When to Schedule that Next IT Certification Exam…

November 9, 2018 at 5:25 pm

cert exam

I am updating a whole host of my Data Center certifications and I just had to make some decisions on scheduling. As a result, I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic here, as it is a bit more important than people realize I think.

For this discussion, let’s make an assumption. That assumption is – you have a local testing center that is not over-booked. So this means that you can schedule your exam for whenever you like with just 24 hours notice.

With this assumption in place – what do you do regarding these two main approaches –

  1. Schedule for a date in the future that you want to be ready for.
  2. Schedule for the next day once you verify you are ready.

Here are observations about each approach:

Option 1

  • This can help those that tend to procrastinate and put off studying. Since the exam is scheduled and approaching – you better get studying!
  • This can lead to a pretty major issue. Here it is. You study as much as you can up to the test date. You are unable to study (and lab) several topics as well as you would have liked to and now you just go and take that test and try your best. You pass (barely). Now you move on to the next Cert topic on your list. But of course the issue is, you have some gaps in your knowledge and prep – and now they might NEVER get filled!

Option 2

  • This option is dangerous for those of us that like to put off our studying. Let’s face it – you do not have a firm test date and you might let the process drag on forever.
  • The great news on this approach is that you can be FULLY ready for that exam – ensuring you left no stone unturned.

I always prefer and follow option 2. I use tools to help me (like the Streaks app) to ensure I am prepping for the exam every day. I have had far too many challenges with option 1 – just skating by on exams and then worrying about knowledge gaps.

Whatever path you choose – enjoy the journey!

Data Center Certifications

October 27, 2018 at 7:34 pm

If you are like me – you are super excited about Data Center technologies and the certifications that encompass them. Why? These certifications are really focused on technologies of the future. For example, who wants STP at layer 2 when you can use Cisco FabricPath? Who would want to run traditional IOS gear when you can run more reliable and preformant next-generation gear?

200-155

In this post, I want to provide you with a look at the current Data Center-centric certifications in the market today. As you might guess, I will be creating most, if not all, of these courses/certifications at none other than CBT Nuggets.

Cisco

CCNA Data Center

200-150 Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking (DCICN)

200-155 Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking Technologies (DCICT)

CCNP Data Center

300-175 Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCI)

300-165 Implementing Cisco Data Center Infrastrcuture (DCII)

300-170 Implmenting Cisco Data Center Virtualizaion and Automation (DCVAI)

300-160 Designing Cisco Data Center Infrastrcuture (DCID)

or

300-180 Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Infrastrcuture (DCIT)

CCIE Data Center

400-151 CCIE Data Center

Juniper Networks

Associate

JNCIA-Junos (JN0-102)

Specialist

JNCIS-ENT (JN0-347)

Professional

JNCIP-DC (JNO-680)

Expert

JNCIE-DC (JPR-980)

VMware

VMware Certified Professional

VCP 6.5

VMware Certified Advanced Professional

VCAP 6.5

VMware Certified Design Expert

VCDX 6

IT Certification Demand and Salary Data for 2018

August 24, 2018 at 8:27 pm

IT Salary

I have finally had time to review some of the most recent Global Knowledge survey data and I wanted to share some key findings with my readers here. Remember, none of this is my opinion – it is data pulled from the report that I thought you would be interested in. Don’t shoot the messenger – and never freak out when you see something in a report like this! Learn what you can from it – that is it!

Who is this Data From?

There were 16,200 worldwide that completed the survey. 98% said they were IT Pros.

The Skills Gap!

Did managers think that their teams possessed the skills needed to keep up with organizational goals? The short answer is NO! Globally, 70% of managers felt their employees fell short. In the US and Canada – it was 75%!

This skills gap issue continues to get worse according to the opinions of the managers and that statistics. This is the second straight year this percentage has increased.

What is the biggest part of the problem according to this 70% of managers? By far the biggest problem most identified was the problem of attracting talent. This was especially true in areas that have lagged in technology like healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality.

Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity are Red Hot

These areas continue to crush competing areas. In fact – the gap is getting larger. For example, virtualization is falling farther and farther back as a hot topic for management staff. Of course, we need to be careful here because we all know we cannot have Cloud without virtualization! Even further behind are the following areas:

  • Networking
  • IoT
  • AI

Where are the Cybersecurity Peeps?

The toughest area to fill for employers is in the area of Cybersecurity. This is the main reason that these jobs tend to pay the most! Check out these facts regarding salary:

  • Cybersecurity certifications hold 6 of the top 20 paying spots
  • Annual salary in Latin America for Cybersecurity pros – $34,471
  • Annual salary in North America for Cybersecurity pros – $100,650
  • Cybersecurity offers the highest average global pay at $81,536
  • Second place would be Cloud at $74,064

Certifications Continue to Translate to Results!

Staff members pointed to the following regarding their passion for Certification:

  • Compensation
  • Job satisfaction
  • Promotion
  • Agility for finding employment

Management had this to say:

  • Increased productivity
  • Faster troubleshooting
  • Fewer skills gaps

The difference in salaries for certified vs non-certified averaged $15,000 in the US and around $30,000 in Asia-Pacific.

People that hold at least one cert – tend to be pursuing a second or more. This causes a further lift in pay!

The US Leads in IT Pay

IT Pros average $87,333 in the US compared to the global average of $64,206. I personally do not read too much into these kinds of numbers since the cost of living can also vary so dramatically. We see this even within the US. For me personally, I tend to “make out like a bandit” as I am paid by a company based in Oregon, yet I live in Florida. This means my pay tends to reflect the cost of living for Oregon, which is much more than my actual cost of living in Florida. I sure hope my Manager at CBT Nuggets does not read this!

 

Study Tips – Retain What You Read

April 1, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Study Tips

Most of us spend at least some of our study time for the next great IT Certification reading from books, whitepapers, or online documentation. But how effective this process is depends on how much we retain! Here are some tips for retaining more as you read!

  • Stop and reflect – just read some really important facts about a technology? Look away from the material and really think and reflect on it. This will help retention immensely. It is something we often forget to do because we are typically trying to study as quickly as possible.
  • Repeat, then repeat – consider drills, flash cards, or exercises, and consider doing them over a nice long period. Most recommend repetition over long-stage, spaced intervals to keep information fresh. Reinforcing new concepts every week or two helps it become known facts.
  • Create a catchy word or phase – the famous All People Seem To Need Data Processing or Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away is so famous because it works! One I learned from Keith Barker is the Port Security violation modes in Cisco networking. I always struggled to remember which one did not log and violations and was not recommended by Cisco. He taught me to just remember them in alphabetical order. P – R – S. Protect – Restrict – Shutdown. I never forgot that Protect is the lame one again as that order also reflects action severity!
  • Remove distractions – the ping of a cell phone, a desk photograph, music, e-mail – and of these might take you out of the zone you want to be in while reading!
  • Make connections – try and tie what you learn into other facts that you have memorized. The OSI Model is a great example of this as you can place new technologies in their appropriate layer and make connections with surrounding technologies.
  • Prioritize what counts – as you are reading, constantly reflect on what the most important information is so you can really focus on that!

Power Google Search Usage – Part 4

September 8, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Screenshot 2015-09-07 14.44.19Here is my final installment in power Google search tips – have fun!

19 – Page Titles – want to be really specific with your search? You can restrict it to just page titles with intitle:eigrp for example.

20 – Use Google on your Site – check out www.google.com/cse to use the Google search technology for your own Web site.

21 – Advanced Search – having trouble remembering all the syntax for the various advanced search options? Just use www.google.com/advanced_search. It is the GUI method! 🙂

22 – Choose your Source – use the source: command to filter content – for example Cisco Systems source:techradar. Don’t forget to click on NEWS after this search for it to work.

23 – Catch a Movie – need a study break? Search on showtimes – you can even follow that with a location.

24 – Conversions – try things like 20 GBP in USD or 12 cm in inches.

25 – Plain Language – try using plain language in your searching like “What is the stratum in NTP?”

I sure hope you enjoyed these 25 tips for power Google use.

Power Google Search Usage – Part 3

September 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Screenshot 2015-09-07 14.44.19

Here are more great tips on power Google searching! Check out the IT Cert category of this blog for the previous parts of this series.

14 – Stay Anonymous – want to eliminate Google from tracking what you are up to as you search? Be sure to log out of your Google account. Just click your image in the top right and choose Sign Out.

15 – Get More Search Results – if you want to see more than 10 results on a page for your Google search – click the cog in the top right of a Google search. Choose Search Settings. Disable instant search predictions and then you can set how many results you want returned for each search. Keep in mind that asking for too many per page can really slow down a system.

16 – SafeSeach – in order to eliminate most violent and inappropriate content that could show up in a search – you can use the SafeSearch feature by clicking the cog in the top right of a search. You can even lock this setting in the Search Settings option.

17 – WebCam Views! – Search for inurl:view/view.shtml in order to peep in on WebCam views from around the world. OK, OK – now get back to studying!

18 – Trends? – want to blog about something people around the world are searching for? Check out www.google.com/trends

Come back tomorrow for more cool tips!