Training and Certification

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Archive for March, 2011

Complimentary Exam Coaching Sessions from Microsoft

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 29, 2011

Recently, Microsoft has added several new recorded Live Meetings to their Learning website, including exam coaching sessions. Presented by Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs), these sessions include an overview of the technologies you can expect to find on exams, along with the skills that are measured.

Browse exam coaching sessions for:

  • Exchanger Server
  • SharePoint Server
  • SQL Server
  • .NET Framework
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Client

Enjoy!

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Microsoft is Introducing Enhanced Transcripts and Certificates!

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 29, 2011

Over the next couple of weeks, Microsoft will be updating their certification transcripts and certificates, and you’ll probably notice some small but in some cases significant changes.  For the full scoop and a sneak peek at the new look, keep reading!

Changes to Transcripts

Based on customer feedback, Microsoft is consolidating the certifications on your transcripts, uniquely identifying each of them, and adding an inactive date where appropriate. They will explain in detail, but first let’s do a before-and-after comparison:

Old Transcript

New Transcript

Notice how clean the new transcript looks on the right with certifications consolidated by track (MCITP, MCTS, MCSA: Security).  This should make your transcript much easier for you, your clients and employers to read and understand.

Next, notice how they’ve organized all the various versions of, for example, MCTS underneath the “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist” heading. Again, that’s to make the transcript easier to follow. Microsoft will call the top-level boldface certifications your “certification tracks,” and the different flavors underneath are your individual “certifications.” In the example above, “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist” is a certification track with two certifications (“SQL Server 2005” and “Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuration” underneath it.

Now some new pieces of information Microsoft is adding for each certification include:

1. Technology – This is the version of the product you’re certified on, for example Windows Server 2008.

2. Certification Number – This is like a serial number, uniquely identifying each certification you earn. It’s not your MCP ID—that’s your personal identifier—and it’s not the same thing as an exam number either. Someone else who earns the exact same certification will still have their own unique certification number—no two certification numbers are alike. (In case you’re wondering, certification numbers will be randomly generated—there’s no rhyme or reason to the numbers assigned). Microsoft is adding this field because it’s required for their ISO 17024 certification (yes, even certification programs can be certified themselves!), but the cool thing about it is that it gives them the potential to modify their transcript sharing tool down the line so that you can enable people to verify an individual certification without sharing your entire transcript (but that’s in the future).

3. Inactive Date – This is a big change: many of thier certifications now feature an “inactive date” which signifies either that your certification is no longer in mainstream demand, that Microsoft no longer supports the product on which the certification is based, or that you have not met recertification requirements (if any). You won’t always see this field on your transcript—only if and when they have determined an inactive date for that certification. For affected certifications, you’ll start seeing inactive dates show up in June. (You can find more information on inactive dates here.)

Let’s take a moment to discuss the Inactive Date, because I’m sure that some of you are reading that phrase and thinking “that’s Microsoft-speak for decertification date.” It isn’t—in fact, even if all of your certifications go inactive, you’ll still have access to your MCP benefits, and your inactive certifications will still appear on your transcript. All that’s changing is that Microsoft is signaling to you, your clients, and employers that these particular certifications have outlived their market relevance.  Just to clarify what they mean by market relevance is that in most cases Microsoft isn’t even supporting the technology through mainstream support.  In other cases, it may be that the way that the technology was used (many years ago or with cloud it could even be a few months ago) when it was first released has changed, because we all know that technology is ever evolving and changing at such a rapid pace.  This means the certification may have validated how to use the technology in a different way and since then we have not re-validated the skills necessary to use the technology in the market.

Changes to Certificates

Microsoft is making three small changes to their certificates, two of which mirror the changes they are making to the transcripts, specifically the certification number and inactive date. However, Microsoft is also adding a new piece of information that’s on your transcript today but not on your certificate: your certification achievement date. In other words, your certificate will now display the date on which you earned your certification. See below for an example of what this will look like:

If you’ve already printed or ordered your certificates, that’s fine—there’s no need for you to print or order replacements. (You can if you want to, of course, but the standard shipping fees apply if you choose to order one.) Just like with the transcripts, you’ll see these new changes in April (with the exception of the Inactive Dates, which will begin populating in June).

So that’s the complete rundown of what’s changing… so what do you think?

Source: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net

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CompTIA Certification for data/telephony networking

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 18, 2011

The CompTIA CTP+ exam proves competency in convergent technologies, including data networking, telephony networking and convergence networking. It replaces CompTIA Convergence+ as CompTIA’s convergent technologies exam.

CompTIA CTP+ is an international, vendor-neutral exam that validates the core knowledge and skills IT professionals need to sell and service convergent technologies. It covers basic requirements analysis, implementation and management of basic data components and voice and multimedia applications, as well as basic problem analysis and resolution for convergent technologies.

Although not a prerequisite for CompTIA CTP+ certification, it is recommended that candidates are CompTIA Network+ certified or have equivalent knowledge, as well as 18 to 24 months of work experience in areas that include data networking, telephony and other convergence-related technologies.

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Healthcare IT Certifications: Do You Need One?

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 10, 2011

As the healthcare industry makes the transition from paper-based systems to electronic health records, plenty of VARs, technology vendors and others have recognized a big opportunity to assist with the change. But do you need a specialized healthcare IT certification to help you stand out from the growing crowd?

Healthcare IT Certifications: Do You Need One?

The healthcare industry’s transition from paper-based records and legacy computer systems to modern electronic health records (EHR) is creating new opportunities for vendors and channel partners alike. Recognizing the emerging trend, some organizations are even developing certifications around healthcare IT skills and providing training and exams for EHR and other healthcare technology. However, the certifications available are still flying fairly low on the radar and there’s a question mark hanging over the need for such certifications.

And it depends on who you ask. For instance, CompTIA is developing just such a certification, and representatives at that organization believe it will help individuals and solution providers stand out from the crowd that is trying to usher physicians into a new technological era.

However David Foote co-founder, chief research officer and CEO of Foote Partners, which tracks more than 200 IT certifications and credentials, doesn’t see the need for such a certification. Foote Partners isn’t yet tracking any IT certifications specifically related to healthcare, he told Channel Insider.

“It’s very interesting to me that somebody would want to do that. I’m not aware of many certifications that are attached to industries rather than technologies or particular solutions,” Foote said.

Foote noted that he is aware of and follows organizations such as Epic Systems that specialize in EHR and healthcare IT deployments, but even vendor-specific certifications haven’t appeared there yet. Most IT certifications in the healthcare industry are the traditional ones from the likes of Microsoft, Cisco Systems and other IT vendors that sell heavily into the healthcare space, but those certifications are the same ones being attained by IT professionals throughout the IT workforce.

Although Foote noted there is a demand for IT professionals with EHR skills and experience, he’s not seeing a demand for certifications in the area. In fact, Foote Partners’ research indicates a decreasing interest in certifications overall, with average salaries based on certifications continuing on a downward trend.

“You don’t need to be certified to demonstrate your knowledge in any one area. You don’t have to be certified. In fact, the world has moved away from certifications to some degree over the last three to four years,” Foote said.

With economic recovery dollars available from the government, though, some organizations are seeing an opportunity for IT professionals with health IT skills to stand out from the crowd. One of those organizations is CompTIA (www.comptia.org), which is currently developing the CompTIA Healthcare IT for Electronic Health Records program and certification.

CompTIA Introduces Healthcare IT Certification

In January, CompTIA announced it was looking for EHR subject matter experts to help develop a health IT certification, but the concept for the certification actually started to take shape in 2009 following the Economic Recovery Act’s introduction. According to Gretchen Koch, senior director of workforce development programs at CompTIA, there was an expectation that the health IT technician field would experience growth of between 50,000 and 200,000 new jobs. The new EHR systems would have to be planned, deployed and then maintained, so the jobs also would not be going away.

CompTIA is a strong supporter of education and certifications (its own and vendor-specific ones), and so it’s not surprising the association began working towards creating a healthcare IT credential. The certification will go through its next review between March 14 and 18, and CompTIA expects to launch the certification program later this year.

“It’s very important for the successful transition. It’s very important for the doctors, who if they don’t make the transition, will be penalized in terms of the amount of money they get back from the government for Medicare and Medicaid. It’s very important for the health information exchanges that the country is looking to set up in order to make healthcare more effective, but also to just cut the costs of healthcare,” Koch said.

The transition of medical records from paper to digital format requires specialized knowledge and skills, and a certification can prove to employers or clients that a technician has the appropriate skills, she said.

“There have been certificates in health IT from the healthcare side for a long time. Organizations like AHIMA and HIMSS have been putting out health IT credentials from the healthcare side for quite some time. As far as I know, CompTIA’s going to be one of the first to do it from the IT side of health,” Koch said.

According to Koch, the proper integration of EHR data and systems is all about providing meaningful use for doctors and other medical personnel. When healthcare professionals are looking for an integrator who can develop the systems in an appropriate way, certifications will enable them to identify integrators who have been trained and know how to do it.

Source: Channel Insider

Posted in Certifications, CompTIA | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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