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Certification Watch (Vol. 17, No. 32)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, Microsoft expands the reach of its online proctored exams, CompTIA's CertMaster cracks the whip on another CompTIA credential, and more.

Microsoft Goes Global with Online Proctored Exams


Online testingJust a few months back, Microsoft Learning (assisted and possibly emboldened by its then-newly struck partnership with Pearson VUE) stuck a toe in the tempestuous sea of online certification testing. The water must be feeling pretty nice at this point, because the certification powerhouse has now essentially done the equivalent of chuck its clothes on the wet sand and rush headlong into the thundering surf. The initial availability of online proctored exams was limited strictly to the United States, but as of Dec. 16, select MCP and MTA exams are now available in 20 additional countries: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and Uruguay. Conspicious by their absence from that list: Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Spain and South Korea. Potential test takers in those countries probably won't be kept waiting long: Another round of expansion is set to occur in 2015.


EMC² Expands Cetification Offerings


What are your plans to ring in the new year? Why not get a certification in your sights? Data storage titan EMC² is now in the process of overhauling a handful of its EMC Proven Professional certification offerings. Three new certification exams are set to arrive Jan. 9, just in time to bail you out of falling on your face with yet another New Year's resolution. Two of the updated exams are specific to EMC²'s RecoverPoint, a data protection program, while the third is tied to a different data security suite, EMC²'s NetWorker. All three are designed to help EMC Proven Professionals in the Specialist track keep their knowledge current.


VMware Offers Recertification, Free eLearning Courses


As long as we're on the topic of keeping those certified skills sharp, VMware Education is presently offering recertification assistance to holders of its VMware Certified Professional: Data Center Virtualization crednetial. The VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification exam can be taken online and at a greatly discounted rate, but the time to act is now, or at least soon. The delta exam will only be available until March 10. And that's not all that VMware has in its Santa's sack of certification goodness. The virtualization giant is also providing two free e-learning courses, one covering its VMware App Volumes product, and another that plunges learners into its VMWare Cloud Management platform. These classes are easy on those overtaxed credit cards, and perfect for that stolen holiday interlude when you have a laptop handy and a couple of hours free.


Cisco Learning Network Blogger Wraps Up Five-Part Challenge


With the end-of-year holiday season in overdrive and 2015 still a couple of weeks away, most people's drive to self-improve is probably at its lowest ebb of the entire calendar year. If you want end 2014 with a certification bang, however, then now is an opportune moment to take a page from the playbook of Cisco Learning Network blogger Danny Tomic. Tomic has been rolling through a five-part project to help readers "enrich" their certification journey this year, and Part Five is finally here. Previous posts in the series instructed IT pros to attend a conference, teach something to someone, share their soundtrack for success, and study with a group. The last step in the process is to — naw, we won't spoil that here. Go read Tomic's post and find out for yourself.


(ISC)² Issues Call for Speakers to Appear at Annual Security Congress


'Tis the season to plan your IT conference and convention itinerary for 2015. With the 2014 convention hoopla fading in the rearview mirror, it's time to plan and prepare for more meet-and-mingle madness next year. Among the groups making plans, (ISC)² has announced its fifth annual (ISC)² Security Congress event and is currently seeking security experts to speak to attendees. Topics under consideration for the gathering, to be held Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in Anaheim, Calif., inlude: cloud security, swiss army knife, mobile device security, governance, software assurance, malware, threats, professional development, forensics, healthcare security, women in security and identity management. Proposals will be accepted until March 2.


CertMaster Adds CompTIA IT Fundamentals


Among the more notable IT certification developments of 2014, IT industry association CompTIA's rollout of CertMaster, an adaptive learning certification training tool, is still making waves. CertMaster entered the playing field with prep content for the A+, Security+, Network+ and Strata IT Fundamentals certs already installed, and a promise that additional CompTIA credentials would be added in the future. Last week, a long silence on that point was broken, sort of, with the announcment that IT Fundamentals prep content has now been added as well. Since IT Fundamentals was created to replace the outgoing Strata IT Fundamentals, well, it's likely that nobody had to really stretch to get prep material for the new version of the old exam into the CertMaster memory banks. If you're dying to hit Linux+ or Cloud+, for example, on CertMaster, it's probably best to look ahead to 2015 at this point.


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..