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Certification Watch (Vol. 18, No. 48)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, 'tis the season of giving (and how!), Certiport creates a new cert for kids, and more.

There Are 45 Billion Reasons to Be Thankful for Facebook


Pile of casholaFacebook creator and founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are excited about the birth of their daughter, Max. So excited that, instead of passing out the traditional pink cigars, Zuckerberg and Chan are giving a piece of Facebook to the world. A gigantic piece, that is — 99 percent of the couple's Facebook shares, or, by present valuations, $45 billion. The proud parents intend for this awe-inspiring (and just plain old inspiring) largesse to be dispersed gradually, rather than in a single lump sum, but their motive is plain. They want the world Max grows up in to be a better place, and they're willing to invest an enormous amount of money in that proposition. Whatever you think of Facebook, there's nothing to say to Zuckerberg and Chan but, "Thank you" (45 billion times over, at least), and, "Well done!" The world would certainly be a better place already if more of its citizens were this open-hearted.


CompTIA-certified Youth Is IT Training Ambassador


Stories about the youthfully certified are becoming more commonplace, but it's not every certified child who immediately turns his (or her) beautiful mind to the task of helping others. That's what makes the story about Sean Chen posted this week at CompTIA's IT Career News blog so inspiring. Several years back, Chen had the smarts to snag CompTIA's A+ credential at age 12, and followed that up by getting CTT+ (CompTIA Technical Trainer+), the IT industry group's special credential for IT instructors. Chen, who's now a high school senior and preparing for college, used his certs to launch Skill Enrichment Learning Foundation (SELF), a nonprofit educational organization created to teach IT skills to war veterans, apsiring teachers and the underprivileged. Chen says he's just getting started, too: "I not only see myself as getting more certifications and more knowledge about IT, I see myself being able to help others learn more about IT and (also) help them pursue the same career as I did." Way to go, Sean.


ISACA Releases Results of Global IT Auditing Study


There's money to be made for enterprising tech pros who have ample reserves of the patience and attention to detail needed to become a successful IT auditor. (Wondering what IT auditors do? Funny you should ask.) The job's not getting any easier, however, according to the newly-released results of an ISACA IT auditing survey. ISACA, which published its findings under the heading A Global Look at IT Audit Best Practices, offers the premier IT auditing certification in the industry, the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential. The survey, which summarizes the experience of 1,230 respondents worldwide, finds that the pace of change in IT is as much of a challenge for auditors as it is for most other IT pros. ISACA's report enumerates the 10 most pressing challenges for IT auditors, including controlling costs, securing data and bridging the gap between IT and business. There are more pedestrian complications as well: The survey found that 60 percent of large public companies employ a designated IT audit director — but roughly half of those individuals are not present at audit committee meetings.


BCS Conference Ponders 'Existential Threat' to Humanity of AI


Science fictions films have hammered this point home for years: Computers don't (or at least won't, once they finally become self-aware) like us much. Everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Matrix to The Terminator has foretold the coming age when man's machines will no longer simply do his bidding. Now the British Computer Society is finally ready to have an actual, factual discussion about the dark times ahead. Nope, we're not kidding. AI-2015, the SGAI International Conference on Artificial Intelligence is being held for the 35th time this year, so it's about time that the gathering finally addressed the AI elephant in the room. A distinguished panel will ponder the question "Is AI an existential threat to humanity?" at the conference, to be held Dec. 15 through 17 at the University of Cambridge. Additional details of the conference are available online.


Certiport Offers Special Certification for Children


As noted above, particularly bright kids are more than capable of earning adult-targeted certifications. Indeed, the line that demarcates certification as being a pursuit accessible only to adults, or at least young adults, becomes blurrier with every passing day. Now Certiport has taken the heretofore unprecedented step of simply inviting children everywhere to enter the world of IT certification. Announced last month, the new IC3 Spark certification is, like the breakfast cereal Trix and the legendary brainstorm of Norville Barnes, for kids. The IC3 Spark, a youthified version of Certiport's already young-skewing IC3 digital literacy certification, was specifically designed to "build a solid foundation in digital concepts for primary and middle school age children." IC3 Spark, which Certiport says is particulary appropriates for kids in grades 4 through 7, has three core skill areas: Living Online, Key Applications, and Computing Fundamentals. The actual IC3 Spark credential is conferred via a 50-minute exam. No word (yet) as to whether employers are expected to offer better salaries to, say, Spark-certified newspaper carriers.


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..