CompTIA Seeks Beta Candidates for New Cloud Essentials+ Exam
It used to be relatively rare, in a given year, for tech industry association CompTIA to add a new certification to its popular portfolio. The pace of expansion has picked up in recent years, and CompTIA may be preparing to really step on the gas. For now, however, it's still fairly unusual for a wholly new CompTIA credential to be available in beta. The renamed Cloud Essentials+ (they added the "+" to be on brand) credential is not entirely fresh – somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the content is new – but the beta period kicked off at the end of April and interested parties can take the exam for a mere $50 during the (currently open-ended) beta period. The fine-tuned mostly-new Cloud Essentials+ exam is scheduled to arrive in mid-November. Unlike most CompTIA exams, the old Cloud Essentials exam has not been updated since making its debut eight years ago in 2011. Most CompTIA exams are overhauled and updated roughly every three years. Cloud computing technology has certainly evolved since 2011, so this update, which will bump up the total number of Cloud Essentials exam questions from 50 to 70, is long overdue.
IT Unemployment Low, But All Is Not Well in Tech Hiring Realm
Statistics revealed at the beginning of this month show that overall unemployment in the United States is pretty darn low – just 3.6 percent – and tech employment facilitator Dice says that generally welcome news is also good for the IT industry. Up to a point. Dice blogger Nick Kolakowski says that U.S. labor force participation actually declined from March to April, and said that IT workers in particular are facing a number of challenges. For example, Kolakowski writes, big tech employers like Facebook and Google are steadily increasing their reliance on contract employees for core IT functions. Contractors don't receive benefits and are often cheaper than regular full-time employees. Automation and machine learning are also eating away at the overall number of full-time IT jobs. And while automation does create some high-end jobs, the number of jobs created is far below the number of jobs eliminated. Basically, tech workers shouldn't entirely trust the rose-colored view that low unemployment alone means everything is better.
Your Password Probably Isn't as Strong as You Think It Is
Last Thursday was World Password Day. Accordingly, the normal level of finger-wagging about your terrible password hygiene (yours and everyone else's, really) ticked up a few notches at the end of the week. If you aren't strong in the knowledge of basic password best practices already, then you should consider hopping over to the CBT Nuggets Blog, where you can get up to speed on "4 Things Everyone Does Wrong with Passwords." Does everyone really do them wrong? Probably not, of course, but even if you're a password strength pro, it never hurts to be reminded of the basics.
Don't Ignore Certs for IT Beginners
There are a lot of at least semi-disparaging words used to describe IT certifications that teach and test the basics. Especially tech workers who are long removed from the sweaty palms and shaky self-confidence of their first-ever IT certification exam probably don't have a whole lot of regard for the importance of really settling into to fundamental IT concepts. That sort of intellectual and emotional distance is probably at least partially responsible for some certification programs neglecting or de-emphasizing "foundational" certifications. A new article by retired professor and educational advocate Steve Linthicum posted at the Certification Magazine website says that foundational tech credentials are still vitally important and that certification programs should be (and remain) committed to maintaining and improving them. If you think about it, long term self-interest should dictate pursuit of that very course. Foundational certs are critical to the development and future growth of the next generation of tech workers, yes, but they're also crucial for certification programs. Such gateway credentials often establish a strong interest in IT and sow the seeds of a relationship that can last for decades.
Microsoft Learning Seeks Input from Microsoft Certified Professionals
We missed it a couple of weeks back when this news was brand new, but Microsoft Learning, the certification and training arm of the software titan, would like to have a few words with Microsoft Certified Professionals. More specifically, Microsoft Learning would like to know what MCPs think about the Microsoft Certification Program. This is the big chance, in other words, for MCPs to tell Microsoft Learning about every little (or large) thing that they would like to see fixed about the overall Microsoft certification experience. The vehicle for that communication is a brief survey (length estimated at 12 minutes), which well remain available until May 17.
That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the GoCertify News Editor.