual salary, the more benefits you are likely to get from the for-a-fee sites.
- Don’t forget to take advantage of social and professional networking in your job search. It’s still the case that up to 80 percent of job offers come via personal networks rather than from online postings. Don’t think that plastering your resume all over the Internet will get you all the way to a job (though it might, if you get lucky or possess high-demand skills and knowledge: the odds are about 4-to-1 against, however).
- Check out, learn to use, and exercise each site’s profile set-up and management capabilities. They can essentially let you turn their pages into a personal Web-based storage area for job-app info, even as you use social networking techniques to search for work outside their communities and employers.
- Learn to use job search tools, and use them to the max! If you take complete advantage of job search by location, title, salary, type of employment, and yada yada yada, you may be able to zero in on things of great interest, and steer clear of those of some interest that don’t meet all your selection criteria. You should be choosy, knowing that employers will also be likewise.
March 11, 2011 3:55 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
PearsonITCertification.com blog covers IT cert prep tips and resources
, please visit Ed Tittel's new blog at PearsonITCertification.com
There’s an old saying “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.” I’m not sure there’s anything fishy at all about my latest blog at PearsonITCertification.com (aka PITC.com)— where I’m blogging weekly from here on out. But the blog, entitled “Cert Exam Prep Tips” does contain pointers to some peachy prep tips as promised (that’s the “give a fish part”). It also includes some suggestions on how to put your favorite search engine to work to find more such cert prep tips on your own (that’s the “teach fishing” part).
- Page banner (above) and blog header (below) from PITC.com
If you’re planning to take any IT cert exams any time soon, you’ll want to check out this posting for sure. I also can’t help but hope that people who read this blog regularly might also want to add my new PearsonITCertification.com blog to their regular list as well, too.
March 6, 2011 10:20 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
8 free e-books available from MS Press
, Skills Update Advice from Microsoft
Snipped from the MS Born to Learn blog for March 3, here’s a screencap of all the free e-books currently available online from Microsoft Press. Yes, you read right: free e-books. Check ‘em out!
A veritable tableaux of free e-books
You can jump to download links for these various items on MS Press List of our free ebooks
page. Care to guess which one is my favorite, given that this blog is named IT Career Jump Start? (Hint: check the lower left corner of the tableaux and there it is: Own Your Future: Update Your Skills with Resources and Career Ideas from Microsoft)
March 2, 2011 3:01 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
best CISSP prep resources
, CISSP prep resources
If you’re planning on taking the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam any time soon, rush right over to CertCities and dredge up well-known security maven Tony Bradley’s excellent advice article “My Top 10 Tips for Preparing and Passing the CISSP Exam.” I’m going to be sitting for this one myself later this month, so I’ve been gathering up my prep resources to get ready for this 6-hour-long marathon exam. You’ll also want to at least look at the following resources as well:
- Books: Shon Harris still rules this roost with her CISSP All-in-One, 5e, but our own (I co-authored this one with James Michael Stewart and Mike Chapple) CISSP Study Guide, 5e, ain’t bad either.
- Prep Sites: Nobody does it better than Clement Dupuis with his www.cccure.org Website. Be sure to check it out, and you’ll find more good resources better and faster there than anywhere else.
This is a tough, demanding exam so be prepared to spend some time, and expend some elbow grease getting ready. I’ll be reporting on the latest version of this exam for PearsonITCertification.com next month, so keep your eyes peeled for advance word, and some “hot links” as soon as they become available.
February 28, 2011 8:58 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
check out the MCCC registration page
, Good numbers from latest MCCC
, great reaction to our "Certs in Academia" presentation at 2-24-2011 MCCC
Above MCCC overall totals Below Preso numbers for Certification in Academia
My presentation with MS Area Director for MS Learning in Academia Jeff Johnson was a huge hit, thanks mostly to Jeff’s hard work in gussying up my presentation outline and skeleton, as well as his boffo delivery of the meat of that presentation. We actually teamed up pretty well, though, because while he was talking I was able to answer 90% of the attendee questions via chat in more-or-less-real time. I think we may try to this one again folks! Looks like the conference was bigger by over 200 additional attendees versus last time. I know I was as busy as I could be the whole time I was online.
If you haven’t yet checked out this excellent online conference, I’d urge you to do so. Here’s a link to the Registration Page. Lots of good stuff here, and it repeats almost every calendar quarter (the next one is scheduled for May 24, 2011). Full price for a full day of online content has been $55, but discounts are usually available for certified Microsoft Professionals (MCP or higher) and students enrolled in accredited academic programs.
February 25, 2011 5:00 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
observations from MCCC resumes submitted for review
, resume tips for IT pros
, the good bad and ugly from a recent pool of reviewed resumes
As part of my “friendly services” to Microsoft Certified Career Conference attendees who bothered to drop in on my post-presentation Q&A sessions last week, I volunteered to provide feedback on about half-a-dozen different resumes during either or both of those sessions. Here are my collective observations on what I’ve seen (and missed) in those documents as I’ve labored through them to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.
- Much to my delight and amazement, I saw only two typographical errors in the entire batch I looked at. This is a much better average result than resumes I used to review back when I was hiring people, as recently as four years ago. Maybe it’s a better spelling checker, or maybe it’s better attention to detail. Either way, kudos to one and all!
- Every single resume was two pages in length, or shorter (no one pagers, though). I’m a firm believer in shorter is better when it comes to a resume. You can always get more details into a cover letter and/or the interview, if you simply must share them with others.
- Most of the language was spare, concise, and very focused. This is another aspect of the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to resumes. You’re not writing a novel, you’re trying to cram as much useful, cogent information into two pages as you possibly can. Keep it short and tightly focused.
- I didn’t see enough short, concise summaries or professional objectives in those resumes, and several that had them didn’t put them at the head of the resume right below the contact information block. That’s an essential part of any good resume (keep it to one paragraph of no more than 5-6 lines, please) and it should come right at the top to give it some punch when a reader digs into that document.
- The resumes I reviewed tended to list job functions very briefly in the job details/employment history section (for example “managed Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2 servers” rather than “installed, configured, and maintained Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2 servers, including applications and services such as DNS, IIS, and Symantec Endpoint Security”). Yeah, I know, this makes a resume longer, but employers want to know what kinds of things candidates have done, as much about systems and services they’ve worked with as possible, and what kinds of problems they have solved. Try to cover accomplishments in your resume, as well as a laundry list of technology checkboxes, please!
- Several of the resumes went into plans for future certifications and degrees. A resume is not the place to talk about your plans for the future: it’s where you talk about what you know, what you can do, what certifications you hold, what degrees you’ve earned, and so forth. Save that kind of stuff for your cover letter and/or the interview, too.
- Lots of resumes are hard to read. Have somebody look at your resume from a layout and readability perspective, please! I probably spent more time changing headings to put borders around them to make them stand out, and centering heading copy to make it stand out more on the page than any other single activity in editing resumes submitted for my review than I spent doing anything else.
- Set up your formatting so that tabs do what they’re supposed to: position copy precisely. In every single one of the resumes I saw, candidates simply tabbed until they got close to where they wanted to put copy and left it at that. Right-click the tab entries in Word, and you can change tab style (left-aligned, right-aligned, center-aligned, or decimal). Use this functionality to put things exactly where they should go, and to use no more tabs than you need. Seriously! This shows attention to detail, and a good understanding of Word that most hiring managers and HR professionals will notice and appreciate. No, really!! I’m not joking about this…
- Several IT professionals with Web design or graphics skills turned in completely textual, ho-hum layouts for their resumes. Come on, folks! If you do design or graphics, don’t you think some of that stuff should show in a resume? Don’t just talk about what you can do, show something! Even non-graphics types should drop a small photo of themselves into their title block/contact info, and consider the odd graphical element here or there. If you’re certified, for example, you’re entitled to use the cert logo on business cards or elsewhere. A resume is a good case for “elsewhere.” Do it!
A resume title with photo is easy to set up
I hope these observations will help others, and I encourage you to get as much feedback on your resumes as possible. More eyeballs and more input can’t help but result in a better-looking and better-reading resume. That’s what everybody wants, right?
February 24, 2011 5:28 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Win7 SP1 now completely public
, Windows 7 SP1 now available through Windows Update and Windows Download Center
It’s here. Windows 7 SP1 is now available for download through Windows Update. This is what your download Window will look like if you expand the view of Important Updates inside the WU interface:
The inside scoop on Win7 SP1 straight from Windows Update
The blurb says it will take about half an hour to install, but my own experience so far has been more like 12 to 20 minutes, depending on CPU and hard disk channel speeds. Those who’d rather download an ISO image or an installer file can now do so through the Microsoft Download Center, if they prefer that to Windows Upate. Look for the DVD .ISO image (this is what I downloaded and burned from MSDN last week, because it includes both 32- and 64-bit versions of the Service Pack), or separate 32- and 64-bit installer files. You must install Windows Update KB2454826 before you can install Windows 7 SP1, but if you’ve been installing incoming updates anyway you should be OK, because this hit Windows Update several weeks ago.
February 24, 2011 5:10 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
CompTIA studies value of IT certs with hiring managers and HR professionals
, IT certs count on the job but not as much as track record experience and accomplishments
In an early February press release, CompTIA shared some insights gleaned from a recent survey it performed that involved 1,700 hiring managers and HR staff at businesses and organizations of all kinds and sizes in the US, UK, and South Africa (see IT Certifications Grow in Importance in Hiring Process, but Employers Challenged by Evaluation, Validation Issues, CompTIA Study Finds for the complete text).
Press Release banner from CompTIA Website
Here are some of the high points from that survey (full text of the survey results are available to CompTIA members, but not to the general public):
- 64% of hiring managers rate IT certs as having “extremely high” or “high” value in validating skills and expertise.
- 80% of HR professionals “…believe IT certifications will grow in usefulness and importance over the next two years.”
- Some hiring managers hold a perception “…that the HR department does not have a solid understanding of IT certifications.”
- Some organizations report that “…verifying a job candidate’s credentials can be a challenge due to the time involved …” (44% of hiring managers) “… and effort required (38%).”
- “Experience, track record, and accomplishments rank as the most important factors when evaluating job candidates…” was a key conclusion from this study.
- “…education and credentials such as certifications also rank high. For example, 86% of hiring managers indicate IT certifications are high or medium priority during the candidate evaluation process.”
To me, these results strongly validate what I’ve said all along about certifications during the job application and interview processes: It isn’t the having of certifications that counts, it’s what they enable you to do, the problems they enable you to solve, and the skills and knowledge they bring to the job for you that really count. Remember this as you write your resume and cover letter and go through the interview process and you’ll definitely come out ahead!