Logical Operations to offer cybersecurity certifications
The way we learn and work has changed more in the past four decades than in all the previous centuries. Today, the development and implementation of creative learning solutions for individuals and organizations is happening almost faster than one can keep up. It's driven even more so by the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and social collaboration tools.
For more than 33 years, Logical Operations has been changing the learning industry landscape. As an industry leader, they currently offer the most widely used training courseware available. With more than 3,000 training delivery partners worldwide, and long-lasting strategic partnerships with some of the most respected companies in the industry, including Cisco, CompTIA and IBM, Logical Operations courseware reaches millions of students every year. They offer more than 4,600 high-demand courses covering the gamut from office productivity and technology specializations to sales and marketing.
Since Logical Operations is seen as the "BIG DOG" in professional training courseware development, it came as a surprise when they announced they were going to start offering IT certifications of their own. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Paul Hoffman, Director Certification Programs, about their new direction.
Q: For more than 33 years Logical Operations has set the industry pace. Why shift now?
It's not necessarily a shift, more of an extension of what we are currently doing. Along with our clients, we've noticed that there are areas that are underserved, or not being served at all, by current IT certification programs. Our certifications are a natural response to the needs of our clients — filling skills gaps that need filling, especially in cybersecurity.
Q: So will Logical Operations continue offering IT certification training materials for other organization's credentials?
YES! Training will continue to be the core of our business. It's difficult to have a successful certification without quality training support. Like I said, we are doing more of filling the gaps in certification, where we've noticed a need, rather than competing with existing partners.
Q: How difficult has this shift been, and what was involved in making it happen?
Again, I would call it an "addition" rather than a "shift." Logical Operations is still very focused on providing world-class training products. There is some overlap in the training process that we've been able to leverage for creating certifications. The actual process for offering certifications is an extension of our current training material development process. The real difference is that we have to keep the two processes separate for training and certification, even though they are similar.
Q: What are some of the challenges you've been dealing with entering this new area?
Although the process is similar to creating courses and content we still have to develop the market; we have a new set of customers that we get to start talking to. Our biggest challenge has been establishing new partnerships. Current partnerships are courseware driven — the new ones take some time to create and develop. Testing provides lots of "fun" hoops to jump through. It's a big challenge implementing and putting together all of the new processes you have to have.
The benefit that Logical Operations has is we're the world leader in providing instructor led training (ILT) materials. We've been around for 33 years and have a very solid reputation — we have tremendous reach!
Q: What certifications are you focusing on and how did you choose them?
Right now we are focusing on gaps that we have identified in cybersecurity. Lots of existing cybersecurity certifications are focused on hacking — breaking networks. It's a whole different set of criteria when you are trying to stop someone from breaking a network. You have to build it to stop it. When you're hacking you only have to be right one time; protecting a system you have to be right all the time.
In April we are releasing two new certifications. One is our CyberSec First Responder: Threat Detection and Response certification. This enables security professionals to analyze, threats, design secure computing and network environments, proactively defend networks and respond and investigate cybersecurity issues.
The other exciting offering is CyberSAFE (Securing Assets for the End-User). Way too many hacks are due to breaches in the "social-engineering" side of things with end-users making mistakes like clicking on unknown links, revealing passwords, etc. CyberSAFE is designed for two groups, the non-technical end-users of computers, mobile devices, networks and the Internet who want to minimize their risk and learn to use technology more securely; and for professionals seeking the CyberSAFE credential.
Q: The big push in education these days is "technology in the classroom." I've spoken with a number of teachers who struggle to implement what they already have. What can you tell us about Logical Operations' Modern Classroom Certified Trainer course?
The Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT) is a great certification. MCCT is focused on classroom instructors that use Logical Operations courseware. We have great tools for instructors and we wanted to make sure that they were being used properly. By maximizing the tools available in our courseware, instructors will be able to offer a great learning experience to their students. The MCCT credential denotes that an instructor is prepared for all aspects of teaching our courseware while utilizing our configurable learning platform, CHOICE, as well as our printed courseware.
Q: You mentioned that Logical Operations' courses aren't just for IT types, but are also accessible to individuals trained in different disciplines, like English majors.
I myself was an English major. Every industry needs people who can think critically, support their ideas and communicate effectively. At Logical Operations we just thought that we could help guide those who didn't originally think of IT as a career. An aspect of each of our courses is to help individuals learn industry-jargon, and to help them develop some basic skills so that they can see that they can be suited for IT.