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Certification Watch (Vol. 20, No. 11)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, Pearson VUE reports that cybersecurity training and certification is booming, CompTIA rolls out a new Project+ certification exam, and more.

Pearson VUE Tracks Cybersecurity Training and Testing Boom


Secure data centerJust about any time that someone opens their mouth or puts fingers to keyboard to talk about hot trends in certification, cybersecurity is bound to come up. The worldwide onslaught of hack attacks is real, and everyone wants to make data and networks more secure. According to a study completed last year by leading training and testing provider Pearson VUE, that's good news for anyone with an interest in acquiring professional grade cybersecurity skills. Not only are more people pursuing cybersecurity skills, but more employers are willing to pay the cost of cybersecurity certification and training. Pearson VUE's survey of more than 6,600 IT professionals found that, from 2015 to 2016, there was a 48 percent increase in the number of individual pursuing security training, and a 60 percent increase in the number of individuals taking security certification exams. What's more, 53 percent of those surveyed had their training paid for by an employer. Want a security cert? The time is now.


Microsoft Virtual Academy Now Issuing Digital Badges


Another idea that is very right now in certification is the surge of interest in digital badging. Up 'til now, most of the excitement has focused on using digitally issued, stored, and shared certifications to replace paper credentials. Microsoft Learning recently began discussing the new wrinkle of using badges to signify completion of some, but not all, of the training and testing generally associated with a certification. Essentially issuing mini-certs, if you will. The future is today at Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA), which announced at the end of last week that it is now issuing digital badges to individuals who complete certain "learning paths." Microsoft is hoping to encourage self-starters who want increase their IT marketability to pursue small sets of online courses that cluster around a particular topic. Complete one of these curated learning paths, and you earn a digital badge, which lets you demonstrate a certain level of understanding to potential employers. Will this approach become more popular than sometimes onerous multi-exam certifications? Time will tell.


Oracle Certification Offers Tips to Reduce Cheating


A great deal of the value that comes with any certification is reputation-based. A given credential becomes respected and sought-after by employers and IT professionals in part based on the job performance and overall knowledge and skills of the people who hold it. Hence, it can be greatly damaging to a certification, particularly over time, if people find ways to cheat on the exam and claim the credential without really having earned it. Oracle Certification, which has been on the warpath against cheaters of late, ran a blog post last week with tips to help certified professionals, as well as those aspiring to become certified professionals, join the fight against cheaters. In a nutshell, certification candidates are encouraged to never share exam content, discourage the use of brain dumps, discuss with other how cheating damages certification, and report specific instances of exam fraud. It's a worthy crusade for all us to consider.


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