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Certification Watch (No. 18, Vol. 50)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, QuizGrok offers a new approach to IT certification training quizzes, ISACA forecasts five security risks for 2016, and more.

QuizGrok Explores New IT Certification Study Frontier


Astronaut explores strange new worldIn his groundbreaking 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, pioneering author Robert A. Heinlein coined the work "grok," to describe the experience of coming to understand something so thoroughly as to become inextricably blended into it. Now that's deep learning. You may not actually need to grok an IT subject in order to pass a certification exam, but you'll certainly benefit your career by immersing yourself as deeply as possible. That's the idea behind QuizGrok, the new community-driven IT certification study portal from GoCertify founder Anne Martinez. QuizGrok invites IT certification candidates to learn the hard way, by actually creating quiz questions instead of just clicking through a quiz created by someone else. Although you can do that, at QuizGrok, too. The new site is still finding its footing, but IT certification pioneer Martinez reports that there are more than 400 questions already available. Other visitors to QuizGrok can rate the questions you create, and dedicated site users can increase their stature in the QuizGrok community over time. Which sounds a bit reminiscent of the goings-on in another classic novel, William Golding's Lord of the Flies. So go get involved at QuizGrok, but keep a wary eye out for anyone whose user handle is something like Piggy127, or I_have_the_conch.


Cisco Learning Network Lists Top 10 Community Discussions


Speaking of building an IT certificaiton site on the strength of input from the members of a diverse community ... Cisco Learning Network is preparing to ring in 2016 and celebrating 2015 with a recap of the top threads to really blow up in the Learning Network forums over the past 12 months. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and the No. 1 Cisco Learning Network discussion began with a simple question: A community member using the nickname "Uday" asked, "Can anyone tell me what port ping uses?" The rest is now history. It took just 12 replies to definitively settle Uday's questions, but the discussion has been viewed more than 140,000 times since it first popped through on June 10. (The timeline is a little murky after that, since most of the replies to Uday appear to have been posted at least few years before his/her question was asked. Not sure what the post-tagging mechanism is, but ... OK, whatevs.) Don't forget to click over and check out the other nine threads.


Oracle Certification Launches New Exam Prep Blog Series


Meanwhile, over at Oracle Certification, blogger Sheryl Domingue says that the journey to an Oracle certificaiton begins by taking the first step of deciding to get certified. What comes after that, though? Domingue and Oracle Certification are filling the "second step" void with a new blog series, "Prepare for Succes," that spotlights various Oracle Certification exams. Each post will offer insight into the "next steps" you should plan to take in order to really get that certification journey under way. The first exam to be featured is Java SE 8 Programmer, exam 1Z0-808, which certifies programming skill and fluency with one of the most venerable programming languages out there. It's a particularly opportune moment to be investigating Java certification. The 20 percent off sale on Java exams (in honor of Java's 20th birthday) is still in effect and runs through the end of the month. Carpe that diem, people. Carpe it with both hands.


IBM, Pearson Report Successful Collaboration on Digital Badges


The boom in digital badging is on. Mozilla has been leading the charge for a couple of years with its OpenBadges project, and now many businesses are hopping about the digital badging train. Pearson VUE made a splash earlier this year by getting Oracle Certification involved with its Acclaim digital badging tool, and now IBM has gotten aboard the Pearson digital badging express. A recent report posted by Pearson highlights some of the benefits of embracing the new approach to certification verification. According to the report, IBM certified professionals report that digital badging has made them feel more engaged with IBM and motivated to learn more. Badging has also increased the completion rate of IBM's online certification courses, and badge earners more consistently follow up each new accomplishment by starting in on something else. What can digital badging do for your certification program? Pearson VUE would probably be thrilled to discuss that question with you.


ISACA Counsels Increased Cybersecurity Awareness in 2016


It's time to start thinking about those resolutions to improve in the new year. And if you can't think of any for yourself, here's one from security and governance group ISACA that probably could benefit all of us. Be more security conscious. ISACA is forecasting five trends in cybersecurity risk for 2016, and most consumers would do well to pay attention. For example, ISACA warns that wearable tech, medical devices and gaming systems are expected to come under attack cyber-extortionists in the coming year. If you don't know what ransomware is, be assured that you don't want to find out the hard way. ISACA also predicts that cloud service providers will be increasingly targeted by hackers. The silver lining to these dour predictions is that IT security certification (ISACA curates the well-respected CISM security credential) can prepare you to take a high-paying job fighting back against the rising tide of cybercrime. Which suggests another resolution, actually: Make 2016 the year that you finally get that cybersecurity certification and move up to a better job.


That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..