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Certification Watch (Vol. 16, No. 9)

News about mobile app security, abortion trends in cyberwarrioring and more.

Build a Better Mobile App

We all have our lists of things and stuff that need to be taken care of. Do you want to count calories? Make a shopping list? Check TV listings? Check the weather? Check the proper ratio of water to powder for dry-mix concrete? Whatever it is, there's probably an app for that, and most people have dozens of apps on their phone, tablet, or other handheld data device. As apps proliferate, however, so do questions about device and data security. IT trade group CompTIA is aiming to nip the problem in the bud with its new Mobile App Security+ certification. The new vendor-neutral credential is intended to help developers build better, more secure apps. Among other things, the MAS+ exam covers secure coding techniques, common security threats, and basic applicable principles of cryptography and encryption.

Are You a Certified Job Interviewee?

For many people, one of the most important benefits of certification is finding a better job. Having an applicable certification on your resume could be the determining factor in whether or not you get an interview the next time you're applying for jobs. It's still up to you, on the other hand, to nail the interview. Blogger Marcus Fan makes an interesting suggestion at Cisco Learning Network, telling job candidates to use the same approach for interviews that they do for certification exams. Fan suggests using similar preparation techniques, including rigorous study and practice, and treating the interview itself like a grueling exam: be rested, be alert, take notes, and so forth.

Call of Duty — Professional Cyberwarriors Needed

Speaking of jobs, word keeps coming in that the tech sector will very soon be severly undersupplied with "cyberwarriors," the catch-all term used to describe IT security experts skilled at repulsing a variety of digital threats. (Security certifications: It's what's for dinner.) It's a problem for both businesses and governments, with the United States military hoping to quadruple its cybersoldier ranks by 2015. The latest to chime in on the subject is former White House cybersecurity director Chris Finan. As cybercrime skyrockets and businesses scramble to protect against hackers, Finan predicts in an interview with news agency Reuters that it may be difficult to entice skilled security pros to take up government positions over accepting lucrative offers to work in the private sector.

Millenials Not Interested in Fighting Cybercrime

Here's something that's going to make it even harder for potential employers to recuit skilled cyberwarriors — and even more rewarding for security pros with their certifications all in a row. Millennials, the up-and-comers of the IT workforce, don't want to cross digital swords with hackers, and may not even believe that cybersecurity is a problem. A report in USA Today this week details a new survey that reveals that high school- and college-age kids don't want cybersecurity jobs and are often lax about protecting their data and devices against penetration risks. Geeks may be in demand, but kids, apparently, would still rather not be geeks, no matter how highly paid. But wait, isn't The Big Bang Theory the hottest show on television? That may be part of the problem: The millennials in the survey are mostly likely to want to be entrepreneurs and, tellingly, entertainers. That is to say, they don't want to be geeks — they want to play them on TV.

Teachers Wanted

Finally, among all of the jockeying for IT jobs, the British Computer Society is aiming to address a minor prerequisite of the cybertrainee feeding frenzy. BCS officials announced earlier this week that they are seeking applicants for teacher training scholarships. Because somebody has to teach IT skills to all of the non-indifferent millennials — as well as the generation that comes after them — who will soon be called on to beef up tomorrow's IT workforce.