CompTIA Finds Tech Tranquility Deep in the Heart of Texas
Much like the Salary Survey from Certification Magazine, the Tech Town Index compiled by tech industry association CompTIA is a beacon on the calendar of each year's recurring information technology (IT) career interest data dumps. Each year the Tech Town Index declares which cities in the United States are the best places to live and work for career IT professionals. This year's top tech town, for the fourth year in a row, is the progressive oasis of Austin, the capital city of Texas. CompTIA compiles the index by sifting through IT employment data from 20 different metropolitan areas with populations in excess of 250,000. Cost of living and projected IT employment growth also plays a role in shaping the rankings. Charlotte, N.C., was the top tech town in 2018, the year that CompTIA first launched the list, but it's been Austin ever since. Also among the 10 highest-ranked cities are San Jose, Dallas, Atlanta, Huntsville (Ala.), Charlotte (N.C.), Raleigh (N.C.), San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
The Key to Cisco CCIE Certification
The notoriously difficult CCIE credential sits atop the Cisco certification pyramid, available in six different specializations. Getting CCIE-certified in any of those six specializations requires a major investment of time, training, and testing, an effort that is typically only marshaled after an individual has accrued years of professional computer networking experience. If you're looking for some perspective regarding that long process, then there's an engaging new post to the Cisco Certifications Blog. Newly CCIE-certified networking professional Arthur Spahnle describes his journey from working in a TV repair shop to sealing the CCIE certification deal. It won't surprise you to learn that Arthur worked in tech jobs for more than a decade before even getting around to thinking about CCIE certification. He also got some key advice that applies to most certification efforts, noting that a friend told him that CCIE is a marathon and not a sprint. Pacing oneself is critical to success.
Microsoft Learn Has Crowded Docket of New Credentials
There are so many Microsoft certifications that no one person could earn them all. (Cue the universe conspiring to place a magical individual who holds every Microsoft certification in the path of Certification Watch.) Even if you earned a number of Microsoft certifications equal to the total number of active Microsoft certifications, however, you couldn't claim to hold them all, because Microsoft shuffles its certification deck constantly, retiring "old" credentials and giving birth to new ones. That's the case right now, with no fewer than four new certifications in development: Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert, Microsoft 365 Certified: Exchange Online Support Engineer Specialty, Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate, and Microsoft Certified: Power Automate RPA Developer Associate. Just remember that Microsoft certifications are not like Pokemon. You don't have to get (catch) them all.
AWS Offers Free Cloud Training Courses
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the premiere cloud services provider by an impressive margin, and it's almost certainly the case that AWS, collectively, has forgotten more about cloud computing than most IT professionals will ever know. So it's pretty cool that the AWS Educate program is back to spread some cloud knowledge around free of charge. As outlined in a new announcement posted at the AWS Training and Certification Blog, AWS Educate, recently relaunched after being dormant for an unspecified period of time, will provide free cloud skills training to IT learners of all ages.
Bigger (and Better?) CISSP Exam on the Way
Here's a notable heads-up for anyone hoping to take cybersecurity professional association (ISC)2's highly regarded CISSP certification exam this year. Starting June 1, (ISC)2 will double the number of pretest items from 25 to 50. The pretest items are exam questions that are not scored. They are included in the CISSP exam to facilitate future exam development. With the additional questions included, the time allowed to complete the exam will also be pumped up. Also starting June 1, CISSP certification candidates will have four hours to complete the exam instead of three. The post to the (ISC)2 Blog (linked above) that outlines the changes does not specify whether or not the shift to a longer exam is only temporary.
That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the GoCertify News Editor.