November 30, 2010 2:52 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
eWeek lists top 15 IT jobs for 2011
, up and down jobs for 2011
, US BLS lists 10 surprising jobs in decline
Curious about this blog title? A quick comparison between the titles of the articles that gave me the idea for this posting should satisfy your need to know and understand what’s up here:
I agree that some of the items that turn up in the second of these two pieces are indeed suprising, but that there are very few suprises in the list presented in the first piece from eWeek. I’ll juxtapose the two lists in tabular form so you can see how they stack up against each other.
||Lead Application Developer
||Data Warehouse Analyst
||CRM Business Analyst
||CRM Technical Developer
||Business Intelligence Analyst
||ERP Business Analyst
||Systems Integrator Consultant
||ERP Technical Developer
||Networking Presales Engineer
OK, now I get to make some remarks about what I see going on between these two lists. First, it’s too bad the second list only includes ten declining job categories because that leaves 5 empty cells in the bottom right corner of the table. But as you look at column 3 (Yahoo’s list of jobs that the BLS reports as on their way down) it’s pretty obvious that between outsourcing and the considerable impact of automation (mostly based on IT technologies) many of these jobs are in decline either because software lets fewer people do more work (insurance underwriters for sure, and possibly also fashion designers, travel agents, reporters, announcers, and even chemists) or because it’s cheaper to hire highly skilled professionals offshore (plant managers and chemists for sure, and perhaps even economists and CEOs as well). Judges are on the way down because down economies cut positions in all arenas, including the bench. On the other hand (or in the second column of the table, more appropriately) data analysis and various development skills are hot, hot, hot IT areas, as I’ll explain further in the next paragraph.
As for the eWeek high demand list, I see zero surprises in there, but careful perusal of the list (for salary ranges and more description see the original article) tells me that analytical skills drive over one-third (6 of 15) of the positions therein, and that software or document development skills drive most of what’s left after that (7 of 15 total, but 7 of 9 of positions remaining after the out-and-out analytical positions are excluded). This speaks eloquently of the need for sharp technical skills, and the ability to transform insights about structure and function into working models or systems to represent them. It also tells me that understanding the data universe in which one does IT is every bit as important as it should be, and keeps on getting more so every day. Why is this unarguably the case? Because enterprises and organizations can earn high returns, or carry out their missions better, when they understand what their customers and data are telling them, and when they act appropriately (and even strategically and competitively) upon the results of their analyses — often by developing software to deliver new services, information, or goods in response. What’s the opposite of a vicious cycle? I’m not sure what to call it except perhaps a “positive feedback loop,” but that’s what the overall patterns that emerges from this list tells me is going on.
November 29, 2010 5:22 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
No further MCM program changes to match elimination of training requirement for MCM on Sequel Server 2008
, training discounts available for most MCM programs though training is mostly still required
Revisiting Anne Martinez’s latest GoCertify “Certification Watch” newsletter reminded me of my blog dated 11/9/2010 which discusses the elimination of the $18,000 classroom training requirement heretofore associated with every Microsoft Certified Master program for the specific MCM associated with SQL Server 2008. Upon learning about this development, I’d hoped to see other MCM offerings quickly following suit, but alas, that appears not to be the case. I’m going to forward this blog to my MS Learning contact at Waggener-Edstrom (Microsoft’s PR agency) to see what kind of response it engenders, but right now all I see is a training discount for $3,500 on any of the other MCM programs (except for Windows Directory R2, for which the discount is $1,000) for those who are fast enough to complete the exams and the application process by the end of 2010.
For the record, the MCM programs are as follows:
The asterisk after the SQL Server 2008 means that “training is optional,” to use MIcrosoft’s language to explain the special deal that the SQL Server team has put together. Given that the other subject areas — especially Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Directory Services — also enjoy subtantial numbers of highly qualified and expert practitioners, it would be really nice if MS decided to turn this into a change of policy across the board. Failing that, I’ll be very interested to see what kind of response I get from the MS Learning folks to this suggestion. I’m supposed to talk to Lutz Ziob, the General Manager for MS Learning, some time in December, and may also bring this up with him should the opportunity present. Stay tuned!
November 28, 2010 11:58 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
MCCC video recordings now posted
, Microsoft Certified Career Conference offers 40-plus videos
Though the MCCC (Microsoft Certified Career Conference) came and went in 24 blistering hours on November 18, the recordings of that day’s events didn’t hit the site until last week. In fact, I checked last Tuesday (November 23) and only a handful of items had made it to those pages by that time. Now that Turkeyday (the US Thanksgiving holiday, for those of you reading this outside the US) has also come and gone, I’ve gone back to check again, and it seems that the vast majority of the sessions are now available in recorded form to conference registrants. In fact, I count 42 sessions in total. As I dug through my recent e-mail I also came across a message from the conference team dated 11/25 (Thanskgiving day) to inform me that the recordings had indeed all been posted. I guess it took them longer than they thought it would to process and post those recordings…
Now, I’m going to have to watch (or at least skim through) these sessions to see which ones are really worth auditioning, so I can ask MS if they’re willing to share any of them with the world outside those who registered for the conference. Please stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted. I see lots of useful tidbits on MCTS, MCITP, and even some MOS credentials, some interesting developer topics covered, and a few other career and job search odds’n'ends. Stay tuned as I chew through this stuff, and see what’s what.
November 23, 2010 10:47 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
CompTIA to work with SNIA on Storage+
, new CompTIA Storage+ cert in the offing
, other than the Storage+ name not much is known about CompTIA's new networked storage credential
Last week, CompTIA issued a call for subject matter experts to help formulate the requirements and questions for an exam on digital storage technologies. This will very likely focus on network-attached storage (NAS) and storage-area networks (SANs) though some coverage of direct-attached storage (DAS) is also quite likely. And right now, if you visit the CompTIA site and search on “Storage+” you’ll find it mentioned on their “Exam Development” page as well. But so far, there is no official news on the CompTIA site about this planned credential, nor is there anything about this on the Storage Networking Industry Association’s (SNIA) Website, either.
Nevertheless, numerous outlets such as CertCities. com and Train Signal Training have indicated that CompTIA has “announced” their plans for a Storage+ certification. I’m not sure that “announce” is the right language, since I can’t find any such announcements anywhere at CompTIA and SNIA, and those organizations will no doubt make formal announcements when the time is right (which is apparently not yet). I’ve put a call into Steven Ostrowski, CompTIA’s Director of Corporate Communications to ask from some comment on this information (and will follow up with same if and when it’s forthcoming), but my guess is that nobody’s talking because nobody’s quite ready to talk just yet.
So, while we do know that CompTIA and SNIA are collaborating on what will presumably be an entry-level networked storage credential, the Storage+, we don’t really know much more than that yet. It may be ready some time in 2011 or it could slide into 2012. I’ll report more as more information becomes available. Stay tuned.
November 22, 2010 4:05 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Citrix offers discounts on advanced virtualization certs
, discounts on CCEE and CCIA virtualization exams
, great deal on Citrix virtualization certifications available to those who act before 12/31/2010
Those who’ve been sitting on the fence when it comes to pursuing Citrix virtualization certification may want to stop sitting, and start making exam plans. That’s because prospective candidates for two of its virtualization certification exams can save $75 off the $300 tab (25% off, in other words) if they register for them before December 31, 2010. The exams in question are:
In my opinion, this means that anybody who’s considering this sequence of certs, and will be able to take these exams some time next year, should go ahead and pony up for both exams to save the $150 that this offer extends to those who take it up. This will be of primary interest to IT professionals who already hold the CCAA or CCA credentials, and could just be the impetus needed to get them in motion, to climb a few more rungs up the Citrix certification ladder.
November 19, 2010 9:17 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
lots of interesting activity at MCCC
, Microsoft Ceritied Career Conference a resounding success
, over 2200 attendees at MCCC
From 6:15 AM yesterday until almost 8:00 PM last night (CST, -06:00 UCT/GMT) I was up and running inside the Microsoft Certified Career Conference (MCCC). During three different one-hour periods I ran real-time chat sessions with attendees to answer IT certification and career planning questions. My typing skills and on-the-spot thinking skills got a killer workout yesterday and by the time the last one-hour chat session concluded I was more than ready to call it a day.
But man, was it ever busy and fun! During the first one-hour chat the focus was mostly on general certification and career planning. But perhaps because my old colleague and co-author Don Poulton joined me for the second session (he’s the author of the brand-new Pearson title MCTS 70-680 Cert Guide: Microsoft Windows 7, Configuring) we spent nearly that whole hour answering very pointed and specific questions about that exam in particular and Windows 7 certification topics in general. In the third hour it was a mixed bag, and I wasn’t anywhere near as frantically busy as I was during the first two sessions, probably because everybody online (including me) was getting somewhat frazzled near the conclusion of a very long day.
Microsoft employee and conference organizer Tjeerd Veninga told me at one point that over 2,200 people had registered for the conference, and I saw the number of active online participants break 600 several times during the day, and cross the 700 mark on a couple of occasions. Let me hasten to observe that these numbers represent my occasional and desultory checks on site activity and are by no means either complete, thorough, or anywhere near official: they just represent what I saw myself during those few idle moments when I had time to look, and remembered to check the event counter page whose URL Microsoft made available to me.
Upon visiting the Recordings page in the conference, I can only report that there aren’t any visible yet, and that the page blurb now reads “Recordings will be available after the weekend.” Once I get a crack at those materials, though, I’ll report back here about what’s available, and would be happy to approach MS about making some of them publicly accessible to interested readers if they’d like to see them for themselves.
All in all, it was a great experience. I look forward to getting even more involved in the next MCCC, and hope you’ll be more inclined to join in the hubbub as well.
November 17, 2010 3:32 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Microsoft IT Academy to be part of NC state high school program
, MS forges ubiquitous IT Academny relationship with North Carolina
, will North Carolina lead to the way to general IT training at the high school level?
In this case, NC refers to the sovereign state of North Carolina, and MS is of course my old friend and familiar, Microsoft. Two press releases tell the story in some detail, but their headlines by themselves are enough to lead my blog in the direction in which I’d like it to go (in both headlines I italicize some key language, and in both cases the emphasis is mine, not Microsoft’s):
First, a brief explanation: The Microsoft IT Academy is a Microsoft-sponsored program that offers students the opportunity to acquire what the company calls “real-world technology skills” to help them get ready for college and, eventually also, the workplace. As part of the program, high-school teachers obtain access to elements of the Microsoft official learning curriculum but also get professional development support and resources to help them customize these materials for use in their classrooms. The only thing that’s not mentioned in these press releases is a donor for or source of computing equipment and facilities (without which these classes really can’t deliver the goods), so presumably that’s already available in NC’s high schools. A pilot program will begin, starting in January 2011, at 20 school districts around the state, and all of the state’s 600-plus high schools are expected to get with the program during the following school year.
I was a little disappointed to read further into these press releases and understand that the primary thrust of the IT Academy is on productivity software as evidenced in this quote from the State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, June St. Clair Atkinson:
The ability to effectively use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access is an essential skill in most businesses and offices today. I am pleased that North Carolina can provide this opportunity for teachers to improve their skills and for students to be career-ready. [Source: "Provide IT Training" release.]
Fortunately, the “All High Schools” item also mentions that students may have the opportunity to earn MCP credentials (which cover more main-line IT oriented topics that include Windows servers and desktops, as well as other Microsoft technology platforms and software development environments). The corresponding tools will be made available to “schools interested in offering more advanced technical certification,” and I can only hope that will ultimately include most, if not all, of the NC high schools if not immediately then over time.
Microsoft will also make its DramSpark program available to the NC high schools, which will allow students free access to Microsoft designer, developer and even gaming tools and training. Likewise, they will also implement CareerForward as well, a free Web-based learning program that was originally constructed as part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning efforts and includes information on career planning and development, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship so that students can get a sense of what life and work is like in IT not just as a vocation but also as a potential business.
Overall, this sounds pretty great. I only hope that the program as implemented lives up to its potential, so that other states take notice and get on this bandwagon.
November 16, 2010 6:19 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
get ready for MCCC on 11/18/2010
, MCCC visual tour
, Preview of MCCC
On Thursday, starting at 4:00AM PST (UCT -08:00), and running for 24 hours after that, you can partake of the live portion of the upcoming Microsoft Certified Career Conference (visit the registration page to sign up, and don’t forget that full-time students and MCPs or better get 50% off the $55 registration fee). I’ll be coordinating 1-hour-long chats with online attendees three times during that period, so do please drop in to ask questions, express opinions, or share your IT certification, training, and career experiences with others during these time slots (when I’ll be holding chats in the Backstage Channel chat area):
1. 06:15 – 07:15 CST (-06:00 UCT/GMT/Zulu time)
2. 11:45 – 12:45 CST
3. 16:45 - 17:45 CST
In the meantime, I’d like to share some screen caps of what the online conference environment looks like. When registrants enter the online conference login page and then log in, they land first in the conference Lobby:
Welcome to the MCCC Lobby
Looking at the various left-hand navigation elements, let’s chug through them one at a time:
The Agenda, offers cool color-coded filtering tools (I’ve got it set up to show the first two keynotes, having clicked the red button), so you can use it to select from all of the various tracks and offerings available while the online conference is underway. The next button (My Sessions) is where you can use the agenda to set your own schedule of activities while the conference is underway, so I’ll skip that one.
- The agenda uses color coding to filter items and activities
Each attendee can set up his or her own user profile for the conference (this is more important for speakers like me than it is for the rank and file, but it’s a great way to use the conference as a social networking medium as well as a learning medium, so I’m kind of jazzed to see how it works). Here’s what mine looks like, trimmed just to its display area at the right.
- Profile for your humble blogger
Services and the Career Fair (where MS says there will be hiring companies online trolling for candidates as well as job seekers galore — at last count, registration is hovering around 2,000 —) won’t be online until the conference goes live, so I’ll skip them, too. That takes us to the chats where I have custody of the “Backstage Channel” where users will be able to post questions throughout the whole conference and where I’ll be holding my online chat sessions.
- Chat areas for networking, students (attendees), conference topics, yours truly, and more!
Speakers get their own thumbnails in the area with the same name, where each thumbnail links to their profile. So far there are 37 speakers listed on this page, including some big names in career advice (Dick Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?) and all kinds of MS heavies (lots of MCTs, evangelists of many stripes, and all kinds of MS Learning folks, too).
- Only 9 of the 37 speakers fit onto a single screen (plenty more where those came from)
With the conference not yet live, there are no recordings to access. But once things get going, recordings will be posted within hours of session completion and the online materials will remain available for at least 90 days after the conference has completed. Thus, you’ll be able to return to the good stuff as often thereafter as you like.
[Note: I am working for the MCCC as a volunteer. I am not getting paid for this. So I'm not shilling (or selling out). I'm just trying to help create what I think will be a valuable and useful encounter for attendees, and a great laboratory for online conference activity.]
November 9, 2010 7:38 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
new look for SQL Server 2008 MCM
, SQL Server 2008 MCM no longer requires classroom training
, will elimination of classroom training requirement for SQL Server 2008 MCM set a precedent for other MCM offerings?
I had the good fortune yesterday (11/8/2010) to speak with Joseph Sack, a Program Manager for the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) credential on SQL Server 2008 . Sack comes by his position honestly, having toiled in the SQL Server trenches for over a decade, and having served as a Premier Field Engineer (PFE) for Microsoft before taking up his mantle as manager of this particular certification program. In fact, Sack earned his own MCM in the very first SQL Server program on that topic back in 2006 when they were still known as “SQL Rangers.” Sack is also active in the Professional Association for SQL Server (aka PASS), which is holding its 2010 Summit conference in Seattle, from October 8 (yesterday) through October 11 (Thursday).
The purpose of my conversation with Sack, as it turned it, is to help get the word out on a massive sea change in the SQL Server 2008 MCM program. Starting at mid-day today, Microsoft will no longer require candidates for this credential to attend a three-week, $18,500 training sequence to prepare for the credential. It also plans to start grooming its substantial community of existing SQL experts — of which Sack estimates there are “several hundred” in North America alone — to earn a SQL Server MCM by challenging its two exams and earning this credential sooner and more easily, rather than later (and more expensively).
For the record those two exams include a written portion ($500) and a demanding lab exam ($2,000) so this credential becomes neither a pushover nor incredibly cheap as a result of this change. But it does become much more reasonable for the sizable pool of existing SQL Server experts to opt into this program in a more timely (and affordable) fashion.
Sack has been incredibly busy revamping the program (especially the lab exam, with input from over two dozen world-class SQL Server subject matter experts, from both inside and outside Microsoft) and the new regime kicks in today. Be sure to visit the recently updated page at Microsoft Learning entitled “New Path to Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008” for more information that includes a detailed description of this program, and related exams and requirements. Interested readers will also find the MS information release SQL Server Masters Certification Goes Global noteworthy in this context as well.