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Certification Watch (Vol. 22, No. 31)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, TestOut launches a new course to teach IT basics to tech novices, CompTIA has some cybersecurity cert recommendations, and more.

TestOut Releases New IT Fundamentals Pro Course


TestOut has a new "basics of IT" course.As the Chinese philosopher Laozi famously wrote, the proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Everyone who ends up holding a CCIE or VCDX or GSE or whatever other expert- or master-level certification signifies that a career apex has been achieved, got started way back in the mists of time by turning on an electronic device for the first time. Even people who are familiar with computers, and in some cases use them every day, often don't have more than a superficial understanding of information technology (IT). The new IT Fundamentals Pro course, released on Tuesday by certification and training provider TestOut, is designed to take newcomers by the hand and help them create a broad foundation for future IT learning. The course covers the basics of such key IT knowledge realms as hardware and software, networking, databases, programming, information security, and more. IT Fundamentals Pro is ideal for students who want to start down the path to a career in IT, or for career switchers who want to get grounded in computer technology before branching out. TestOut courses prepare learners to earn TestOut's own Pro certifications, but each course is also aligned with a second credential. In this case, IT Fundamentals Pro provides helps learners prepare for the IT Fundamentals+ credential (FC0-U61) offered by CompTIA.


Certiport to Handle New Minecraft Certification


Speaking of certifications for those just entering the IT realm, Prodigy Learning has created an education and certification program to help kids learn to write computer code while playing the popular game Minecraft. Training and certification provider Certiport, a subsidiary of testing titan Pearson VUE, will manage the new Coding in Minecraft regime. Microsoft, which acquired Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014, says that 51 percent of U.S. children ages 9 through 11 have played Minecraft, a so-called "sandbox" game in which players explore a vast digital realm and create and build their own domains. Certiport and Microsoft already have a long-established relationship though Certiport's management of the Microsoft Office Specialist certification program. Coding in Minecraft was first introduced in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2018, and more than 4,000 U.K. and U.S. students have since experimented with it. Game-based learning is a nut that many in IT would love to crack, and Coding in Minecraft has massive potential to inspire interest in computer programming.


What Do Certified IT Professionals Earn in Your U.S. State?


One of the more intriguing outputs from the annual Salary Survey conducted by Certification Magazine is the list of average salaries earned by certified IT professionals in each U.S. state. It usually pops up over the summer, and this year's list appeared online at at the end of last week. The big winner in 2019 is Maryland, where certified IT professional who responded to the survey have an average annual salary of $132,920. The Top Five is rounded out by Massachusetts ($128,790), Virginia ($124,970), California ($122,020), and Kansas ($112,970). As is generally the case, California and Texas provided the most data, with 9.4 percent of all U.S. respondents checking in from California, while 8.8 percent found their way to the Salary Survey from the Lone Star State.


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