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Certification Watch (Vol. 23, No. 49)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certifications news, Certiport is doubling down on world championship certification competitions, we catch up with Robert Half's top certifications list, and more.

Certiport Sets Certification World Championship Wheels Turning


The annual MOS World Championship event is on.The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship is almost certainly the largest IT certification competition in the world. Like Trix breakfast cereal, however, the annual MOS mania is strictly for kids: The competition is only open to students between the ages of 13 and 22. In 2021, the MOS World Championship is expected to feature more than 800,000 total participants from more than 100 different countries around the globe. Students compete to demonstrate their mastery of three core Microsoft Office applications: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Winners at the national championship level will gather at a resort in Orlando, Fla., next year, Aug. 1-4, to determine who among them is the world's best. The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) World Championship isn't quite at the level of the MOS event — around 130,000 students from 65 different countries are expected to participate. Certiport is in charge of that one, too, however, and it also represents a golden opportunity for students ages 13-22 to hone their IT skills, get certified, and possible even win some cash prizes.


CompTIA Takes Behind-the-Scenes Look at Security Operations Center


A security operations center (SOC) is the sort of thing that most of us believe or know is really out there, even though most of us have probably never actually seen one. It's a base of operations from which skilled cybersecurity professionals contront and turn back cybersecurity attacks, protecting a business, a government agency, a bank, or whatever organization the SOC is attached to. What really goes on in that setting, on the other hand, is something that most of don't really grasp to any greater extent than picturing people hunkered down in front of computer monitors rapidly pecking at keyboards. If you've ever been curious to know what an SOC really looks like, and how it functions, then there's a fascinating new post to the official blog of tech industry association CompTIA this week that provides a day-in-the-life walkthrough of what the team at an SOC actually experiences. For example, cybersecurity never sleeps, so the first order of business is for the night shift to hand off operations to the daylight crew, letting them know what operations are in progress and what threats are being monitored. Blogger Ashley Watters gives an engrossing rudown of the nuts and bolts of a typical workday, and then wraps things up with a summation of what sort of education and background are needed to get a job in an SOC.


Certification Is a Viable Point of Entry to Professional IT Employment


It's generally accepted that the surest path to professional IT employment is to get a college dergree. Certification Magazine reported earlier this year that 80 percent of the certified IT professionals in the United States who completed its 2020 Salary Survey have at least a two-year (associate's) college degree. That's not to say that there aren't other avenues open, and a new article at, the official Certification Magazine website, proves the point. Preston Strait, a vice president at California-based Secured Retail Networks, tells his own story about following his IT ambitions all the way to the proverbial corner office without ever completing college. Instead, Strait relied on a combination of professional experience and professional credentials to gradually climb the ladder. He started out getting Microsoft and Cisco certs while in (and shortly after) high school, and continued on from there. As Strait puts it, "I found that my certifications took me where I needed to go. I started doing quality assurance and random jobs through different temp agencies and for tech consultancies." Strait's experience sets a positive example for both career switchers and students eyeing a future in IT.


The 29 Most Valuable IT Certifications of ... 2020?


We found another list of "hot" certs!Sometimes in life, you show up to the party just as the caterers are loading up their vans and the cleanup crew is taking down chairs. Technology employment facilitator Robert Half posted a listed of the 29 "most valuable" IT certifications of 2020 all the way back on Feb. 5. We didn't know what we were missing for most of the year, but we did finally stumble across the list this week, so we're brining it to the attention of all of the other Johnnies Come Lately out there. There's lots of good information here, and most of it will probably still apply in 2021.


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..

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