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Do IT certifications have positive influence on salaries?

Posted by imateski on August 3, 2010

From the professional groups at Linkedin, and from some face to face conversations I’ve had, it seems that there’s a general opinion that IT certificates don’t mean as much as they did several years ago. Some say that IT certifications do not make any difference in the employment process, i.e. it doesn’t make any difference if you have an IT certificate or not. Others say that industry specific IT certs don’t have any influence on paychecks.
Although in some cases both these claims are true, I still think that having an IT cert (generally speaking) has positive influence both in the employment process and later on with the paycheck. But, who am I to tell you what’s true and what’s not, right? Read on and see what others say.

Following text from
A Foote Partners report finds certified and noncertified pay rates rose unexpectedly in the second quarter for 2010, but notes market volatility is likely to continue to impact hiring practices in the IT sector.
Pay for 219 individual IT certifications displayed an unexpected gain in the second quarter of 2010 (April through June), the first quarterly increase since the same period in 2006, according to a recently published quarterly update of Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index (ITSCPI) of market values for 449 certified and noncertified IT and business skills. Meanwhile, premium pay for 230 noncertified skills posted a second straight gain, returning to solid quarterly growth that began in 2004 but faltered briefly during the economic recession.

Also published this week were updates to Foote Partners IT Skills and Certifications Volatility Index, which measures and compares volatility in market values for certified and noncertified skills from 2007 through July 2010. The 2nd Quarter 2010 market volatility score of 32 percent remains virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, an improvement compared to the all-time highest index of 38.7 percent recorded last summer. The research firm noted volatility index scores of between 14 percent and 19 percent posted in quarterly returns from 2004 to 2008 have been considered normal market behavior heretofore.

David Foote, Foote Partners co-founder, CEO and Chief Research Officer and publisher of the report, said he believes this sudden burst in certifications market is an aberration and simply further evidence of highly volatile and uncertain conditions in the market for skills at the moment, and said he’d like to be able to report broader optimism in the labor market for certified professionals but can’t.

“There’s nothing in our research that points to any of the usual factors being in place that can sustain a more expansive turnaround in certification pay that has been on a steady decline for the past five years,” he said. “Until that happens, from time to time you can expect to see short-term certification demand spurts like we saw in the 2nd quarter with specific specializations in applications development, networking and security.”

Noncertified IT skill categories, which led a 1.7 percent average increase in pay premiums for 230 skills in Q2 2010 (April, May and June) include systems and networking skills (+3 percent in market value), applications development skills (+2.4 percent) and management, methodology and process skills (+2.2 percent). Specific IT certification categories saw a modest 0.5 percent increase in pay premiums across 219 certifications for the same period, with beginner and training certifications rising 5.6 percent in market value, followed by system administration and engineering certifications (+1.1 percent) and applications development certifications (+0.8 percent).

“As we’ve mentioned before, accelerated transition to new workforce models and IT service delivery systems is driving a lot of the current market. Employers have been struggling with transforming the IT workforce for years, trying to become more agile, flexible and responsive to the business,” Foote said. “This skills market volatility is a sure sign that employers are taking advantage of a rare window of opportunity to think through and execute on new staffing models that don’t have full-time hiring as a central component.”


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We’ll All Work for a Tech Vendor One Day

Posted by imateski on April 12, 2010

We’ll All Work for a Tech Vendor One Day | CIO – Blogs and Discussion

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There’s a new-ish adage making the rounds in tech journalism that’s unfortunately becoming more accurate with each passing day. It goes something like this: “We’re all going to be working for a high-tech vendor some day.”

Some of my fellow journalists here at IDG (’s parent company) have left the fourth estate and are now receiving their paychecks from the same vendors they used to cover. Those jobs are in marketing, public relations or social media strategy. Several I’ve spoken with seem not unhappy with their move—the pay is certainly better.

Some have said they occasionally miss the daily excitement and objectivity of their previous roles. That sinking feeling enveloping the media? Yeah, they don’t miss that.

Taking a gaze at today’s tea leaves, it would not be reckless to hypothesize that more corporate IT workers might be making the same career move in the near future.

As I reported in Why the New Normal Could Kill IT, Gartner is predicting that cloud computing will become so pervasive by 2012 that 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets at all.

In a recent blog post, Michael Krupa, technical director for HR Technology and a former IT consultant, compares the IT support requirements of traditional, on-premise software versus SaaS. His verdict? “SaaS applications do not require as much IT support as on-premise solutions,” Krupa offers. “My experience with SaaS applications show that you no longer need IT datacenter support, database administration support, application infrastructure support and application development support (with the exception of interfaces).”

“Poof. Gone. No longer needed,” he adds, rather dramatically.

Other technologies such as virtualization will reduce IT hardware and, presumably, the headcount needed to manage the hardware.

Vendors of today are transforming into the “Supervendors” of tomorrow. A recent Wall Street Journal article examines the “handful of cash-rich companies that are consolidating power in the technology industry, using their wealth to expand into new businesses and making it harder for small and midsize competitors to break through.”

Those companies? Apple, Oracle, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, IBM. They are stockpiling cash, acquiring assets and tech innovation, and fortifying their power. They’ll likely need more techies, who won’t be needed as much inside enterprise IT departments.

Paradoxically, IT is reaping all that it has sewn over the years. I covered this in an article last fall, More Jobs Vanish: IT’s Gains Are Real People’s Losses. In sum: The painful, perhaps unintended consequence of realizing technology’s aspirations and capabilities is that many people will go without jobs or will have to radically alter their skills and professions, because there is simply no need for their old skills anymore. This owes to technology’s relentless march toward cheaper, faster, better.

These developments aren’t all necessarily cataclysmic occurrences, though. Many of the hard-core techies once relegated to fixing loathsome PEBKAC issues will now be able to strut their stuff at software vendors, coding their little hearts out on the next new cloud app or creating the next software-delivery mechanism.

Or their jobs will change dramatically (just as journalists have witnessed), as columnist Bernard Golden writes in Cloud and The Death of the Sysadmin: “As software becomes more complex, and demands the scalability of the cloud, IT’s auto mechanic of today, the sysadmin, will disappear. Tomorrow’s sysadmin will be more like a physician.”

Hey, it could be much worse. Believe me, I know.

By Thomas Wailgum

Posted in Career Development, News Releases | 1 Comment »

Adobe Certified Expert: Photoshop CS3

Posted by imateski on March 30, 2010

The undisputed leader in graphics software for a long time now is the famous Adobe Photoshop. Mastering this application is a sure job winner for anyone who wants to get involved with graphics design in the print, online and even video media. The only limit as to what Photoshop can do is your knowledge of the program.

Adobe, as other software vendors, offers certificates that verify the knowledge of anyone who wants to stand out in the crowd of people trying to get into design-oriented jobs. For this reason, Adobe has started two tracks: the Adobe Certified Associate, which verifies that the cert holder has entry level knowledge, and the Adobe Certified Expert which testifies that the cert holder has expert-level knowledge of application.

Why certify?

Well, consider this: there are literally thousands of people who have some knowledge of photo editing, and all of them can apply for a graphics design position in the local design/web studio. They can all have portfolios, but not all of them thought of pursuing a certification. Going this extra mile will set you apart from the crowd as the Adobe Certified Expert in Photoship CS3, and your employability will skyrocket. The added value is that the rigid program will take you to places in Photoshop you wouldn’t normally go, and in this way you’ll learn some great ways on improving productivity and expanding your creativity, which will also set you apart from the crowd that follows tutorials and has the “me too” approach to life.

Getting certified literally saves your career.

Why ITCL test simulators?

The Adobe Certified Expert Photoshop CS3 test simulators pack offers an enormous wealth of knowledge and it also offers you the real test experience, as all four test simulators have 70 questions that you need to take for 90 minutes. At the end of the test, you get a scoring table followed by great explanations for each question so you can see how you did, and learn from the mistakes. The advantage you get from the ITC Lounge product is the well known 4-times-more-info slogan, so while competitors just tell you which one answer is correct and why it is so, with the test simulators from ITC Lounge you get an explanations of why any one answer is correct, AND you also get explanation why the other options are not correct. Effectively with the 220 questions in this pack you actually get 880 explanations. That is over 4 times more knowledge than any other test simulator on the market!

Why we don’t promise 100% guaranteed first time pass?

On many test simulators you may find the sticker “100% guaranteed first-time pass”.

This promise is absurd, and is an insult to your intelligence. Nobody can guarantee 100% that any one would pass any exam at first try… unless they’ve got some kind of a cheat sheet. You know that having a cheat sheet on an official exam is suicidal.

Many vendors make the 100% pass promise because their test simulators are actually cheat sheets. This is possible because many people who take any test, either share or sell the questions they memorized from the official test. This is what people call barin-dumps. Some vendors then collect such questions from these cheating websites, and sell this product, advertising it as 100% guaranteed first-time pass. This may be a trustworthy promise, but the down side is that you will be using a braindump study materials, which certification centers will recognize using various metrics such as time spent in understanding the question, click patterns and so on. Once a pattern is recognized, you will definitely lose your credentials, and the word is out that those that once got caught using braindump materials get on a blacklist, and they are banned from taking any certificate – for life! So, think twice before you fall for the shiny red label that promises first time pass.

Our material is 100% braindump free. It is designed to TEACH you Photoshop CS3 in a test-like setting. This is why we offer up to 4 times more info than other test vendors. With our material you will actually learn the program, and passing the official test will be based solely on your real Photoshop knowledge, not some cheap tricks to get you through the test. We are dedicated to your safe and secured career growth. This is why we do not get third-party developers but have the questions written up in-house. We have dedicated great attention to the usability of the information, and we have made sure that what you get is a great learning product that will help you acquire the professional knowledge of Photoshop CS3.

Buy it Now for only $25

Posted in Adobe, Photoshop CS3 | 1 Comment »

What’s Your Certification Worth?

Posted by imateski on February 12, 2010

By Linda Leung

In terms of salary, it appears that certified IT professionals didn’t suffer too badly during last year’s economic malaise. According to the IT certification holders who responded to the 2010 Global Knowledge/TechRepublic Salary Survey, salaries for the Microsoft certifications held by this year’s respondents actually went up. Other winners were holders of the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certifications. Meanwhile, the VMware Certified Professional certification made its debut in this year’s survey.

Let’s dive in deeper into some of the certifications and their corresponding salaries, as reported by our survey respondents.

PMP – $104,253; ITIL v2 Foundation – $102,128; ITIL v3 Foundation – $101,185

Salaries for these business improvement and project management certifications increased from 2009. The average salary of this year’s survey respondents who hold the PMP certification increased to $104,253 from the $103,100 reported by our 2009 survey respondents. Salaries for ITIL folks also increased. In 2008, the average ITIL v3 Master earned $86,600; in 2010 v3 Foundation certification holders reported an average salary of $101,185.

Six Sigma, another business process improvement certification, made its debut in our survey for 2010, with respondents reporting an average salary of $111,908. The appearance of that certification underscores the belief that employers are willing to pay top dollar for folks with good business and technology skills.

Some employers are requiring a mix of Six Sigma and other business improvement skills. One recent job ad for a Process Improvement Consultant at California HMO Kaiser Permanente called for the individual to have seven years of experience with one or more of the following methodologies: Six Sigma, ITIL, and Total Quality Management (a set of management practices that ensure organizations consistently meet or exceed customer requirements).

Hank Marquis, practice leader of business service management at Global Knowledge holds both the ITIL and Six Sigma certifications. He notes that only 30% of process improvement projects are successful because practitioners didn’t have the knowledge that Six Sigma provides. The addition of Six Sigma to a professional who already holds the ITIL and/or PMP certifications (and vice-versa) will turn that individual into a huge catch.

VMware Certified Professional – $91,271

Since 2008, the VMware Certified Professional certified has made its first appearance in the salary survey. You’ve probably have heard a lot about cloud computing. The benefits to cloud customers include data center operational cost savings, the flexibility to configure servers on the fly, and the automation of routine maintenance tasks. VMware owns the majority of the virtualization market, a technology that’s the basis for cloud computing. Organizations use VMware products to build private clouds or a hybrid public/private cloud.

VCP demonstrates an individual’s expertise in virtual infrastructure based on VMware’s vSphere 4 platform. Certified individuals understand vSphere installation, configuration, management, and troubleshooting.

Cisco Certifications

Salaries for the Cisco certifications held by respondents to this year’s survey decreased from 2009, but they were still higher than the average salaries for Cisco-certified folks in 2008. The average salary of $93,953 for a Cisco Certified Design Associate was the sixth highest salary listed in this year’s survey, and is still a 25% increase from a CCDA’s average salary of $75,000 in 2008.

The second highest Cisco certification salary in this year’s survey ($89,864) was for the Cisco Certified Network Professional designation. Cisco this month announced a major overhaul of this certification by replacing the required exams with those that better reflect a network professional’s job tasks. After July 31, candidates are required to take exams that cover implementing Cisco IP routing, implementing Cisco switched networks, and troubleshooting and maintaining Cisco IP networks. (More information about the changes is available at Cisco’s CCNP site).

Microsoft certifications

While salaries for the Cisco certifications held by this year’s survey respondents went down compared to 2009, the salaries for Microsoft certifications went up. We received responses from Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (2010 salary of $86,454), Microsoft Certified IT Professionals ($82,044), Microsoft Certified System Administrators ($76,337), Microsoft Certified Professionals ($74,438), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists – Windows Vista Configure ($71,786), and Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician ($70,197).

The Microsoft certification that saw the highest jump in salary was MCDST. (This is according to the salaries that were reported by Microsoft certification holders responding to the 2010 and 2009 surveys.). Desktop support consistently appears as one of the top three IT skills in demand by CIOs polled by Robert Half Technology in its quarterly surveys, which helps to explain the increase.

Microsoft encourages MCSA and MCSE certified folks to consider pursuing the MCDST certification if their current technical-support responsibilities include troubleshooting, customer service, hardware and software installation, or configuration and upgrades for Windows XP and Microsoft Office. “Adding the MCSDT certification to an MCSA or MCSE certification will broaden your support capabilities and enhance your employability,” according to Microsoft on its MCSDT Web site.

Microsoft is expected to release new certification over the next few months. According to a post on Microsoft’s Born to Learn blog, Microsoft is working on certifications for the following products: Small Business Server; Essential Business Server; Systems Center; SharePoint (both developer and ITPro); Communications Server; Visual Studios; Team Foundation Server; Forefront; Office; Project.

Where the Jobs Are

So what are the job prospects for certification holders? As we’ve discussed in previous newsletters, organizations want IT pros with a mix of business and technical skills. The soft economy has forced organizations to a step back and really examine their processes and question where and how they can be improved.

For experienced folks who want to fill niches and be able to command top dollar, getting certified with Six Sigma, ITIL, PMP and other business process improvement methodologies will help a greatdeal. If you are willing to travel the country as a consultant, that could be lucrative as long as there are few pros who can bridge the gap between Six Sigma and the other methodologies, says Matt Colarusso, branch manager of national at Sapphire Technologies. He adds that the healthcare and banking and finance industries are seeking folks with business analysis and projectmanagement skills.

For newbies wanting to enter IT via technical support, getting any of the Microsoft support certifications is worthwhile, notes Colarusso. For deeper dives into networking protocols, Cisco’s entry-level certifications are good career paths for newbies.

This article is taken from

Posted in Career Development | 5 Comments »

CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician

Posted by imateski on February 4, 2010

If you want to get a foothold in the IT industry, please read on. This text is tailored for you.

The Computing Technology Industry Association is a non profit association of over 20.000 members in over 100 countries. Virtually every major company in the IT industry is a member of the. Some of them are: Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Intel, AMD, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Siemens, Symantec, Novell and thousands more. With over 25 years of tradition, the CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician has become the stepping stone for a successful career in the IT field.
The CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician is vendor neutral, general certification that allows you to prove your knowledge in basically all of the general fields of computing, covering hardware, software and networking. But this is not all. There are many vendor specific certificates that prepare the IT Technician to manage networks, troubleshoot PCs, tweak operating systems and so on. But none, NONE of them addresses the key areas of professionalism: Human relations, and Environmentalism. None of the IT certificates ever bothers to tell you that aside of being an IT Technician, you will need to know how to manage people’s emotions, and how to manage outdated or malfunctioned equipment. The CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician gives you the edge by directing up to 30% studying time to learn these critical skills. By earning your CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician certification, you become a full fledged member of the IT community, and being very desirable for any employer as you also have the soft skills.
The CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician is a certification that consists of two exams, the first one is the CompTIA 220-601 Essentials, and the second exam can be either one of the following three options: the broad-range CompTIA 220-602 IT Technician, and the subject focused CompTIA 220-603 Remote Support Technician or CompTIA 220-604 Depot Technician. The most popular and sought after is the CompTIA 220-602 IT Technician, which covers eight different subjects, just like the CompTIA 220-601 Essentials. Unless your employer insists on one of the subject specific certification routes, go for the CompTIA 220-602 IT Technician exam as it covers a wide area of expertise. If you work as a Remote Support Technician, or your employer wants you to become one, then you can opt for the optional CompTIA 220-603 Remote Support Technician exam. The same applies for the CompTIA 220-604 Depot Technician. These certification routes focus on some areas, while ignoring others. As the name signifies, the CompTIA 220-603 Remote Support Technician and the CompTIA 220-604 Depot Technician focus on specific skills that are most useful in the corresponding job positions. On the other hand, the CompTIA 220-602 IT Technician, covers all the crucial subjects, and tests for knowledge in these areas. This route also prepares you for a wider job field. You can easily fill in a position of a Remote Support Technician, or a Depot Technician by taking the CompTIA 220-602 IT Technician, but you will not be the best candidate for a Remote Support job if you take the CopmTIA 220-604 Depot Technician exam because this exam does not have any interest in Laptops and portable devices, nor does it cover Communication and Professionalism which is one of the key aspects of being a front desk IT technician who is constantly interacting with clients. Similarly, if you choose the rouge of the CompTIA 220-603 Remote Support Technician, you will not be able to get a Depot Technician job as you have not demonstrated proficiency in Operating Systems, Networks or Safety and Environmental Issues.
The table below gives the official percentages and objectives for every exam. Review the percentages and see what the best track is for you.

CompTIA A+
220-601 Essentials (%)
220-602 IT Technician(%)
220-603 Remote Support Technician(%)
220-604 Depot Technician(%)
1. PC Components
2. Laptop and portable devices
3. Operating Systems
4. Printers and Scanners
5. Networks
6. Security
7. Safety and Environmental Issues
8. Communication and Professionalism

The CompTIA A+ Certified Service Technician is a part of several other curriculums including Cisco’s Network Academy and Microsoft-based certification programs.

If you are the practical type of learner, you can try the set of test simulators that are designed to mimic the actual experience of taking the A+ exams. Each test consists of 90 questions and the time is set to 90 minutes, and at the end you will receive a scoring percentage so you’ll know when you’re ready to take the official exam. The material in these test simulators will prepare you for the exam, and most importantly, you’ll learn from real life scenarios as most of the questions (over 500) are actual repair technician interventions. So you will get the theory, and you’ll also get the hands-on experience covering everything you’ll bump into as a CompTIA A+ Service Technician. These simulators offer FOUR TIMES more material than competitors because here you will get detailed explanations for all of the offered answers. So, you’ll learn why a certain answer is correct, but you will also get explanations why the other options are not correct. The content packed in the simulators is more useful than reading a book, it’s much more fun and you will learn a lot more because the high quality of the explanations.

Buy the CompTIA A+ Practice Test Simulators

Posted in A+, CompTIA | 2 Comments »

Cisco Certified Network Associate brief intro

Posted by imateski on February 4, 2010

There was an advertisement in a computer magazine a few years ago that stated “What is the latest great Cisco invention you used today? The Internet.” This bold claim is not far from the truth, as the Internet is based mostly on Cisco hardware and software solutions. Cisco is a relatively young company, formed in 1984, but has grown so fast that in March 2000 it overshadowed Microsoft and became the most valuable company in the world.

Cisco has a wide variety of certifications covering IT expertise from the entry level all the way to the top level of qualification. The Cisco Certified Network Associate CCNA focuses on the mid range qualification, and is therefore the most popular and sought after certification. The Cisco Certified Network Associate can be earned in two ways. The first way is by taking the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) v1.0 and the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2) v1.0 exams. The second way is by taking one composite exam, also known as the Cisco Certified Network Associate 640-802 exam. Both ways cover the same material, the bottom line being, there is no shortcut to success. We suggest the second route simply because it is more time effective to study for one exam and take one exam instead of studying and taking two separate exams. You take one exam and that is it, you have earned your CCNA certificate. Cisco does not have a specific list of topics required for the exam, nor does it have a set percentage per topic. This is so that you should know everything from network types and media all the way to troubleshooting Cisco devices and security settings.

In general, the Cisco Certified Network Associate 640-802 certification exam covers the topics listed below. This list is taken from Cisco’s official site for the Cisco Certified Network Associate 640-802 exam Note however, this is not a definitive list and it is prone to change, so make sure you regularly check for updates.

Cisco Certified Network Associate 640-802 general exam guidelines

1. Describe how a network works

1.1. Describe the purpose and functions of various network devices

1.2. Select the components required to meet a network specification

1.3. Use the OSI and TCP/IP models and their associated protocols to explain how data flows in a network

1.4. Describe common networked applications including web applications

1.5. Describe the purpose and basic operation of the protocols in the OSI and TCP models

1.6. Describe the impact of applications (Voice Over IP and Video Over IP) on a network

1.7. Interpret network diagrams

1.8. Determine the path between two hosts across a network

1.9. Describe the components required for network and Internet communications

1.10. Identify and correct common network problems at layers 1, 2, 3 and 7 using a layered model approach

1.11. Differentiate between LAN/WAN operation and features

2. Configure, verify and troubleshoot a switch with VLANs and interswitch communications

2.1. Select the appropriate media, cables, ports, and connectors to connect switches to other network devices and hosts

2.2. Explain the technology and media access control method for Ethernet networks

2.3. Explain network segmentation and basic traffic management concepts

2.4. Explain basic switching concepts and the operation of Cisco switches

2.5. Perform and verify initial switch configuration tasks including remote access management

2.6. Verify network status and switch operation using basic utilities (including: ping, traceroute, telnet, SSH, arp, ipconfig), SHOW & DEBUG commands

2.7. Identify, prescribe, and resolve common switched network media issues, configuration issues, auto negotiation, and switch hardware failures

2.8. Describe enhanced switching technologies (including: VTP, RSTP, VLAN, PVSTP, 802.1q)

2.9. Describe how VLANs create logically separate networks and the need for routing between them

2.10. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs

2.11. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot trunking on Cisco switches

2.12. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot interVLAN routing

2.13. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VTP

2.14. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RSTP operation

2.15. Interpret the output of various show and debug commands to verify the operational status of a Cisco switched network.

2.16. Implement basic switch security (including: port security, trunk access, management vlan other than vlan1, etc.)

3. Implement an IP addressing scheme and IP Services to meet network requirements in a medium-sizeEnterprise branch office network

3.1. Describe the operation and benefits of using private and public IP addressing

3.2. Explain the operation and benefits of using DHCP and DNS

3.3. Configure, verify and troubleshoot DHCP and DNS operation on a router.(including: CLI/SDM)

3.4. Implement static and dynamic addressing services for hosts in a LAN environment

3.5. Calculate and apply an addressing scheme including VLSM IP addressing design to a network

3.6. Determine the appropriate classless addressing scheme using VLSM and summarization to satisfy addressing requirements in a LAN/WAN environment

3.7. Describe the technological requirements for running IPv6 in conjunction with IPv4 (including: protocols, dual stack, tunneling, etc).

3.8. Describe IPv6 addresses

3.9. Identify and correct common problems associated with IP addressing and host configurations

4. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic router operation and routing on Cisco devices

4.1. Describe basic routing concepts (including: packet forwarding, router lookup process)

4.2. Describe the operation of Cisco routers (including: router bootup process, POST, router components)

4.3. Select the appropriate media, cables, ports, and connectors to connect routers to other network devices and hosts

4.4. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RIPv2

4.5. Access and utilize the router to set basic parameters.(including: CLI/SDM)

4.6. Connect, configure, and verify operation status of a device interface

4.7. Verify device configuration and network connectivity using ping, traceroute, telnet, SSH or other utilities

4.8. Perform and verify routing configuration tasks for a static or default route given specific routing requirements

4.9. Manage IOS configuration files. (including: save, edit, upgrade, restore)

4.10. Manage Cisco IOS.

4.11. Compare and contrast methods of routing and routing protocols

4.12. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot OSPF

4.13. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot EIGRP

4.14. Verify network connectivity (including: using ping, traceroute, and telnet or SSH)

4.15. Troubleshoot routing issues

4.16. Verify router hardware and software operation using SHOW & DEBUG commands.

4.17. Implement basic router security

5. Explain and select the appropriate administrative tasks required for a WLAN

5.1. Describe standards associated with wireless media (including: IEEE WI-FI Alliance, ITU/FCC)

5.2. Identify and describe the purpose of the components in a small wireless network. (Including: SSID, BSS, ESS)

5.3. Identify the basic parameters to configure on a wireless network to ensure that devices connect to the correct access point

5.4. Compare and contrast wireless security features and capabilities of WPA security (including: open, WEP, WPA-1/2)

5.5. Identify common issues with implementing wireless networks. (Including: Interface, missconfiguration)

6. Identify security threats to a network and describe general methods to mitigate those threats

6.1. Describe today’s increasing network security threats and explain the need to implement a comprehensive security policy to mitigate the threats

6.2. Explain general methods to mitigate common security threats to network devices, hosts, and applications

6.3. Describe the functions of common security appliances and applications

6.4. Describe security recommended practices including initial steps to secure network devices

7. Implement, verify, and troubleshoot NAT and ACLs in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network

7.1. Describe the purpose and types of ACLs

7.2. Configure and apply ACLs based on network filtering requirements.(including: CLI/SDM)

7.3. Configure and apply an ACLs to limit telnet and SSH access to the router using (including: SDM/CLI)

7.4. Verify and monitor ACLs in a network environment

7.5. Troubleshoot ACL issues

7.6. Explain the basic operation of NAT

7.7. Configure NAT for given network requirements using (including: CLI/SDM)

7.8. Troubleshoot NAT issues

8. Implement and verify WAN links

8.1. Describe different methods for connecting to a WAN

8.2. Configure and verify a basic WAN serial connection

8.3. Configure and verify Frame Relay on Cisco routers

8.4. Troubleshoot WAN implementation issues

8.5. Describe VPN technology (including: importance, benefits, role, impact, components)

8.6. Configure and verify a PPP connection between Cisco routers

Posted in CCNA, Cisco | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft Certified System Engineer/Administrator/Professional

Posted by imateski on February 4, 2010

Microsoft offers a wide range of certification programs, covering the entire spectrum from the entry level MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), through the mid-range MCSA (Microsoft Certified System Administrator), and the engineer-level MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer).

The MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) certification is designed to enable you to get the key knowledge needed for the professional IT work today.

The MCSE credential verifies your ability to analyze the business requirements for information systems solutions, and to design and implement infrastructures based on Windows Server 2003. (Official MCSE site)

As the quote states, the Microsoft Certified System Engineer for Windows Server 2003 should know how to plan, design, and implement server architectures based on the Windows Server 2003 Operating System. These structures are mostly used in companies that have up to 26.000 users, in up to 150 locations. Of course, the skills of the Microsoft Certified System Engineer for Windows Server 2003 will be very welcomed in smaller companies. This is only to state that once you get the MCSE letters in your signature, you will be eligible to work for large companies with thousands of users. Of course, in order to cope with this task of setting up firewalls, mail and messaging servers, data and print servers, web servers and day to day desktop management, you will need to have at least one year in administering server and client operating systems.

The MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) is a certificate that builds up on the MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) and the MCSA (Microsoft Certified System Administrator), which helps in creating a growth track from MCP all the way to MCSE. To earn the Microsoft Certified System Engineer for Windows Server 2003 credentials, you will need to pass seven exams:

  • · four core exams on networking systems,
  • · one core exam on client operating systems,
  • · one core design exam and
  • · one elective exam.

There are two tracks for MCSE Server 2003: Messaging and Security.

The important thing about the Microsoft Certified System Engineer for Server 2003 will not retire. As long as there will be corporate networks based on the Windows Server 2003, you will be a valuable asset to that company. Microsoft also offers an easy track to get credentials for the new Microsoft Server 2008.

If you are interested in planning, design and implementation of IT structures, go for the Microsoft Certified System Engineer for Windows 2003 credentials.

If you are more interested in implementation, management and maintenance of established IT systems on the Microsoft technologies, go for the Microsoft Certified System Administrator on Windows 2003 Server systems.

You can arrange taking these seven required exams in such a way that you can also earn a Microsoft Certified System Administrator credentials, which requires four exams:

  • · two core exams on networking systems,
  • · one core exam on client operating systems,
  • · one elective exam.

The Microsoft Certified System Administrator also does not retire, and can be easily upgraded to match the Microsoft Server 2008 requirements.

When you start taking the exams, know that you can get your first credential added to your signature when you take the very first exam that is product-specific. It is recommended to start with one of the core exams, for example, the 70-290 Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment. When you pass this exam, you become Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and will be immediately desirable for any company that uses the Windows Server 2003 Operating System.

The cost per exam varies from country to country, but in general, it will cost about 125USD per exam. So, for the Microsoft Certified System Engineer, you will need to invest about 875USD, for the Microsoft Certified System Administrator you will need to invest about 500USD. With the very first investment of $125 you will receive your Microsoft Certified Professional certificate.

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Get certified, get F.A.T

Posted by imateski on February 4, 2010

I have over a decade of freelance experience, worked also as a network admin’s assistant while taking my theology degree (yes, theology), and am now a IT production team leader. Yet I have no BS, no certs. HOWEVER I value both the university degree and the cert on anyone’s CV… but I nevertheless fired two electrical engineers who were tech writers for certification training materials because they behaved unprofessionally and had poor work ethics. The CompTIA A+ cert in this manner at least gives the ABCs of professional ethics. The bottom line (in my experience): you may be certified, and have your PhD in IT, HOWEVER… employers want to see that you’re not all certs and degrees, but you have some substance to your character.

All this to say that today, even if you do have all the credentials for a job, you may still not get it if you haven’t acquired the ABCs of team work and ethical behavior. Campus Crusade has a good acronym that describes good people: FAT (Faithful, available, teachable). With slight modifications of terms, and turning its focus from personal growth to a more tech oriented mindset, here’s what the acronym stands for:

– Make sure you come across as Faithful to the company (know the business benefits you bring to the company, think in ROI terms and competitive advantage),

– Convey a clear message that you’re Available for hire or trial period (if looking for a job). Be ready to throw in a challenge at the interview, something like “I am confident your company will greatly benefit from hiring me. You can have me work here for a few weeks at no charge, and see my qualities. I am sure you will want to keep me.” If you’re already employed, be the first to volunteer for a new project even if that may mean overtime and some studying. Companies hire by promoting from within. So when that job post you desire becomes vacant, make yourself the obvious choice.

– And lastly, be Teachable. Show a mindset of a lifetime learner. Show a clear understanding of teamwork and of corporate culture. And stress that you have your qualities, but you are there to strengthen the team, and learn to play according to their rules. Nobody wants a loose cannon, but everybody wants to work with people ready to step up, take a challenge, get the latest cert, or simply be an apprentice to your supervisor.

The guys I fired loved technology, but they werent FAT. They thought that as long as they get the job done they’ll be fine… well, today it’s all about teamwork, and if you’re not a team player somebody out there who is will get your spot.

Definitely get a degree, and get certified. But make sure you’re FAT: know the business benefits you bring, offer to work extra hours if need be for the new project, show a team spirit.

Being only tech savvy won’t cut it any more. We all need to be people savvy also. Get certified, get FAT.

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Welcome to the IT Certification Lounge

Posted by imateski on January 27, 2010

It’s been over a year since the start of our LinkedIn group, I finally got to the point where all the elements fitted together and here it is, the ICTLounge has it’s own web space.
I also want thank all ICTLounge members at LinkedIn for their contribution and personal conversations.
As the name suggests, ITCL is a cozy place where you can find info on various IT certification programs, IT career guides and full-scale training materials such as books, study guides and of course practice test exams.
Although there are tons of other places to find information and practice materials for IT certification, none of them are open to hear YOUR needs and offer assistance in developing your skill-set. What we all need is a place to interact with like minded people, discuss ideas, bounce plans off each other and genuinely help one another.
This is where IT Certification Lounge steps in. My vision for the ITCL is that it becomes a synonym for affordable source of relevant information for IT professionals. This will in effect, cause several reactions.
First, ITCL will have low priced products. Purchasing a full set of ITCL test simulators with 1000 questions for, let’s say, CompTIA A+ or CompTIA Network+, will not cause any budget holes. So in a sense, I hope to decrease the use of pirated training material as building a career on stolen grounds isn’t the smartest of moves.
Second, the ITCL will raise the bar for quality. Most of the practice materials are profit-driven, and I’ve had the opportunity to see that these providers love to stick the “100% Guaranteed Pass”, which is misleading at best. The problem is that these corporations are in it for your MONEY and don’t care about your CAREER. The IT Certification Lounge has your career in focus, and the materials you’ll find here are not collected from braindump sites. Everything you find here is genuinely written by IT professionals with the goal in mind: to help your IT career growth. In order to grow in your career you need valid and applicable knowledge and that’s what you’ll find in the products here at the ITCLounge.
Third, with the high quality affordable training materials, I hope that your career growth will increase your quality of life. I hope that you will also have the heart and philanthropy to look back and see that there are many, many young IT techies struggling in life, and that you will reach out and help them out in their career.
You see, for the newcomers in IT, it’s all about outperforming the peers, and getting close to the CIO, hoping to some day inherit that fancy title. The reality however, is that once in the IT trenches, techies realize that IT is in fact people-oriented and peer-driven. It is this reality that has inspired me to look back and offer support to IT professionals in various career stages.
The IT Certification Lounge, thus, is the place where you will find what you really need in order to have a steady professional growth. The benefit is that you will not have to sell your kidney to get a hold of quality materials and the added value you will get here is the real peer-to-peer approach in figuring out your next step toward your career dreams.
Please drop a line and say what your career dreams are, and what would you want to see offered here at the IT Certification Lounge.

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