CompTIA Academy Educator Conference 2012: Study Resources and Takeaways

August 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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I was fortunate to be able to attend the CompTIA Academy Educator Conference over this past weekend. CompTIA promised that we would learn about the new A+ exams, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) exam, and the Healthcare IT Technician (HIT) exam. This promise was fulfilled  with presentations from Mike Meyers, Jean Andrews, Joy Dark, and yours truly. Following is a quick recap on each of these topics, with more detailed posts to follow in the next week or two.

Virtualization in A+

Mike Meyers gave a presentation on virtualization. He covered the different virtualization products, including several free options as well as the major vendor products. He explained the installation and configuration processes for the various technologies. Educators reading this post should keep in mind that virtualization is a newly introduced topic to be included in the upcoming release of A+. In the A+ 220-802 exam, objective 1.9 states the following:

Explain the basics of client-side virtualization.

 Purpose of virtual machines
 Resource requirements
 Emulator requirements
 Security requirements
 Network requirements
 Hypervisor

Keep your eye out for my upcoming post about virtualization content in the new A+ exams.

Mobile technology in A+

Author Jean Andrews,  best known for her CompTIA study guides and PC repair guides, also spent some time discussing the upcoming A+ exam changes. Her presentation included a great demonstration of mobile phone emulators that can be installed in a classroom environment. If you’re wondering why this is important, let me remind you that in the A+ 220-802 exam, objective 3 is dedicated to mobile devices (9% of the overall exam coverage). Look for my upcoming posts regarding mobile devices, including one on installing the mobile phone emulators and one on a new technician toolkit for mobile devices.

New certification: the HIT

I had the pleasure of meeting Joy Dark. Joy has recently released a book, which she co-wrote alongside author (and mom) Jean Andrews, all about the CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician (HIT) exam.  Any A+ technician who is considering working in a healthcare environment should consider obtaining this certification. While A+ and Network+ knowledge is vital, a technician working in a healthcare industry must also understand healthcare terminology, regulations, and processes. This certification melds the world of IT with the needs of administering healthcare and healthcare records. I would highly recommend that educators take a serious look at this certification.  CompTIA is expecting great things for it in the coming year.

Security+ and the CASP

In my presentation, I tried to explain to educators three main points about the CASP exam: What the CASP certification is, where the CASP certification fits in our industry, and how to prepare for the CASP certification. Look for an upcoming post that gives the details of this presentation. I will also be posting about the primary reference I used for this exam (see the “study guides and resources” header below for a quick link).

The event also included two great security presentations: one from Mike Murray of Mad Security on training the security professional and one from Michael Gregg, the author of the CASP book mentioned in the previous paragraph, on the role of certification in security. Again, look for an upcoming post regarding security training solutions.

Study guides & resources

Joy Dark and Jean Andrews wrote the book that maps directly to the HIT exam objectives: The CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician HIT-001 Authorized Cert Guide (Cert Guides), published by Pearson. This book is released and shipping.

Mike’s newest edition of the A+ study guide is the CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 8th Edition (Exams 220-801 & 220-802) from McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, which is currently available for pre-order by clicking here.

As I prepared my CASP presentation, I referred extensively to the CASP CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner Study Guide: Exam CAS-001 (Comptia Study Guide), published by Sybex. This book is released and shipping.

As you can see, the event gave me a plethora of information that I feel I MUST pass on to you. So expect to be bombarded with posts from me over the coming weeks.

I am already looking forward to next year’s CompTIA Academy Educator Conference.  You should start making plans to be there!
-Robin Abernathy

Don’t let a free exam pass you by: grab Microsoft’s two-for-one offer before June 30

June 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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In their push toward MCSA and MCSE certifications (covered by George here), Microsoft is offering a fairly unprecedented deal on certification exams: pay full price now, get a free upgrade later. How does this compare to other Microsoft promotions, and is it the right deal for you?

The fine print is as follows:

To help you move to the cloud, Microsoft is offering a limited time* “Two for One” exam offer. When you purchase and take a qualifying exam at full price between April 11, 2012 and June 30, 2012, you will be emailed a voucher valid for the next version exam of your chosen technology path, at no additional cost. Your voucher for the second qualifying exam will be emailed to you when the new exams release and will expire 90 days after the new Certification in your technology path becomes available.

Let’s review the conditions that need to be in place for this deal to work for you:

  • You should be ready to pass the current version of your qualifying exam in one of the four “cloud-bound” technology areas: Windows 7 Client (migrating to Windows 8), Windows Server 2008/Private Cloud (migrating to 2012/Private Cloud), Visual Studio 2010 (migrating to Visual Studio 11), and SQL Server 2008 (migrating to 2012: Data Platform or 2012: Business Intelligence).
  • You should be able to pass the current exam(s) by the end of June. You can request up to five exam vouchers in any of the listed paths (which means you would take up to five exams in the next three weeks).
  • You should have a plan in place to hit the ground running once the upgraded version of your exam is released. The clock starts ticking the 90-day countdown as soon as the exam rolls out.
  • You should install and configure the updated versions of your technology as soon as they roll out (such as Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate).
  • You should regularly check (or subscribe to a feed for) Microsoft Learning’s Cloud Certification Overview Page ( for freebies and training offers to work your skills in the new areas.

If that sounds like a workable plan, then head over to Microsoft today and request your cloud-bound voucher.

Oracle OpenWorld 2011 – It’s a wrap!

October 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Oracle | Leave a comment
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Well, Oracle OpenWorld 2011 has come to a close. For one week in October, this year’s conference brought (approx) 45,000 Oracle customers, employees, and partners to the city of San Francisco, but now the crowds have been replaced with fork lifts in a frantic attempt to break down all of the vendor booths as quickly as possible.

In typical fashion, Larry Ellison made some major announcements in his keynote presentation on Wednesday afternoon! Effective immediately, Oracle announced that every one of the 150+ modules that comprise the new Fusion ERP application are now in production. Fusion is the next generation of applications, which Oracle completely wrote from the ground up and developed with 100% open standards for the past 6 years. It’s the upgrade path for customers running Oracle’s e-business suite, and it’s an option for customers on Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel as well.

Ellison also announced that Oracle was creating a public cloud using Oracle’s new Exadata and Exalogic machines, designed explicitly for maximum performance when paired with the Oracle Database. Ellison referred to these machines as “parallel everything” with a performance up to 10 times faster than current servers in the marketplace at a cost of 1/10th of those same machines. Everything is built on standards, making it very easy to port your application from your server to the cloud, or from the cloud back to your server, or from the cloud to your server and then back to the cloud again. It’s all up to you. At the same time, Ellison took a number of shots at competitors, keeping alive the banter between CEO Marc Benioff which had already provided plenty o’ drama for most of the week!

The other interesting revelation is that social networking is actually built into the new Fusion applications. Facebook is used for identifying yourself and your colleagues who interact with these systems and need to constantly share information. You can extend this social networking to include your customers, your prospects, your partners, your suppliers, etc. This improves overall workflow and communication, but at the same time, you have complete control of the level of access for each player. It definitely had a look and feel that differs from your typical IT applications.

Many excellent small session presentations were offered during the last half of the conference. If you’re not aware, there are some major enhancements in the database in 11g R2. Some of my personal favorites include the Workload Repository and the potential for multiple execution plans, the new SQL Results cache and PL/SQL results cache in the SGA, all the new automatic monitoring features, enhancements to Security, and invisible indexes. I’ll discuss these and other topics featured at OpenWorld 2011 in future blog posts.

Logging off for now; take care!

The (Software) Boys are Back in Town

June 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Certification Paths | Leave a comment
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Although some in the IT industry fear the Cloud and its implications for administrators, software development is back! In ranking over 200 jobs across various U.S. industries, CareerCast now ranks software engineer as the top job for 2011. Thanks to current trends in mobile and cloud technology, software engineering is very much in demand with an average income of $87,140.00.

According to a recent Forrester Research survey reported by Computerworld, the best way to motivate people in the IT industry is to give them interesting work. Although workers age 45 and over reported valuing job security higher than younger workers did, the most significant motivator for all IT workers was doing interesting work (ranked first by more than 70% of IT workers). This survey echoes the adage “do what you love” – or, at least, do an IT job that holds some level of interest for you.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these kinds of trends are what motivates us to learn new technologies and get some certifications to prove to ourselves (and yes, maybe to our employer) just how much we know. And who better to help you along the road to learning than Transcender? So if you’re fearless & looking to inject new interest in your IT job, check out our newest practice test product release: MSCert: Pro – Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Cert-70-518 C# and VB.

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