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Certification Watch (Vol. 22, No. 35)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, Microsoft Learning bids a fond farewell to the Microsoft Professional Program, Certification Magazine takes a long look at CompTIA's Security+ cert, and more.

Microsoft Professional Program Gets an Expiration Date

 

The Microsoft Professional Program is about to expire.Microsoft has never been shy about shaking things up at Microsoft Learning, the certification and training arm of the Seattle-area software titan. Microsoft certifications have been a pillar of the IT certification industry for as long as it's been an industry, but there have also been plenty of changes in that multidecade span. The latest certification innovation to get backtracked into oblivion is the Microsoft Professional Program, which is slated for cancellation as of Dec. 31. It took just a few short years for Microsoft brass to decide that the Microsoft Professional Program, launched in 2016, was a wrong turn. The original intent of the MPP, as laid out in soon-to-be-obsolete publicity materials, was to help build up the global IT workforce: "Recognizing a shortage of qualified individuals to fill the growing need for specific job roles, Microsoft Professional Program is a new way to learn the skills and get the hands-on experience these roles require." The MPP cancellation announcement makes it clear that Microsoft is still a big believe in the value of IT certification, but the company will now encourage tech professionals to add to their skills via Microsoft Learn.

 

ISACA Blogger Has Bold Take on Cybersecurity Awareness Training

 

Cybersecurity awareness training is often put forth as a much needed first step to creating a more secure environment in workplaces around the world. Yet Kris Martel, CISO for Emagine IT, writes in a recent post to the ISACA Now Blog of cybersecurity and governance association ISACA that, essentially, we've gotten past the point where mere awareness training can meaningfully improve cybersecurity. Indeed, Martel argues, cybersecurity awareness training, where it is used at all, has become rote and unengaging by its very repetition. Not only that, but cybersecurity awareness training has also raised awareness among digital malefactors of what potential victims are being taught to thwart their designs. We've essentially shown the bad guys, Martel says, how not to attack us. The solution, as Martel sees it, is to promote better cybersecurity hygiene by teaching workers the rudiments of hacking. Teach a man to phish, and he'll be much less likely to be phished by someone else. It's a cool concept and would certainly make for more stimulating awarness training.

 

Teaching IT Skills by Directly Involving Learners in IT Tasks

 

There are many schools around the United States (and in other parts of the world) where students get advanced computer technology training by doing actual IT support and IT service work. There's a fun story of the birth of such a program in a recent post to the IT Career News blog of tech industry association CompTIA. Blogger Matthew Stern relates the curious case of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tenn., where a bored student poked a hole in the school firewall so that he could play an online game during classes. School IT personnel quickly recruited him to the then-nascent IT apprenticeship program. Such programs are typically a win-win scenario, lightening the IT support and maintenance load for school officials while helping students learn valuable (and employable) skills at the same time that they are deepening their understanding of information technology.