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Certification Watch (Vol. 19, No. 42)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, the IT Certification Council argues in favor of certification verification, Microsoft hops aboard the digital badging express, and more.

IT Certification Council Cautions Against Certification Devaluation


Bad appleJust like the proverbial bad apple that spoils the whole bushel — or bunch, if you insist, which some people do and which doesn't make any sense, becuase it's bananas that come in bunches, not apples — an IT wannabe who claims to be certified but doesn't have actual tech skills makes certification worse for everyone. That, in a nutshell, is the key argument set forth in a new white paper from the certification-affirming IT Certification Council. As noted in the white paper, for example, when a business hires an unqualified individual because that person claims to be certified, or sometimes actually has a credential obtained by various illicit means, the resulting bad experience is more than a little bit likely to generate bad feelings and, more importantly, bad word of mouth. That's a lot of bad coming from one person's false claims or false actions. Among other solutions, the ITCC calls on hiring managers to not simply take potential employees' claims of certification at face value, and recommends to certification organizations that steps be taken at every level to protect against cheating on exams. If you have a stake in IT certification, then it's worth taking the time to read the whole document and consider its advice.


Cisco Scholarship Program Aims to Fill Cybersecurity Pipeline


There's a fair amount of disagreement as to whether there truly is an "IT skills gap," or workplace demand for skilled IT professionals that far outstrips the supply such workers. One area where almost everyone agrees that more qualified professionals are badly needed, however, is in the cybersecurity realm. With hackers running rampant, and both the rapidity and number of attacks and breaches exploding like kernels in a corn popper, every business, whether large or small, needs to up the strength of its cyberperimeter. To help meet the demand for trained professionals, Cisco is encouraging students and workers with an interest in cybersecurity to enter the field with assistance from Cisco's Global Cybersecurity Scholarship. Cisco exec Tejas Vashi took over the Talking Tech with Cisco blog this week to make a pitch to individuals with basic IT skills who are on the outside of the cybersecurity realm looking in. Cisco hopes to dispense $10 million in scholarship aid over the next two years, so if you've been considering a new career direction, then step up and apply for your piece of the pie.


CompTIA Promotes Cybersecurity 'Career Pathway'


Speaking, as we were, of the need to beef up the available ranks of qualified cybersecurity professionals: Does everybody know that one of Angelina Jolie's first big acting jobs was playing a gifted cybersneak in Hackers? Not only that, but Hugh Jackman once played a totally boss hacker in Swordfish. See? There are role models everywhere. Actually, our more important point is that IT industry association CompTIA has recently taken steps to paint an even clearer picture of how to become super smart at computer security stuff than what you might see in a Hollywood movie. With the pending release of its CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst credential, or CSA+, early next year, CompTIA will have laid out a clear progression from cybersecurity novice to expert hackmaster, with a certification at every step. The links in the chain of the new cybersecurity "career pathway" are as follows: CompTIA IT Fundamentals > CompTIA A+ > CompTIA Network+ > CompTIA Security+ > CompTIA CSA+ > CompTIA CASP. CompTIA is encouraging prospective certificants to enter the pathway at whatever level is suited to their existing IT skill set.


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