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Certification Watch (Vol. 23, No. 36)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, Microsoft says a certification can reverse employment misfortune, the British Computer Society finds that people don't like algorithms, and more.

Microsoft: Get Certified to Rejoin the Workforce


Want to get a job? Microsoft says get an IT certification first.Tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs earlier this year in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the United States. Many have yet to find their way back into the ranks of gainfully employed. At the end of June, Microsoft announced its intention to help 25 million people around the work learn and certify their way into high-demand IT jobs. This week the Microsoft Learn Blog reintroduced this generous and ambitious intiative. Blogger Alex Payne points out that earning a certification can fuel both ends of the hiring process. It helps budding technologists gain the skills and knowledge needed to enter the IT workforce, and it gives tentative employers the confidence they need to take a chance on someone who's technology résumé may not have very many entries. Certification also demostrates to potential employers that the credential holder is willing to work and able to internalize new information and put it to productive use. Exam candidates can schedule a certification exam for just $15 through Dec. 31, to be completed on or before March 31, 2021. (A Microsoft certification exam for just $15!? We might have buried the lead on this one.)


CompTIA Offers Career Blueprint for Aspiring CISOs


Cybersecurity is an important responsibility for every employee of every modern organization or business. It's perhaps most important, however, for the chief information security officer, or CISO, of a given enterprise. CISOs are responsible to determine cybersecurity policies and procedures, communicate them to leadership and employees from top to bottom, and then manage the implementation of and compliance with those organizational standards. It's a demanding role that requires a highly capable individual, but tech industry association CompTIA says there's no need to shrink from the title (and the six-figure salary that typically comes with it). A new post to the CompTIA blog outlines the expectations that aspiring CISOs should be prepared to shoulder and offers a pithy blueprint for anyone who would like to climb the ladder to an executive role of critical importance. At the heart of those recommendations is a CompTIA certification, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+). CISOs are generally expected to have an impressive depth of professional experience, so if you've been picturing yourself in the role, then get a cybersecurity job as soon as you can.


Skillsoft Presents Free Boot Camp to Fight Data and AI Bias


It's full speed ahead for research into artificial intelligence, and AI is often tasked with evaluating mountains of data. The rush to build giant electronic brains, however, is proceeding so quickly that important considerations may be falling by the wayside. One overarching concern is the question of whether bias is being baked into AI by its creators, and how that implicit bias will affect mechanical evaluation of human data. Education technology provider Skillsoft is hosting an upcoming boot camp event to promote discussion and understanding of the growing problem, as well as think about how to mitigate its known and unknown effects. The two-day virtual and interactive event is being offered free of charge to interested parties Sept. 29 and 30.


British Computer Society Reveals Distrust of Algorithms


A BCS survey says humans don't trust algorithms.Speaking of information technology (IT) and biases, the casual observer may find this hard to believe, but there is a growing distrust among flesh-and-blood humans of the algorithms increasingly used by technology companies to make decisions about people. Putting its finger on the pulsating man-computer antipathy that has probably existed at least since the invention of the abacus, the British Computer Society found in a recent survey that 53 percent of adults in the United Kingdom have no faith in the assessment of humans by algorithms. Anyone who has paid attention to the simmering distrust of unfailingly malevolent computers depicted in everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Terminator to The Matrix could probably have accurately predicted this result, but now there's hard data. The BCS survey turned up quite an impressive haul of interesting tidbits beyond the basic "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" dislike of having math draw a box around us — for example, healthcare, financial services, and (oddly) government intelligence are the areas where confidence in algorithms is strongest — so click on over and dive in.


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..

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