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Certification Watch (Vol. 17, No. 24)

News about planning to attack your certification exam, ed certs that show you the money, and more.

Guns Blazing or Choose Your Targets?


Make a plan StanWhat's the best way to attack a certification exam? Part of the answer depends on you. What's your test-taking style, and what's worked well for you in the past? Most approaches probably involve at least a modicum of strategy, however, and that's where Bruno van de Werve comes is. In a post at Cisco Learning Network's Unleasing CCIE Routing and Switching v5.0 blog, van de Werve argues that you shouldn't tackle the famously difficult CCIE lab exams without careful preparation. As van de Werve sees it, your exact battle plan should be tailored by you to emphasize your strengths and hide your weaknesses, but he does offer a few global suggestions, such as keeping an eye on the clock, carefully assessing details and NOT striving for perfection. The likelihood is that you're going to miss a few answers here and there, so cherry pick the easy questions first, then circle back to give the tougher ones your best shot.


CSI Instructor is the Master of His Students' Certification


Studying for certification can be like wrestling a bear, but what if the bear went out of his way to coach you on your holds and help you win the match? CompTIA wants to change the certification preparation game with its CertMaster training tool, a study aid that literally aids your study by using adaptive learning techniques to continually enhance your cognition and retention. The latest IT professional to publicly sing the praises of CertMaster is Richard Tamme, an instructor for certification training provider Computer Systems Institute. One example of CertMaster's cutting edge approach is a feature that asks students to rate their level of confidence when they give an answer. Instead of cruising past critical knowlege mileposts on the strength of a lucky guess, students who can't back up their answers are challenged to learn the material again. Tamme tells CompTIA's IT Careers Blog that he thinks the new teaching tool is for everyone. "I would recommend the program for all of my students as a complete learning and study tool for exam preparation," he says.


Trick or Treat or Scary Data-Devouring Virus?


Halloween is fast approaching, but some things are just plain more terrifying than a black cat or a grinning jack-o-lantern. Hackers, for example. Think of all those billions of dollars up in smoke! That's probably why October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the United States, a tradition that began in 2004. To help promote improved cybersecurity awareness, (ISC)² has a special Halloween treat for everyone from IT pros to parents and children. The global IT security association is offering a series of tips throughout the month. The first set of tips, embedded in the press release linked above, is directed to working professionals who attend conferences and conventions. For example, be sure that any mobile devices you take with you can only be accessed with a pin or passcode. And don't transport sensitive or confidential data in your tablet or laptop unless its essential to your presence at the conference. Different sets of cybersecurity tips will be issued throughout the month.


Oracle Implements New Recertification Policy


It's time to check the "born on" date (so to speak) of your Oracle Database Administration certs. Previously considered valid indefinitely, those certs are being shifted to a seat on the recertification express. Not only that, but if the version of Oracle Database products that you certified on has been retired, then your retired credential will become invalid until you upgrade to a current version. "Stuff and nonsense!" you say? Nope. It's just the cost of maintaining the prestige associated with your Oracle certifications. The new recertification requirements will kick in Nov. 1, so you have a few weeks to get your ducks in a row.


Study Says: Microsoft Certs Add Zeroes to Your Paycheck


There are many reasons to pursue certification, and money is generally regarded as being among the less respectable of those motivations. Let's be honest, though, even people who don't openly acknowledge an interest in padding their bottom line are probably secretly hoping for some extra cabbage. Now there's apparently hard data to back up those of your looking for a financial edge. Last month, Microsoft announced the results of study which directly attaches monetary value to Microsoft certs. According to research compiled by the independent group International Data Corporation (IDC), IT workers who hold MCSA And MOS certs can earn between $10,000 and $16,000 more per year than their non-certified peers. So if you want/need more money from your employer, now there's at least one clear indication of a step you could take to invite that outcome.


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..