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Certification Watch (Vol. 16, No. 8)

News about certification quality labels in Europe, doctor aging cybersecurity countermeasures, and more.

Gold Star for Euro-certs?

It may not be the case that all certifications are created equal — although becoming certified could very well assist you in your pursuit of happiness — but shouldn't all of them at least meet some minimum standard? The Linux Professional Institute says yes. LPI joined the European e-Skills Association earlier this year to help implement a system for assessing the value of various certifications offered by companies and organziations in Europe. The goal is to help the next generation of IT workers in Europe "make informed decisions around education, training and certification." That aim will be accomplished in part by issuing "quality labels" that guarantee certification programs meet certain standards.

There's a benefit to the certification vendor as well. IT forecasters predict that demand for tech workers will far outstrip supply in coming years. The quality label provides another way for tech companies to attract potential employees to their certification programs.

Get Certified = Get Cool Stuff

Certification vendors frequently offer discounts, free retakes and other incentives to lure potential certification candidates. IBM, however, is particularly serious about greasing your palm. The computing giant has been running a "frequent flyer"-style certification incentive program since July 1, and has now extended the fun through the end of 2013. Each time you successfully complete an IBM certification exam, you bank a certain number "KYI" (Know You IBM) points. Points can be redeemed for gaming consoles, media players, phones and more — call it "certswag." You're limited to 800 points in all, which is roughly equivalent to $200. You know what they say: If you were going to get certified anyway, why not grab a couple of Benjamins while you're at it?

Microsoft Hosts Online Certification Conference

There's no need to pack a razor, or make hotel reservations, if you want to attend the Microsoft Insights conference on Oct. 29. The one-day event is free (registration is required), and features a lineup of education and employment professionals. Microsoft Learning promises an interactive discussion on "emerging opportunities in technology." Attendees will also learn about the various earning potential of new jobs, as well as the skills required to obtain them. In addition to discussing such questions as, "Is certification the right choice for me?," Insights participants will have the opportunity to win a certification exam pack. Not only that, but since it's a virtual event, nobody has to stand around at the evening mixer holding a drink and wondering what to say.

Did You Get Your APT Booster Shot?

It's the tech equivalent of getting caught with your pants down. A digital troublemaker comes calling, and your security measures are a decade or more out of date. Oops. A new book from IT governance group ISACA says that many enterprises may not even know they're at risk. The new book specifically addresses the danger of APTs, or Advanced Persistent Threats. According to an ISACA cybersecurity survey, one in five enterprises has been the target of an APT attack. The most destructive APTs currently tracked first appeared in the early '00s, so many of the countermeasures used to thwart them are of roughly equivalent vintage. That's not nearly good enough, according to ISACA.

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..