Training and Certification

Rubel Khan's Blog

Free E-Book Offer from Microsoft Press

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 31, 2012

Own Your Future: Update Your Skills with Resources and Career Ideas from Microsoft by Katherine Murray

FREE e-book!

Chances are that you are like many students who are wondering what the marketplace will look like when you finally have that diploma. With so many candidates searching for jobs in IT right now, how can you increase your chances of being the chosen candidate for your dream job?

Take charge of your career by reading this free Microsoft Press e-book, which is filled with tips on training, certifications, career opportunities, and how to market yourself.

Good luck!


Posted in Certifications | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

CompTIA certification testing moving to a single vendor (VUE)

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 6, 2012

To simplify the overall testing experience for certification candidates, CompTIA exams will be delivered exclusively with Pearson VUE via their network of more than 5,000 testing centers in 165 countries, effective July 9. CompTIA certification exams will no longer be available at Prometric testing centers at that time. Moving exclusively to Pearson VUE will provide certifications candidates with one point of contact to serve all of their testing needs.

Posted in Microsoft | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oracle Certification Program News!

Posted by Rubel Khan on February 25, 2012

Oracle Certification E-MagazineFebruary 2012

Posted in Certifications, Oracle | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Rubel Khan on February 13, 2012

According to the recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate is still over 8%. These people are our neighbors, our friends, and our family; representing each demographic in terms of age, education and talent. There is probably only one thing that unites them all: they do not possess one of the 10 most sought after certifications in the Information Technology (IT) job market.

The ten most critical certifications that would assure Americans jobs and advancement in the IT marketplace are:

  1. Project Management Professional (PMP) manages projects to a successful conclusion, on-time, on-budget, and using the resources allocated.
  2. Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certifications validate your skills in deploying, designing, and maintaining Microsoft technology such as Windows, SQL, SharePoint and Exchange.
  3. CompTIA’s A+ certification indicates competency to install networks, conduct preventative maintenance, secure them and troubleshoot them.
  4. Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA) installs, configures, runs and troubleshoots medium-sized routed and switched networks.
  5. Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) cortication validate your skills on implementing and troubleshooting a particular Microsoft Server technology, such as Windows, SQL, SharePoint and Exchange.
  6. CompTIA’s Network+ certification demonstrates competency to manage, maintain, troubleshoot, install and configure basic network infrastructures.
  7. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) validates the ability to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks and work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless and video solutions.
  8. NetApp Certified Data Management Administrator (NCDA) have proven skills in performing in-depth support, administrative functions, and performance management for NetApp storage appliances running the Data ONTAP® operating system in NFS and Windows® (CIFS) multiprotocol environments.
  9. IT Infrastructure Library certification (ITIL) demonstrates the expertise of professionals in tech management with a three tiered program of basic, intermediate and advanced certification.
  10. CompTIA’s Security+ certification demonstrates knowledge of system security, network infrastructure, access control and organizational security.

Although the above certifications may not guarantee you a job (extenuating circumstances must be taken into account), they certainly improve your chances of gaining meaningful and stable employment.

Posted in Certifications | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Free Private Cloud Jump Start Training! Register Now!

Posted by Rubel Khan on February 13, 2012

Are you interested in attending two (2) days of free Cloud Training?

Over 4,000 global IT Professionals registered for the February 21-22, 2012 offering! To accommodate demand, Microsoft is running this course again on April 3-4, 2012. You don’t want to miss it, so register now!

Microsoft Learning and the Microsoft System Center 2012 team are partnering to bring provide IT Professionals an exciting opportunity to learn what they need to know to deploy, manage and maintain Microsoft’s private cloud solution. Leveraging the popular Jump Start virtual classroom approach, the industry’s most gifted cloud experts will show attendees why this new private cloud solution, based on System Center 2012 and Windows Server, has garnered so much attention. Here are the details:

  • Date/Time: April 3-4, 2012 from 9:00am – 5:00pm PST | NEWLY ADDED
    IMPORTANT: The Feb. 21-22, 2012 class is fully booked and closed to new registrations
  • Where: Live virtual classroom (online from wherever you are)
  • Cost: FREE!
  • Target audience: IT Professionals (IT Implementers, managers, decision makers)



Day 1: Deployment & Configuration
Part 1: Understanding the Microsoft Private Cloud
Part 2: Deploying the Infrastructure Components
Part 3: Deploying the Private Cloud Infrastructure
Part 4: Deploying the Service Layer
Part 5: Deploying the Applications & VMs

Day 2: Management & Operations
Part 6: Managing the Infrastructure Components
Part 7: Managing the Private Cloud Infrastructure
Part 8: Managing the Service Layer
Part 9: Managing the Applications & VMs

Students have the opportunity to learn from and interact with the industry’s best cloud technologists! This high-energy, demo-rich learning experience will help IT Professionals understand why Microsoft private cloud solutions are making a splash in the industry. Here are the instructors for this two-day event!

  • Symon Perriman, Microsoft Technical Evangelist
  • Kenon Owens, Technical Product Manager, System Center Cloud and Datacenter Infrastructure
  • Adam Hall, Senior Technical Product Manager, System Center Application Management
  • Sean Christensen, Senior Technical Product Manager, System Center Service Delivery & Automation
  • Anant Sundaram, Senior Product Manager, System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management

What’s a “Jump Start” Course?
Training specifically designed for experienced technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations. Check out recordings of the Office 365 Jump Start and the Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals, too!

Register now for the Private Cloud Jump Start

Source: Microsoft Learning – Born To Learn

Posted in Microsoft Learning | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Employers value business skills as much as tech certifications

Posted by Rubel Khan on December 4, 2011

For IT Pros, Business Savvy Trumps Certifications: Foote

DATE: 2011-12-01 | By Ericka Chickowski

Having certifications may have led to higher salaries for IT professionals in the past, but the latest report from Foote Partners finds that business skills may be just as valuable.

IT skill certifications don’t hold the same value as they did during rosier economic times, according to the latest report from IT employment and consulting firm Foote Partners. 

Global instability and a lack of confidence in the U.S. economy are leading to a flattening of salaries between workers who have IT certifications and those who bring noncertified skills to the table.

In its IT Skills and Certification Pay Index report for the third quarter, released Nov. 29, the firm finds that 13% of noncertified skills got an increase in pay premiums over the last year while the same was true for only 5% of certified skill sets.

While in the past, simply having a string of accreditations displayed on a business card might be enough to bump up salaries, the current business environment asks for more, says David Foote, co-founder of Foote Partners.

“Private corporations may be holding on tightly to something like $2.5 million in liquid assets, but they have definitely been spending on skills and people during the recovery, albeit heavily in the services industry and in selective internal hires, The drivers for skills and talent acquisition in evidence today are more unique and compelling than prior downturns and won’t easily crumble under pressure,” Foote says.   

Most companies, he says, are hiring for vacant positions or looking internally for candidates. This kind of pressure forces companies to look less at specialists and more at what Foote Partners calls a “hybrid IT business professional.” Instead of candidates with specific certified skills, hiring managers are seeking candidates not only with a strong IT background, but also skills in business, sales and even marketing.

According to Foote, fewer than 20 percent of all IT professionals today now work within the walls of what could be considered the traditional IT department. And IT workers who are entrenched in the workings of other business units will need a diverse set of skills to continue to grow.

“They have not been valuing certified skills as much as they have those that are without certification, where the experience and on-the-job performance of a person accounts for more ‘juice’ in hiring and skills acquisition decisions than having an acronym on one’s business card,” Foote says.

Posted in Microsoft | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Updates to the Program Management Professional (PgMP) Credential Exam

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 26, 2011

The Program Management Professional (PgMP)® credential will be updated on 1 February 2012, based on updates to the professional role of a PgMP® recently found in PMI’s Role Delineation Study (RDS). The PgMP® RDS is the foundation on which this professional credential is based. Learn more about the PgMP RDS.

What do I need to know about the changes to the PgMP credential and examination?

  • The release date for the new PgMP exam has been changed from 1 January 2012 to 1 February 2012, to accommodate testing needs of PgMP candidates currently in the pipeline. The last day to take the current PgMP examination will be 20 January 2012.
  • As with any credential exam update that results from a RDS, exam reports will not be available to candidates immediately after they take the new exam. Candidates who take the exam after 1 February will receive exam reports by the end of May. This delay is required in order to validate the new exam structure. Once the new exam structure is validated, candidates will again receive their results immediately after completing the exam.
  • To implement the new exam efficiently, candidates will not be able to sit for the PgMP exam between 21 January and 31 January 2012. This period where the exam will be temporarily unavailable ensures Prometric facilities are appropriately administering the new PgMP exam across all testing centers globally on 1 February 2012.

What PgMP resources are available to update training and courseware?

  • If you are preparing training or courseware for people who plan to take the new PgMP examination after 1 February 2012, you can access a complimentary electronic copy of the PgMP Examination Content Outline, formerly titled the PgMP Examination Specification.
  • The current PgMP application will remain available until 31 January 2012. A preview of the new PgMP application has been made available so that candidates can choose which set of Experience Summaries they wish to answer and prepare accordingly. New PgMP applications will start to be processed on 1 February 2012.
  • If you are a candidate, trainer, or if you need to communicate about the PgMP exam update within your organization or community, be prepared by reading our frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • To learn more about the relationship of domains and tasks between the current and new delineation please review the Comparison of New Delineation of Program Management Professional with Current Delineation.

What if I want to take the current version of the PgMP examination?

  • Be sure to submit your completed PgMP application and payment for your examination in time to schedule your examination at a Prometric testing center prior to 20 January 2012.
  • In order to implement the new exam efficiently, candidates will not be able to sit for the PgMP exam between 21 January and 31 January 2012. This period where the exam will be temporarily unavailable ensures Prometric facilities are appropriately administering the new PgMP exam across all testing centers globally on 1 February 2012.

What if I am preparing for the new version of the PgMP examination?

If you have not yet completed your PgMP application…

Be advised that the PgMP application will change 1 February 2012. The current PgMP application requires 8 Experience Summaries for Panel Review. The new PgMP application features 5 new Experience Summaries.

New PgMP applications will start to be processed on 1 February 2012. A preview of the new PgMP Application has been made available so that candidates can choose which set of Experience Summaries they wish to answer and prepare accordingly.

If you have submitted your completed PgMP application, but have not yet paid for your exam…
Please be sure to submit payment for your examination and schedule your examination at a Prometric testing center on or after 1 February 2012.

If you have submitted your PgMP application and examination fees…
Please be sure to schedule your examination at a Prometric testing center on or after 1 February 2012.

Delivery of Exam Results

As we transition to the new examination, PMI must update its examination reporting processes. This means for a period of time examination results will not be available immediately following the examination.

  • All candidates who take the updated examination on or after 1 February 2012 will not receive immediate results at the Prometric testing center.
  • All candidates can expect to receive their examination results by 31 May 2012.
  • Once PMI validates the new examination structure, we will be able to resume providing individuals with immediate results at the Prometric testing center.
  • Each PgMP candidate will receive a communication to notify them when their results are available at


Posted in Certifications | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Will IT certs get you jobs and raises? Survey says yes

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 15, 2011

60% of IT professionals surveyed say a certification led to a new job, and half say it gave a salary boost. But some certs are more valuable than others.

By Julie Bort, Network World – November 14, 2011

Debate rages among IT professionals over the value of certifications, but a survey of 700 network professionals jointly conducted by Network World and SolarWinds may help put that argument to rest. Among those who earned certifications, most saw a significant boost in their careers as a result.

Some 60% said a certification led to a new job; 50% said they earned more pay, with 40% saying their pay increased by more than 10% directly because of a certification; and 29% said a cert led to a promotion.

Respondents also offered advice on when to get certifications and which ones to get. Interestingly, they named Cisco certifications as both the most, and the least, valuable.

FULL SURVEY RESULTS: Survey: IT certifications lead to jobs, higher pay 

"I have certifications, and yes they’ve been a big help to me," says Jeff Schoonmaker, a junior network administrator in Portland, Ore., who has a Cisco CCNA, a Microsoft MCITP (Enterprise Desktop Administrator) and the CompTIA A+. Schoonmaker has been an IT professional for a little over a year and says his CCNA helped land him his job and the MCITP has already led to a promotion. He’s working on his CCNP, and when he achieves that, he’ll get another promotion.

"As far as my career is concerned, certifications are huge. I will continue to chase certs from Microsoft and Cisco throughout my career," he says.

Half of respondents said they pursued certifications to get a promotion or to be eligible for a new job. "My company wanted a Microsoft-certified IT manager, so the MCSA helped me get the job I am currently in," said one respondent. "I was able to stay working for a defense contractor when one contract expired by moving to a different contract due to the certifications I held," another said.

Since three-quarters of respondents had certifications, that means one-quarter (26%) saw no value in them. "I have no certs to my name at all. I do have an MBA. I have been in IT hardware and network admin/engineer roles for over a decade now without a single piece of paper related to the field. You learn as you go, better than you learn in some stupid classroom," commented James7360 on a Spiceworks forum.

But James7360 is in the minority. Even network professionals earning the highest wages — more than $110,000 — had as many, or more, certs as those in lower salary brackets.

That’s not to say that the certs themselves are solely responsible for these high salaries. Those earning the most money also had more years of experience (75% had more than 10 years) and more traditional education (25% had a master’s degree, compared to 11% in the lower salary brackets).

But even so, among the highest-paid IT professionals who had certs, 58% said a cert led to a salary boost or bonus, 63% said it led to a promotion, and 30% to a new job. These numbers are similar to those in the lower salary brackets, who also overwhelmingly said that certs lead to a salary boost or bonus (55%), new job (62%), or promotion (27%).

Those earning the highest wages, $110,000 or more a year, were also more likely to have particularly difficult (and expensive) certifications, like the CCIE, RHCE or CISSP.

"I have had a certification lead to a new job or promotion, the CISSP, which isn’t even a technical certification. It really teaches how to control and translate security into business objectives. But it is required for a lot of security jobs and has requirements like ongoing education in order to maintain it," says Lee Eddy II, a senior security analyst in Redwood City, Calif., with more than 10 years of experience as an IT professional. The CISSP helped Eddy land a job with a big salary increase, and is mandated for most of the higher-paid jobs in his field, he says.

The value of a certification clearly depends on a lot of factors. Some hiring managers want them more than others, and timing is an issue, too.

"I’d have to say certs tend to be more valuable when they are coupled with the building of experience," says Craig Norborg, a network engineer for Trowbridge & Trowbridge, Albuquerque, N.M., with more than 15 years of experience and a variety of certs, including the CCNP, CCDA, MCSE, SCP (Solarwinds Certified Professional) and others.

"If you get them too early, people think they’re book certs. If you get them too late, you’re just proving what you already know, which may not be required," Norborg points out. "Employers are pretty suspicious of many high-end certs from a young person, or someone just entering the field."

The difficulty of the certs and the type of technology they cover can also add value – or not. "My MCSE hasn’t really done anything for me. My last two employers actually would rather I not touch servers, but instead specialize in networking," Norborg says. Note that for Windows Server 8 and beyond, Microsoft has discontinued its umbrella MCSE certification in favor of a range of technology-specific, MCITP certs.

In a survey of network professionals, it’s not surprising that certifications on network technology were the most popular and deemed the most valuable. Some 67% of respondents had earned one, with Cisco certifications far and away the most popular. Forty-four percent of those making more than $110,000 had the ultra-hard (and expensive) CCIE. Among those with lower salaries, only 4% had earned it. Microsoft certs were held by 39% overall, and the CompTIA Network+ by almost one quarter.

Cisco certifications were named the most valuable – leading to more promotions, new jobs or pay raises than any other. But, oddly, Cisco certifications were also named among the least valuable.

"I do think networking certifications are the most valuable when coupled with some real-world experience. I wouldn’t have gotten my last two positions without them," Norborg says. "It also depends on the cert itself. CCNA is OK. CCNP, CCDA and CCDP are better. I’m sure CCIE is even better, but once again, they’d be suspicious of a very young person with one."

Eddy adds: "The reason Cisco certs are seen as most valuable and least valuable is that it depends on the certification. The CCNA is entry-level and easy to get, but the CCIE is still hard and a lot of employers want it."

Security certifications also came in strong. Over one-third of respondents had one, with the CompTIA Security+ the most common. Among respondents making more than $110,000 annually, security certifications were held by 38%, particularly the CCSP, earned by 36% of this group. In comparison, only 9% of those making less than $110,000 had the CCSP but 32% had the CompTIA Security+.

The least popular certifications were for network management technology – only 17% of our 700 respondents had one. While network management is often categorized as a mid-level job, surprisingly, those that earned the biggest salaries, over $110,000, were far more likely to have one (40%) than those under $110,000 (22%).

Linux certifications and sysadmin/virtualization certifications came in as middle of the pack in both popularity and value.

Least popular of all were certs involving virtualization technology from Citrix or Red Hat.

Beyond jobs and promotions, some certification holders felt that certs had other value. One said, "As I’m the only member of IT staff here, people have become aware of the more complicated jobs I perform here, having seen the certifications I’ve passed."

Twenty-seven percent of survey respondents said they chose to get a certification simply to learn about the technology, not to pocket more dough. While no one argues that a cert is more valuable than hands-on experience, "they can be helpful when implementing a new technology," Eddy says. "One of the things I like to negotiate with a new purchase order is that the vendor throws in the certification on their product."

He also says he gets the most value out of live classroom training. In a group setting, people will experience and troubleshoot a wider variety of problems as they learn. It will also help you build a network of other users to call on when you need it.

For more details on which certifications impact jobs and pay, see the full survey results.

Posted in Certifications | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Suggestions for Taking a High-Stakes IT Exam #Certification #Exam #Preparation

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 11, 2011

Part I: Exam Prep By Janet Pinkerton

1) Know your exam. Carefully read the exam description details to build your exam prep strategy. What are exam objectives or subjects covered? What question formats will be used: multiple-choice, simulated scenarios, essays or fill in the blank? How many questions will be in each exam section? How much time is given to complete the exam? How will the exam be graded?

2) Ask yourself: What kind of learner am I? How much do I know? Answering these questions can help you decide what tools to use to prepare for the exam. Test prep options include assessment software, instructor-led training, eLearning, books for classroom use and self-study, and computer-based materials.

3) Dedicate Time to Prepare. Give yourself a matter of weeks, not days, for preparation. Create and commit to a realistic schedule of study time blocks that are less likely to be disrupted by work or life events. Aim for balance with time management. If you neglect your personal or work life, you may add unwanted stress that will make it more difficult to study effectively.

4) Study in short blocks of time. Experts say the maximum human attention span is about 45 minutes and the average is about 20 to 30 minutes. Be good to yourself and take long breaks between study times.

5) Use multiple study/preparation resources, especially if you are a beginner. No single exam preparation resource is the best at covering every exam subject. Each has its strengths and weaknesses—both in approach and subject coverage. Using multiple preparation resources will help ensure that you cover all the subjects contained in a high-stakes exam.

6) Use high-quality preparation resources. For CompTIA certification exams, study with books and study guides reviewed by industry experts and approved by CompTIA through the CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) program. These materials are considered the best resource for self-study for an exam. Use the Search form here to find CAQC Study Materials. Be careful when purchasing study guides from second-hand sellers (on eBay or Craigslist, for example); make sure the materials directly apply to the exam you plan to take.

7) Drill, Baby, Drill! Drill with sample questions and exams to identify problem areas where more study is needed and reinforce the information you already understand. Sample questions for CompTIA exams can be obtained here. You can also purchase and practice questions online with authorized providers of certification practice tests. Beware of websites offering “exact copies” of real exam questions; experts say these typically provide no educational value and are often incorrect.

8) Time yourself. Timed exam practice help you get used to taking exams under time pressure.

9) Get Hands-on! Give yourself plenty of hands-on IT experience to reinforce study prep and also to prepare for long-term career success. Hands-on experience can range from working on projects in a home or school lab to shadowing experienced computer or network IT “gurus.”

10) Be Proactive and Think Positive. Exam anxiety is common, but careful preparation through study, drills and hands-on experience can dissolve the fears involved with high-stakes testing. If you are anxious about the exam environment itself, get information from your testing center about what to expect, what’s allowed, what’s prohibited in the testing room. Some testing centers even offer a “test drive” —a chance to experience the test center and go through all the testing procedures before the actual exam.

Source: CompTIA Blog

Posted in Certifications, Cisco, CompTIA, Microsoft | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Lammle’s CompTIA Network+ Study Guide is coming soon

Posted by Rubel Khan on October 31, 2011

The 2011 edition of the Network+ exam, N10-005, is its first major revision since 2009. To coincide with the new version, Todd Lammle has written a new edition of his CompTIA Network+ Study Guide. As well as covering 100% of the exam’s objectives, the networking guru offers invaluable insights and tips drawn from his own real-world experience to help students succeed the first time.

Posted in Certifications, CompTIA | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: