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.
November 5, 2010 5:14 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
, computer orensics certifications
I’m up to my armpits in revising the Sybex book Computer Forensics JumpStart into a second edition at the moment, and have almost gotten through the entire first draft as of today. One of the more interesting exercises in this book was to talk about available certifications in the area of computer forensics, and I’m very pleased to say that I came up with two very good ones (the CFCE and the PCI) that Anne Martinez missed in her introduction of the brand-new Certified E-Discovery Specialist (aka CEDS, which made its debut on 11/1/2010) in her latest newsletter. Of course, that only makes us even, because she alerted me to a couple about which I had been unaware).
Here’s a combined list of the items you’ll find in Appendix C of our upcoming book (due out in January 2011) and in Anne’s most recent newsletter, in alphabetical order with links (asterisked items are in my book, but not on Anne’s list; items with a plus didn’t get onto my radar until Anne pointed them out to me in her article):
- AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE)
- Certified Computer Examiner (CCE)
- Certified Digital Forensics Examiner (CDFE)
- Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS)+
- Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)*
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI EC-Council)
- Certified ProDiscover Examiner (CPE)
- CyberSecurity Forensic Analyst (CSFA)+
- EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) and EnCase Certified eDiscovery Practitioner (EnCEP)
- GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)
- Professional Certified Investigator (PCI)*
Who says that two heads aren’t better than one? Actually, it’s really three heads, because I ran my list past Neil Broom, the principal behind the Technical Resource Center for Computer Forensics, and a co-author and technical editor for our book. The result is a pretty comprehensive list of computer forensics certifications that are not just currently available (there are more, including the dangling remains of some now defunct credentials in this area) but also worth researching, and possibly even earning. FWIW, Neil’s opinion is that the CCE and the CHFI are the best of the vendor neutral bunch, and he also gives the ProDiscover and EnCase vendor-specific credentials the nod as well. As for the rest, dig in and draw your own conclusions, knowing that most of them have been around for three or more years.
November 4, 2010 8:48 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel to run Q&A panels for Microsoft Certified Career Conference
, great career development info at Microsoft Certified Career Conference
, Microsoft Certified Career Conference
After prolonged and interesting discussions with Microsoft Learning, I’m going to pitch in and help out with their upcoming career day conference on November 18 (two weeks from today, in fact). My role will be to attend online, and blog to report on what’s going on, and to hold three different one-hour chat sessions to answer questions and provide information and advice from a non-MS “help your career” perspective. MCPs and students enrolled at a recognized higher learning program (usually based on their email addresses AFAIK) can get half of the conference’s $55 registration fee waived with corresponding proof of one or the other (visit the link in the first sentence of this blog to get all the details).
What’s interesting about this 24-hour, round-the-clock training and cert extravaganza is that everything is going to be recorded and will remain available to attendees for the foreseeable future. As far as I can tell, this is a lot of potentially interesting and useful content for a very little money. That’s why I’ve decided to chip in and help out, and why I hope you’ll attend yourself, and let your friends, colleagues, co-workers, and family members know about it too. See you there online!