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IT Certification 'Bang for the Buck'

There are lots of articles out there that talk about different certifications. But relatively few seem to ask, how valuable are those certifications when compared to the cost of obtaining them, and the of that certification in the IT marketplace. This articles asks the question "Which IT Certification have the most 'bang for the buck'?"

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Tech Certification Spotlight10

Tech Certification

Apple Aims for the Enterprise with New Certifications

Sunday August 19, 2012

Apple has made some major inroads in recent years into corporate America, thanks to the BYOD movement and the emergence of wireless technology. iPhones and iPads are now found in many corporate environments, and as more and more apps become cloud-based (think 'Salesforce.com'), the adoption of those devices is only likely to increase.

But from the perspective of desktop computing, Apple has never enjoyed a major presence in corporate America, and the progress of the Mac into the enterprise has been a lot slower that the iPhone. And since Apple pulled out of the server market a long time ago, Macs will need to be integrated into Windows environments - if Apple is ever going to garner any significant share of the corporate dollar.

To that end, Apple has introduced the Apple Certified Associate - Mac Integration 10.8. The Certified Associate is an entry-level certification, aimed squarely at integrating Mac computers and the OS X operating system into corporate Windows-based environments, thereby making it easier for corporations to use Macs in the workplace, without having to change out their underlying infrastructure.

To get the certification, candidates need to pass a single test, the Mac Integration Basics Exam (9L0-408).  The focus of Integration Basics is designed specifically to test the knowledge and ability of candidates to integrate Mac OS X - based computers into Windows environments. A quick survey of the study guide shows topics such as the integration of a Mac-based machine into Active Directory/Open Directory/LDAP environments, data migration between Window and Mac machines, using CIFS or NFS (for example) to connect to Windows file servers, connecting Macs to MS Exchange servers, and so forth.

The Apple Certified Associate is just the first step in the Apple Certification matrix, but it's a good first step both for Apple and for IT admins who want to encourage the adoption of Macs in the enterprise.

Is a VMware Certified Architect in the Cards?

Monday August 6, 2012

Just recently, VMware released the VMware Certified Professional  - Infrastructure as a Service (VCP - IAAS) certification. The VCP-IAAS is the first VMware certification focused on design, implementation and support of VMware-based platforms specifically used to support public-cloud infrastructure offerings.

VMware is far from the first manufacturer to offer certifications designed specifically for service providers. And, really, VMware still has quite a ways to go before its training and certification program rivals that of other providers such as Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, and quite a few others.

Which begs the question - since VMware appears to be attempting to gain parity with other leaders in the area of technical certification, it stands to reason that, at some point, they will likely introduce an Architect-level certification.

VMware already has an expert-level certification, the VMware Certified Design Expert, or VCDX. The VCDX is roughly equivalent, in terms of difficulty level and required candidate knowledge level, to the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). But both Cisco and Microsoft, for example, have now developed Architect-level certifications. In Cisco's case, the Cisco Certified Architect (CCA) is their highest level of certification. In the case of Microsoft, that certification is the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA).

So where is VMware? Clearly, VMware is a major industry leader, with a very popular and widely implemented technology, and a very large share of the virtualization market. And if any technology needs architect-level certifications, it's virtualization. With so much riding on enterprise virtualization platforms today, the need for architect-level professionals - who can design those platforms on a corporate-wide basis - is more critical now than ever, and that's not likely to change.

So, while an announcement from VMware is still forthcoming, it sure seems like this is the next logical step in the training and certification program. And here's hoping that they take that step in the relatively near future.

Vmware launches their first True cloud-focused certification

Monday July 30, 2012

If you've been following the rumor mill and blog posts over the last year, you know that VMware has been preparing a new certification focused specifically on the use of VMware to provide cloud services. Specifically, the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification was going to be expanded to encompass those professionals that provide cloud services to their customers.

To that end, VMware recently launched the beta of the VCP Infrastructure as a Service (VCP-IAAS) certification, aimed squarely at those professionals who support the VMware-based infrastructure that supports public cloud offerings. Before, VMware certifications such as the VCP and the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) were focused more on the use of VMware as a private virtualization platform. But, as the IT industry continues to move towards greater use of services, as opposed to internally-owned infrastructure, VMware recognized the need to place a greater focus on the skills required to support a public-cloud offering, with its own unique challenges and requirements.

Now, as of July 27th, that beta became a general release, and the VCP - IAAS is now being offered by VMware. The details are still a little scanty, but it can be assumed that the certification will follow the same general approach of the beta examination, which was comprised of 115 questions, with a maximum score of 300 on a scaled scoring system.

More details can be found at the VMware education blog, at http://blogs.vmware.com/education/2012/06/www.vmware.com/go/vcpiaas/

Austin Free-Net offers discounted CompTIA Certification Training

Monday July 30, 2012

For a lot of prospective IT professionals, the biggest challenge is usually just getting a foot in the door, and finding that first IT job. And for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas, the challenge is much greater. For those people, the first step is the hardest one to take.

Enter Austin Free-Net, or AFN. AFN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization located in Austin Texas, which provides technology education and support for people who want to begin careers in the information technology field, but lack the resources and knowledge required to get started. Along with other services, AFN essentially provides free access to the technology and training needed for people to gain a toe-hold in the information technology industry, and build their careers from there.

Now, AFN has begun offering IT certification courses, to enable aspiring IT pros to add specific IT certifications to their resume, to aid their job-hunting efforts and help them move up the IT career ladder. To start, the program is centered on three industry certifications from CompTIA - the A+, Network +, and Strata IT Fundamentals.

The courses themselves are instructor-led, and are offered in the Austin area only. And, unlike some of the other training offered by AFN, the classes aren't free. But they are significantly discounted. At a 40% discount from the rates typically offered by traditional training companies, the classes run $3,000. However, for students with a demonstrated financial need, AFN offers scholarships up to $2,700 - nearly the entire cost of the course.

Right now, the offering is limited to 12 students per class, and the classes run for 10 weeks. As mentioned above, the classes are only offered in the Austin area. But for aspiring IT professionals in the area who want to enter the IT field or enhance their careers, it's worth checking out. You can find more information at www.austinfree.net. Choose 'Continuing Education' from the top navigation bar.

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