System Critical – The Need for Women in STEM

Author Archive for Jennifer Driscoll

System Critical – The Need for Women in STEM

TechSherpas 365 recently attended the “Women in the Workforce: A journey in STEM” conference held in Washington D.C. The conference explored the barriers women face and how to overcome them – while also providing tools and resources to encourage young women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers.

Read on to find out why it is so imperative for us to encourage young women to pursue STEM and their vital role in advancing innovation.

Bridging the Gender Gap

With the passage of time, attitudes and practices of empowering women in the workplace have changed in a more positive direction. While there is much to celebrate, there is still much to be done. Despite the fact that in 2020, (pre-pandemic) the US Bureau of Labor reported that women make up 50.04% of the workforce, they hold only 27% of STEM-related positions.

In order to close the gender gap in STEM fields, we need solutions that work on multiple levels. In childhood, girls are often discouraged from science and mathematics and encouraged to adopt care-oriented careers. The discrimination against women in STEM continues through education and into the workplace.Power Platform Worker

The following are key factors perpetuating the gender gap in STEM:

  • Stereotypes – Inequity and exclusion create chain reactions in this field. Girls may be interested in STEM during their early education, but they may think of the field as being reserved for boys or men. As a result, they may choose goals that are more socially acceptable to them.
  • Lack of Diversity – Since fewer women are studying and working in STEM fields, these fields tend to perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary, male-dominated cultures that do not support or attract women and other minorities.
  • Limited Mentorship – There are fewer female role models who inspire girls/women to pursue these areas. Limited representation also discourages them from pursuing careers in these fields.

Women and young girls must be encouraged to pursue – and remain in – STEM roles by eliminating the most common obstacles to them. In championing women in technology, we add diverse perspectives to industry conversations – perspectives that can provide new ideas and opportunities for innovation.

Diversity makes STEM better

Research proves that more gender diversity leads to greater access of viewpoints, questions, and areas studied by researchers, leading to greater exploration of new research areas and technical innovation. Without women and other underrepresented groups in STEM, the world will miss out on the value of alternate perspectives.

As mentioned in our previous blog “Why the Future of Technology Depends on Women and Diversity,It’s no secret, women think differently than men. Reports indicate that on average, companies that promote diversity and equality, outperform their underrepresented peers by 34% and companies that had women in multiple leadership roles saw over a 60% increase in their return on investment.”

It has also been reported that companies that offer inclusive environments achieve their financial goals by 120%. Not only does diversity breed innovation, it also seems to go hand in hand with increased profits.

How to Increase Diversity:

  • Bias Training Employees and management should be trained in how to recognize implicit biases and reduce their impact in the workforce.
  • Diverse Decision-Making Committees In all committees, women and people of color should be included, whether selecting speakers for a conferences, review candidates for technical positions, or evaluate applications. Researchers have found that the presence of even one woman on speakers selection committees positively correlates with an increased proportion of female participants.
  • Mentoring Programs It is crucial that women have mentors to provide career advice, guidance, and support. By creating a mentorship program, women in STEM can feel less isolated and connected.
  • Promoting Work-Life Balance Since women continue to bear more caregiving duties than men, institutions should implement family-friendly policies, such as on-site child care and medical leave benefits, and flexible working environments.

Diversifying Management

Almost 7% of all U.S. occupations are in STEM fields, and STEM employees play a crucial role in America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. To understand today’s threats and develop feasible solutions, we need every tool at our disposal. Since STEM fields are at the forefront of creating and finding innovative solutions, we need the best thinkers at every level, and women must be included.

Women tend to possess the “soft” skills that many STEM-based companies or groups lack (but always need), such as emotional intelligence, collaboration skills, and empathy – when these attributes are coupled with technical skills, you have someone you’d want on your team — or better yet, in management.

Approximately 16% of managers in the information technology industry are women. The gender gap persists among C-level executives, with only 3% of CEOs and 17% of CIOs being female. As mentioned earlier, reports show that companies who promote diversity and equality, outperform their peers by 34%, and companies that had women in multiple leadership roles saw over 60% increase on ROI.

In fostering broader diversity, having a greater women’s presence in leadership can drive recruitment efforts and fuel long-term cultural shifts necessary for sustainability. The gender STEM gap may have started in the classroom, but it culminates in the boardroom. Women remain a significant minority in most innovation-related fields, resulting in skill shortages and stalled progress.

Encouraging Education and Training

There has historically been a systematic exclusion of women from higher education. The opening of education to women has seen great progress in recent decades, but there remains a great deal to be done. Across colleges, STEM fields see a greater imbalance of males to females than other degree programs.

Research indicates that 49% of women who enter college wanting to major in STEM change their major, compared with only 32% of men. In science and engineering, women make up only 27% of the overall workforce, despite making up half of the total workforce with college degrees.

Alternative EducationWomen in Tech

Like anything that changes with the times, traditional aspects of “education” have also adapted. The ability to obtain a certification is now more accessible than obtaining a degree from a traditional school.

Technology certifications are an example of alternative education young women can easily pursue. A certification can serve as a substitute for a traditional four-year degree. IT certification candidates can easily become certified in Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, Cybersecurity, VMware, ITIL, and so on.

Certifications are achievable and reduce the number of hurdles established in the traditional setting for girls who are interested in becoming developers, data scientists, database administrators, risk managers, and many other professions.  As with four-year institutions, scholarships are available for young women who choose the certification route for their STEM careers.

Looking to the Future

There’s work to be done. The companies, teachers, and individuals that create cultures that promote, empower, and advance women lead the way in breaking down barriers.

It is important to inspire and attract new generations of female workers to traditionally male industries. We need new ideas and innovations to fill the skills gap as well as support new ideas and innovations in the workplace. In the long run, organizations can benefit from embracing diversity in all its facets and enjoy success for generations to come.

Get in touch with TechSherpas 365 to discuss your training needs if you are interested in pursuing a STEM career or know of someone else who is.

Harnessing the Power of Microsoft’s Power Platform

Harnessing the Power of Microsoft’s Power Platform

The Power Platform from Microsoft is the low-code platform that spans Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, and standalone applications. This platform allows organizations and individuals to automate and transform tasks and processes, build solutions, analyze data, and create virtual agents.

Learn how one connected platform empowers everyone to innovate.

What is Microsoft Power Platform?

Developed by Microsoft, the Power Platform is a collection of applications for business intelligence, app development, and app connectivity. The Power Platform uses Microsoft’s Power Fx low-code language to express logic. It also integrates with GitHub and Microsoft Teams.

What are the Parts Power Platform?

Power Platform is composed of four elements: automating processes (Power Automate), creating apps to simplify processes and tasks (Power Apps), analyzing data and maximizing its value (Power BI), and creating powerful virtual agents that automatically perform tasks or perform action when appropriate (Power Virtual Agents).

Power BI: Business Analytics

  • Data is centralized and consolidated for a comprehensive view across the organizationPower Platform Worker
  • Ability to build interactive reports and dashboards that can be consumed online and across mobile devices based on ad-hoc analysis, live dashboards and live data.
  • Build smart applications that use data insights to drive action

Power Apps: Application Development

  • Develop highly customized task- and role-based canvas apps from individual or multiple sources of data
  • Create immersive model-driven apps for the organization based on data model and business processes
  • On any device, use fully accessible apps across web and mobile, embedded or standalone

Power Automate: Process Automation

  • Streamline and automate business processes across all apps and services.
  • Automations ranging from simple branches and loops to more complex scenarios.
  • Receive alerts, approve actions, and receive approvals directly from your workspace.
  • Automation of legacy, on-premises, and cloud applications and services.

Power Virtual Agents: Intelligent Virtual Agents

  • Using a no-code graphical interface, an organization can build powerful virtual agents without needing to hire data scientists or software developers.
  • Provide the virtual agent with authority to take action on behalf of customers. Create custom workflows for your virtual agent or easily integrate it with many services and workflows.
  • Using conversational metrics and dashboards, monitor how virtual agent are performing while improving bot performance with in-depth AI insights.

Roles in Power Platform

With the right IT training and Microsoft certifications, a successful career in Power Platform can easily be accomplished. Power Platform roles are expected to increase in demand by 31% over the next five years. In addition to salaries ranging from $80,000 to $165,500, a career in Power Platform is a great investment for your IT career.

Power Platform Fundamentals:

Those in the fundamentals role aspire to improve productivity by understanding and using the capabilities of Microsoft Power Platform.

Power Platform App Maker:

The App Maker builds solutions to simplify, automate, and transform tasks and processes for themselves and their team where they have deep expertise in the solution business domain. They have basic data modeling, user experience design, requirements analysis, and process analysis skills. The App Maker creates and enforces business processes, structures digital collection of information, improves efficiency of repeatable tasks, and automates business processes.

Power Platform Functional Consultant:

A Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant is responsible for creating and configuring apps, automations, and solutions. They act as the liaison between users and the implementation team. The functional consultant promotes utilization of solutions within an organization. The functional consultant may perform discovery, engage subject matter experts and stakeholders, capture requirements, and map requirements to features. They implement components of a solution including application enhancements, custom user experiences, system integrations, data conversions, custom process automation, and simple visualizations.

Power Platform Developer:

Power Platform Developers design, develop, secure, and troubleshoot Power Platform solutions. They implement components of the solution that include application enhancements, custom user experience, system integrations, data conversions, custom process automation, and custom visualizations.

Data Analyst:

Data Analysts help businesses to maximize the value of their data assets using Microsoft Power BI.Power Platform Professionals

Power Platform Solution Architect:

Solution architects for Power Platform lead successful implementations and focus on how solutions address the broader business and technical needs of organizations.

How to get Trained and Certified:

The first step in a successful career path is to get the appropriate training, which applies to software engineers, database administrators, data scientists and analysts, architects, or those new to IT.

TechSherpas 365 offers a robust course schedule and flexible training delivery options to ensure you can get the training you need in Power Platform. Contact us to learn more!

Become an Expert in the Cloud with Microsoft

Become an Expert in the Cloud with Microsoft

Learn how to build the right skills on Azure not only to enhance your digital transformation, but also to identify the right certifications to meet the tasks you have at hand, or those that you anticipate undertaking in the future.

The Digital Transformation Embraced with Azure

In the current era of digital transformation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you think about it as a journey – with incremental steps toward a long-term goal – it becomes much less intimidating. Digital transformation has brought significant benefits to organizations, including:

  • Increased agility
  • Products getting to market faster
  • Improved efficiencies
  • Lower costs

Microsoft Azure enables anyone—regardless of their background or company—to accomplish more and innovate more meaningfully. The challenge is to embrace new capabilities now and to invest in those yet to come. Cloud Computing

How can Azure Certifications help you

If you haven’t looked at Azure in a while, you might be surprised to see what is available. Currently Azure offers more than 200 products and services to be utilized by organizations and individuals alike. An alarming statistic shows that 60% of IT decision-makers believe skills gaps cost their employees between three and eight hours per week. Imagine a whole day lost to every employee every week because they haven’t been trained in the skills they need

Azure certifications enable IT pros, developers, and data & AI professionals to validate that they have the necessary skills to cover all the aspects of your digital transformation—from managing on-premises, hybrid, or cloud infrastructure, to innovating with the best-in class applications. Reports show that role-based certifications improve IT professionals’ performance by 26% compared to their uncertified colleagues. This means they can help you ensure that your organization has the right talent.

Types of Certifications

The following certifications validate the skills that IT professionals need to develop, deploy, and manage on-premises, hybrid, or cloud infrastructure solutions. While the certificates we show here are geared towards IT professionals, you’ll see that several of them are nonetheless appropriate for other technical skillsets.

Fundamental Level

AI-900: Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals: The Azure AI Fundamentals course is designed for anyone interested in learning about the types of solution artificial intelligence (AI) makes possible, and the services on Microsoft Azure that you can use to create them. You don’t need to have any experience of using Microsoft Azure before taking this course, but a basic level of familiarity with computer technology and the Internet is assumed. Some of the concepts covered in the course require a basic understanding of mathematics, such as the ability to interpret charts.

AZ-900: Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals: This course is suitable for IT personnel who are just beginning to work with Azure. This audience wants to learn about our offerings and get hands-on experience with the product. This course primarily uses the Azure portal to create services and does not require scripting skills. Students in this course will gain confidence to take other role-based courses and certifications, such as Azure Administrator.

DP-900: Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals: The audience for this course is individuals who want to learn the fundamentals of database concepts in a cloud environment, get basic skilling in cloud data services, and build their foundational knowledge of cloud data services within Microsoft Azure.

 

For IT pros:

Azure Administrator: This certification is recommended for cloud administrators. This is a solid starting point for all IT pros, as all other certifications assume you have strong Azure administration knowledge and experience. Azure Administrators implement, manage, and monitors identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment. AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator

Azure for SAP workloads: This course is for Azure Administrators who migrate and manage SAP solutions on Azure. Azure Administrators manage the cloud services that span storage, networking, and compute cloud capabilities, with a deep understanding of each service across the full IT lifecycle. They take end-user requests for new cloud applications and make recommendations on services to use for optimal performance and scale, as well as provision, size, monitor and adjust as appropriate. AZ-120: Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads

Administrator for Azure Virtual Desktop: As a Windows Virtual Desktop administrator, you will work closely with the Azure Administrators and Architects, along with Microsoft 365 Administrators. Windows Virtual Desktop administrator responsibilities include planning, deploying, packaging, updating, and maintaining the Azure Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure. AZ-140: Configuring and operating Windows Virtual Desktop on Microsoft Azure

Azure Cloud ComputingAzure Solutions Architect: This course is for IT Professionals with expertise in designing and implementing solutions running on Microsoft Azure. They should have broad knowledge of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance. Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-303 & AZ-304)

DevOps Engineer: Students in this course are interested in designing and implementing DevOps processes or in passing the Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam. AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps solutions

Azure Security Engineer: All Azure certifications include a security component, but Azure Security Engineer Associate is a deep dive into security controls and threat protection. It’s all about identity and access, security across data, applications, hybrid and cloud networks, and end-to-end infrastructure. This certification is a nice complement to the Azure Administrator Associate certification. AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

Azure Stack Hub operator: Students for AZ-600: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack Hub are interested in becoming Azure Stack Hub operators who provide cloud services to end users or customers from within their own datacenter using Azure Stack Hub. AZ-600: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack Hub

 

For Developers:

Azure Developer: Developers will learn how to create end-to-end solutions in Microsoft Azure. Students will learn how to implement Azure compute solutions, create Azure Functions, implement and manage web apps, develop solutions utilizing Azure storage, implement authentication and authorization, and secure their solutions by using KeyVault and Managed Identities. AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

Azure AI Engineer: Software engineers concerned with building, managing and deploying AI solutions that leverage Azure Cognitive Services, Azure Cognitive Search, and Microsoft Bot Framework. They are familiar with C# or Python and have knowledge on using REST-based APIs to build computer vision, language analysis, knowledge mining, intelligent search, and conversational AI solutions on Azure. AI-102: Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution

Azure IoT developer: The Azure IoT Developer is responsible for the implementation and the coding required to create and maintain the cloud and edge portion of an IoT solution. In addition to configuring and maintaining devices by using Azure IoT services and other Microsoft tools, the IoT Developer also sets up the physical devices and is responsible for maintaining the devices throughout the life cycle. The IoT Developer implements designs for IoT solutions, including device topology, connectivity, debugging and security. For Edge device scenarios, the IoT Developer also deploys compute/containers and configures device networking, which could include various edge gateway implementations. AZ-220: Microsoft Azure IoT Developer

Azure Solutions Architect: Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-303 & AZ-304) (see above)

DevOps Engineer: AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps solutions (see above)

 

For Data & AI pros:

Azure AI Engineer: AI-102: Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution (see above)

Data Analyst: The audience for this course are data professionals and business intelligence professionals who want to learn how to accurately perform data analysis using Power BI. This course is also targeted toward those individuals who develop reports that visualize data from the data platform technologies that exist on both in the cloud and on-premises. DA-100: Analyzing Data with Power BI

Azure Data Scientist: This course is designed for data scientists with existing knowledge of Python and machine learning frameworks like Scikit-Learn, PyTorch, and Tensorflow, who want to build and operate machine learning solutions in the cloud. DP-100: Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure

Azure Data Engineer: The primary audience for this course is data professionals, data architects, and business intelligence professionals who want to learn about data engineering and building analytical solutions using data platform technologies that exist on Microsoft Azure. DP-203: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure

Azure Database Administrator: The audience for this course is data professionals managing data and databases who want to learn about administering the data platform technologies that are available on Microsoft Azure. This course is also valuable for data architects and application developers who need to understand what technologies are available for the data platform with Azure and how to work with those technologies through applications. DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft AzureAzure Cloud

 

Become Certified Today

In today’s cloud-based digital world, we’re dedicated to helping you and your team develop the skills you need. Learn how you can become certified in today’s hottest Azure technologies by contacting us.

Getting into IT after the Army with ArmyIgnitED

Getting into IT after the Army with ArmyIgnitED

If you are a current Enlisted Soldier, or in the Reserve or Army National Guard you have the opportunity to accelerate your professional development before returning back to civilian life. Read below to see what IT training is available through your ArmyIgnitED education benefits.

What is ArmyIgnitED?

As mentioned in our previous blog, ArmyIgnitED- Utilize Army Credentialing Assistance for Education Benefits, ArmyIgnitED is the new credentialing system that was once Army Cool and GoArmyED. This Army educationArmy Cool benefit program allows military members the opportunity to pay for industry-recognized credentials that will enhance their skills and qualifications both during and after military service.

Who Qualifies

  • Regular Army
  • Active Guard/Selected Reserve (AGR)
  • U.S. Army Reserve (USAR)
  • Army National Guard (ARNG)

Why Pursue IT Certifications

The transition from military to civilian life can be difficult, but the skills gained while serving are often transferable into the private sector. In addition, if you become certified in IT before being discharged, you could also qualify for many government jobs after the military.

Now more than ever the demand for qualified candidates to fill job roles in IT has become an overwhelming task for employers. Every day the demand grows larger, yet the talent pool continues to dry up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that employment in computer and information technology will grow 11% (higher than average) with a majority of demand focused on cloud computing, data collection & storage and information security.

Some of the most popular certifications for jobs after the Army include:

Cybersecurity and Risk Management

Certified Cybersecurity Analyst (median wage $98,350)

Certified Information Security Manager (median wage $120,000)

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) (median wage $83,591)

Cloud Computing

Architecting on AWS (median wage $129,868)

Developing on AWS (median wage $130,272)

Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies (median wage $98,350)

Certified Solutions Architect (median wage $153,000)

Microsoft Azure Administrator (median wage $84,000)

Data Collection and Storage

Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure (median wage $95,000)

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate (median wage $135,000)

Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure (median wage $89,675)

No degree? No problem…

No need for student loans, or tons of years of experience. The educational assistance available for you to utilize while in active service allows you to get trained in the latest technologies and validate your skills with theArmyIgnitED IT learning necessary certification exam(s).

If not having a degree has made you hesitant to pursue a career in technology, then you should know that a majority of positions are attainable with only the required certification(s), and a degree is not required. The IT sector has many available jobs with no degree requirement and still provide you with amazing job growth potential and the ability to be successful.

How to use ArmyIgnitED for IT training?

All approved credentials listed for ArmyIgnitED are analyzed carefully and proven to be relevant to a military occupation and meets official credential standards. Many of the approved IT credentials include some of the most in-demand and top paying IT certifications.

In order to begin utilizing Army funding for IT training a member will need to:

  • Explore options on Army Cool
  • Align credentials to MOS/ASI or other pursuits
  • Select desired credential
  • Apply for Army Credentialing Assistance CA
  • Execute CA Request
  • Earn Credential

TechSherpas 365 offers all-inclusive certification courses for Microsoft, Cybersecurity, CompTIA, Cisco, Amazon Web Services, Project Management and ITIL for eligible ArmyIgnitED credentials. View all of the current eligible training programs here.

ArmyIgnitED – Utilizing Army Credentialing Assistance for Education Benefits

Utilize Army Credentialing Assistance for Education Benefits

If you are an active service member in the Army now is the time to take advantage of an Army Education benefit that has replaced GoArmyED.

What is ArmyIgnitED?

ArmyIgnitED is the new credentialing system for what was Army Cool. ArmyIgnitED is one of the many military benefits available for active duty and army reserve candidates to utilize under the Army Credentialing AssistanceArmyIgnitED Program.

Who Qualifies for ArmyIgnitED

  • Regular Army
  • Active Guard/Reserve (AGR)
  • U.S. Army Reserve (USAR)
  • Army National Guard (ARNG)

This program offers military members the chance to pay for credentials that will enhance their skills and qualifications both during and after military service. ArmyIgnitED can provide up to $4,000 (per year) for courses and exams that lead to industry-recognized civilian credentials. Members may utilize this program to build on skills, either in their current MOS, or in an occupation they would like to pursue once they leave the military.

What Makes ArmyIgnitED So Appealing?

Whether home, or abroad, ArmyIgnitED provides unlimited access to educational opportunities, while providing flexibility to fit any type of learning style or schedule. Students are able to select between conventional or more modern methods of learning; such as:

Online

Opportunities offered through education institutions and vendors that don’t adhere to a conventional timeline or schedule

Education Center

Regional courses provided in a classroom structure at a designated Education Center

On-Site

Courses running at a vendor’s training site alongside other students

The goal of ArmyIgnitED is to allow members to gain new skills outside of their current MOS, to increase potential employment opportunities once discharged. Another perk of the ArmyIgnitED program is the ease of transition from military to civilian life.

How to use ArmyIgnitED for IT training?

All approved credentials listed for ArmyIgnitED are analyzed carefully and proven to be relevant to a military occupation and meets official credential standards. Many of the approved IT credentials include some of the most in-demand and top paying IT certifications.

TechSherpas 365 offers all-inclusive certification courses for Microsoft, Cybersecurity, CompTIA, Cisco, Amazon Web Services, Project Management and ITIL for eligible ArmyIgnitED credentials. View all of the current eligible training programs here.

ArmyIgnitED FamilyIn order to begin utilizing Army funding for IT training a member will need to:

  • Explore options on Cool
  • Align credentials to MOS/ASI or other pursuits
  • Select desired credential
  • Apply for Army Credentialing Assistance CA
  • Execute CA Request
  • Earn Credential

How to Apply for Credentialing Assistance:

All Credentialing Assistance (CA) requests will be processed through armyignited.com. They will no longer be submitted or accepted through GoArmyEd. Please note, eligible Soldiers must submit CA requests at least 30 business days prior to the start date of the training or exam. All CA Requests must have a start date on or after 7 Oct 20.

Visit armyignited.com and click “get started.”

  • For questions about the Credentialing Program, contact your local Army Education Office or Center.
  • For questions on a) Status of your case or b) Policy Questions email usarmy.knox.hrc.mbx.tagd-aces-credentialing-program@mail.mil
  • For technical issues call the ArmyIgnitED helpdesk at 1-877-272-1330.

Why The Future of Technology Depends on Women and Diversity

Why The Future of Technology Depends on Women and Diversity

As technology continues to supersede innovation and advancement, the tech sector itself, massively lags when it comes to the representation and advancement of women. Even though information technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., it is notorious for remaining a male-dominated industry, with women only representing 24% of all full time computing roles.

As we pass the year marker of “operating” under pandemic conditions, women are now faced with future progress towards equality being jeopardized by a crisis that disproportionality affects them. Despite national conversations about gender equality and diversity in technology, women continue to fight the uphill battle for equal representation amongst their male peers.

Women in Tech

In honor of Women’s History Month we will try to bridge the employment gap for women in technology and discuss some steps to take to be successful.

How Covid-19 Affected Women in Tech

With millions globally feeling the impact of job loss, economic instability, social isolation and adjusting to virtual school and work environments, women were exceedingly affected by Covid-19. Even though the tech sector itself was minimally affected by Covid-19, women had to carry the extra burdens caused by the abrupt and sharp shift in everyday life, creating a tug of war between industry development and social barriers.

Since the start of the pandemic, research shows that 48% of women in tech, found juggling work and family life extremely overwhelming and directly attributed Covid-19 with delays in their career(s). Women also reported higher burnout rates versus their male counterparts due to the influx of family adjustments and the need to work overtime. 63% of mothers working in tech confirm that they have done most of the home schooling or educational assistance for their children, in addition to being burdened with the extra home duties. Due to the sudden surge of extra family responsibilities 40% of women in IT held back from pursuing career changes due to family and home pressures. It is also reported, that during the pandemic, women (8%) in tech were statistically more likely to lose their jobs versus their male counterparts (5%). This is directly attributed to women having less seniority or senior-level roles than men.

The number of women projected to remain (or join) the tech workforce is shrinking and will be within crucial levels in the next decade. Even though it is well known that the underrepresentation of women is a problem, Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities. With future economic growth and stability hinging largely on the tech sector it is vitally important to incorporate women into the fold to avoid a potential economic crisis.

How “The Representation Gap” Affects Everyone

It’s no secret, women think differently than men. Both men and women bring unique ideas to the table, however, the more interaction with a diverse group- the more opportunity for better problem solving techniques to be applied, and innovation to be born. Reports indicate that on average, companies that promote diversity and equality, outperform their underrepresented peers by 34% and companies that had women in multiple leadership roles saw over a 60% increase in their return on investment.

The advocacy for women in senior-level management roles is a starting point to closing the representation gap. The diversification and addition of women in leadership provides an opportunity for more mentorship to encourage women to pursue STEM education and STEM careers (this encouragement is even more vital for young girls being introduced to tech). In order to embolden more women into IT, tech companies and their senior leadership must identify instances where bias could likely influence the future career path(s), decision-making, and prevent common equality blockers.

Studies show that diversity alone is not enough, inclusion is also necessary for success. So often companies lump diversity and inclusion together as one, however, diversity won’t work without inclusion. It is paramount that women start being included in the decision making processes and conversations. Representation does matter and having women in leadership roles, demonstrates that there is availability for women to advance and be mentored within that company.

Woman in Tech

How to Be Successful

Regardless of how many years of experience you may have, IT certifications, and solid IT training are the biggest assets in your job search or advancement, regardless of gender. Having an IT certification validates your knowledge and skills without having the need for a college degree and minimizes any degree gap between you and your peers. Whether you are seeking a high demand cloud computing certification or interested in getting certified in risk, the opportunities are endless.

Entry-level to senior-level TechSherpas 365 offers certifications that include everything you need to pass your certification exam(s) and be successful in IT.

The Best Cloud Certifications for 2021

How 2020 Changed Cloud Predictions

Reports in 2019 forecasted the global public cloud service revenue to increase over 17% in 2020 bringing the total revenue predicted to be a hefty $266.4 billion. Furthermore, experts showed on average a 15% increase in companies utilizing cloud services year to year from 2017-2019. Prior to the worldwide disruption in 2020 caused by Covid-19, only 60% of companies ran their workloads on a hosted cloud service.

Enter – 2020… Covid-19 had a significant impact on businesses worldwide. Cost-cutting efforts, social distancing guidelines, daily interactive surroundings switched overnight to remote environments, were just a few of the challenges brought to companies and individuals alike. No one could have predicted the importance the cloud would have in transitioning the world into its new digital environment.

The most recent 2020 reports show 94% of enterprise workloads on a cloud-based solution, with the global public cloud service revenue exceeding $330 billion, it is estimated that by 2026 this number will go over $1,025 billion. These days it is almost impossible to find an organization that does not utilize a cloud service or solution.

Cloud-Powered Future

With the sharp uptick in migration from on-premises infrastructures to a cloud environment businesses needed to make the decision of which service(s) best suited their needs. The public cloud service models are typicallyHottest Cloud Certifications classified as:

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – Allows businesses to utilize rented IT infrastructure(s) from a cloud provider on a pay as you go basis.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service) – Allows user(s) access to components needed to develop and operate web/mobile applications over the Internet, without the need to setup and manage an infrastructure of servers, networks, and databases.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service) – This method is a software licensing and delivery model in which the software is licensed on a subscription bases and hosted centrally. This method is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software.”

Some businesses choose a Hybrid Cloud technology solution that combined both the benefits of private cloud computing with one or more public cloud solution(s), while giving businesses greater control over their private data.

As businesses make their shift to their preferred solution(s), SaaS was the largest market segment for end-user cloud IT spending, with PaaS expected to surpass it due to the higher rate of remote workforces introduced during the pandemic. Cloud computing has proven that it will be central to the post pandemic “new norm.” Throughout 2021, we can expect to see the drastic accelerated increase for demand in cloud related roles as more businesses adopt the various cloud models.

Most In-Demand Cloud Certifications for 2021

As businesses continue to allocate larger portions of their IT budgets to cloud related roles/tasks the debate becomes which cloud certification is best? Typically, when people mention “The Cloud,” Amazon Web Services (AWS), CompTIA Cloud+, or Microsoft’s Azure standout above the rest. If you are interested in an IT career within the cloud the following certifications are leading the way as the most in-demand cloud certifications for 2021:

  1. AWS Developer – An AWS Developer handles the setup, management, and evolving the cloud infrastructure of web applications. Developers are anticipated to understand and apply best practices regarding scalability and security. A typical salary for an AWS Developer starts around $130k/year with a projected growth rate of 17%.
  2. AWS Architect – An AWS Architect designs, implements, and optimizes the AWS Cloud by understanding AWS services and how those services fit into a cloud solution. An Architect will work with the development team to ensure all technical decisions made in the development phase are in line with the business’s goals. A typical salary for an AWS Architect starts around $155k/year with a projected growth rate of 22%.
  3. Azure Solutions Architect – An Azure Solutions Architect designs and implements solutions that run on Microsoft Azure. This includes aspects like compute, network, storage and security. A typical salary for An Azure Solutions Architect starts around $152k/year with a projected growth rate of 20%.
  4. DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure – An Azure Database Administrator implements and manages cloud and on-premises relational databases built on top of Microsoft SQL Server and Azure data services. A typical salary for an Azure Database Administrator starts around $101k/year with a projected growth rate of 18%.
  5. CompTIA Cloud+ – An IT professional with the CompTIA Cloud+ certification typically aspires to convert themselves into a cloud specialist role. Some roles that this certification covers include; cloud developer, network engineer, network administrator, project manager, and systems engineer. An average salary for CompTIA Cloud+ certified professions is around $73k/year.

As companies continue to adopt cloud strategies and dump their data and services into the cloud environment, the extra requirements for software development, hardware expansion, increased security measures and the need to interact with other platforms has proven to be daunting. It is anticipated that more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will be

Cloud Powered Future

 affected due to the shift to the cloud, by 2022 and overall cloud spending representing 35% of total IT budgets.

The top roadblock for organizations at this point is finding qualified IT professionals to fill the roles needed to successfully improve their cloud experience. Whereas you don’t need a degree in computer science or bachelor’s degree to be successful in the cloud it is highly recommended, and a majority of the time required, to be certified. Certifications are great indicators of skills and knowledge gained along your career path that help boost your IT career potential.

Get Trained, Get Certified, Get aHead

With so many companies and opportunities, it can be overwhelming to figure out exactly where to begin your training. With the increased use of public cloud services and organizations rapidly accelerating their digital transformation the “clouds” the limit when it comes to possible career roles. The easiest way to breakdown your certification pathway is to decide if you want a vendor-neutral or vendor-specific training format.

Whereas, both Microsoft and AWS are vendor-specific, CompTIA is vendor-neutral. What that means is that Microsoft and AWS certifications cover specific technologies related to their products, software, and platforms allowing for more focused expertise and CompTIA certifications deal with best practices and concepts that can be adapted to various vendors.

Each certification has the same exam objective; validate your skills, get noticed, highlight your achievements, and amplify your influence in your IT role. Based on your learning style and needs there are many training delivery options available to you, in order to become certified.

Contact us today to find the right certification for you.  866.704.9244 |  info@techsherpas.com

SQL In the Cloud – Understanding and Passing DP-300 Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure

If you are a Database Administrator seeking to enrich your career with a Microsoft Role-Based certification, then DP-300 Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure is for you.

What Happened to MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration?

In 2018, Microsoft released their plans to implement new role-based certifications to replace many of their popular MCSE, MCSD and MCSAMCSA SQL 2016 Database Administration certifications. As of January 31st, 2020, MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration officially retired. If you were interested in a career with Azure SQL Databases, then no fear, there is a replacement! With the role-based certification shift, Microsoft introduced DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure. This new role-based SQL certification allows you to focus on closing the gap between the knowledge needed to pass the DP-300 certification exam, but also allows you more understanding of the skills needed to properly perform in the Database Administrator role.

What are Database Administrators and What is DP-300 Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure?

Azure Database Administrators ensure that Azure SQL databases run efficiently while utilizing specialized software to store and organize data. Database Administrators also make sure the data is available to users while securing any unauthorized access. As reported, the median salary for a Database Administrator is around the mid-$90k’s with a projected growth of 10% -which is higher than average for all occupations.

DP-300 Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure  is a Microsoft SQL certification that proves you have an understanding and the necessary skills to administer a SQL Server database infrastructure for cloud, on-premises and hybrid relational databases on the Microsoft PaaS relational database. This SQL certification is meant for data professionals that manage data and Azure SQL databases who want to learn about administering the data platform technologies that are available on Microsoft Azure. Some of the most prominent skills gained with the DP-300 course include, the ability to plan, deploy and configure Azure SQL offerings, the skill to monitor the Azure database performance and finetune the database and queries for optimal results and performance, and allowing IT professionals to understand how to plan and configure a High Availability Solution. This SQL certification is not only beneficial for Azure Database Administrators, but this is also a valuable course for Data Architects and Applications SQL Developers who need to grasp the understanding of what technologies are available on the data platform with Azure and how to implement those technologies through applications.

How do I become a Database Administrator and How do I Pass the DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure Exam?

In order to become an Azure Database Administrator, you must pass your DP-300 exam. As competition in the IT industry increases the robustness and difficulty level for the required exams to become certified also intensifies. It’s been reported that a majority of qualified candidates have failed their DP-300 exam. The reason behind their failure is not lack of effort, but lack of appropriate study and training material. There is no official prerequisite for this exam, however it is highly recommended that you invest in AZ-900: Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals and DP-900: Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals. Both AZ-900 and DP-900 will provide solid foundational knowledge and grant more of a blanketed understanding, allowing you to move forward through the more advanced requirements. The purpose of the DP-300 exam is to measure your ability to accomplish the following technical tasks:IT professionals

  • Plan and implement data platform resources (15-20%)
  • Implement a secure environment (15-20%)
  • Monitor and optimize operational resources (15-20%)
  • Optimize query performance (5-10%)
  • Perform automation of tasks (10-15%)
  • Plan and implement a High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HADR) environment (15-20%)
  • Perform administration by using T-SQL (10-15%)

Although, independent study is an option to tackle the DP-300 exam, due to the massive amount of subject matter covered and the degree of knowledge needed to properly display understanding, independent studying can easily become very overwhelming. It is suggested to enroll into an official IT training facility. With official IT training you are afforded the opportunity to take your training a step further with a “certification package” upgrade. The Certification Package includes all the necessary tools to garner success; some of these upgrades include: study guides, labs, Test Pass Guarantee and other training material needed to pass the DP-300 exam. There has never been a better time to invest in your IT future. Click here to learn more.

 

The Best IT Certifications for 2021

The Best Certifications for 2021

As we start to heal from the bumps and bruises caused by 2020, we are now able to rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes with the fresh promises of 2021. As we refocus future goals and aspirations now is the perfect time to consider a career in IT. Careers in IT have proven that not only, do they promise job stability, the enormous amount of growth potential is endless. In this blog we will discuss just a fraction of the most desired IT certifications for 2021.

 

Careers in Azure 

Within the last few years cloud computing has been becoming the preferred method of storage and networking for businesses worldwide. With the drastic shift from normalcy in 2020, everyone had to adjust their daily lifestyles and work environments causing the need to Careers in the Cloudincorporate cloud computing services to skyrocket. The sharp rise in demand for qualified candidates to facilitate an organization’s cloud environment put an incredible strain on businesses. From 2015 to 2020 the compound annual growth rate jumped from $70B to more than $141B, with the projected worldwide spending growing by 20% this is one of the highest growth rates anticipated for any career in 2021. Solutions Architects and DevOps Engineers are some of the most sought-after job roles to fill and typically provide higher than average salaries. The average salary for a Solutions Architect is in the $136k range whereas, the median salary for a DevOps Engineer starts around $115k. If you are considering a career in cloud computing and unsure of which direction to go the easiest way to discern the main differences between a Solutions Architect and a DevOps Engineer is this: DevOps Engineers focuses on “how things get done” whereas, Solutions Architects focus on “how things can be done.” DevOps Engineers are responsible for supporting the infrastructure they develop while also being the first line of defense in protecting the cloud against malicious attacks. Solutions Architects focus on the applications or services within an organization’s infrastructure. They are responsible for creating a comprehensive architecture for software solutions and strategic direction throughout development. Each of these certifications provide tremendous growth and income potential while providing massive job stability.

 

Careers in Cybersecurity 

With the ever-growing dependency on technology it is no surprise people have created ways of maliciously obtaining private data/personal information, especially with the birth of the cloud. As businesses integrate more and more data to the cloud, the need to circumvent any potential cybersecurity risk by equipping their team with qualified cybersecurity experts increases substantially. In 2020 alone, $123B was spent on cybersecurity defenses with that number projected to grow another 33%. Businesses understand the limitless liability should a data breach or personal information be jeopardized and have invested accordingly. Two of the most in-demand/higher paying certifications include Information Systems Security Manager (CISSM) and Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP). Information Systems Security Manager (CISSM) and Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) are similar but the main difference is that CISSM certification is solely management-focused, whereas the CISSP certification is both technical and managerial. The Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) certification was developed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also referred to as (ISC)2  This is one of the world’s most valued certifications. Obtaining a CISSP certification validates expertise in designing, architecture, controls, and the management of secure business environments. An average starting salary for Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) is around $120k with that figure growing substantially yearly. The Information Systems Security Manager (CISSM) certification is designed for candidates that oversee, design or assess an organization’s security systems. They also provide direction when analyzing and evaluating networks and security vulnerabilities. An average salary for a candidate that holds an Information Systems Security Manager (CISSM) certification is around $130k annually. With estimated global losses from cybercrime projected to hit under $1 trillion in 2020 alone it is no wonder why businesses have increased their cybersecurity budgets by 60%. As cybercrime continues to intensify there is enormous (job) security in cybersecurity roles (pun kind of intended…)

 

Careers in Project Management

With the diversification of technology options for organizations to utilize it is no wonder that Project Management certifications are on the rise. Project managers are a vital necessity for organizations to remain on task by successfully initiating, designing, planning, controlling, executing, monitoring, and closing projects. As of 2020 15 million project management jobs were created with that figure steadily increasing. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) are both specialized certifications that are in high demand. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is an entry-level IT Professionalscertification designed for those with less project management experience. This certification is the precursor to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and demonstrates the understanding of the fundamental knowledge and processes for effective project management. The average salary for a candidate with this certificate is around $73k with substantial room for growth. The Project Management Professional (PMP) is the “gold standard” of project management certifications. Obtaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate validates your competency to perform all requirements of the project manager role including the leading and direction of projects and teams. Adding this certification to your arsenal increases your salary average to $113k. The demand for project managers is growing faster than the qualified talent pool allows. It is anticipated that by 2027, employers will require around 88 million new roles within project management. Needless to say, project managers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Make 2021 Your Year

As a society that is increasingly becoming more and more dependent on all forms of technology, organizations are scrambling to find qualified candidates to fill these dynamic roles. Whether you want a career in the cloud, cybersecurity, or project management, the considerable growth rate in each role is beyond the average rates for other occupations. Now is the time to invest in your future and become certified today. Learn more here.

Administering Powerhouses – The Top Certifications for Networking Administrators

Whether you are just beginning your IT career or a seasoned IT professional, Network Administrators continue to takeoff as one of the most in-demand jobs. Boasting a healthy 24% projected growth rate by 2028, now is the time to see if this career is for you.

What is a Network Administrator?

Network Administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operations between an organization’s networks while keeping them up-to-date and maintaining computer infrastructures. Any organization with multiple computer utilization, or software platforms, will require a network administrator to coordinate the communication between the various systems. Some of the most common duties of a Network Administrator, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, include:Networking Image LRG

  • Installation and support of an organization’s network systems
  • Monitoring all networks, ensuring availability to all system users
  • Examining website functionality to ensure optimal performance
  • Maintaining systems security and telecommunication networks
  • Training users on proper use of software and hardware

As mentioned above, the projected growth rate for this role is aimed at 24%. With an average starting salary in the mid $80k range, Network Administrators continue to remain a highly sought-after role to fill. A great starting point to begin your Network Administrator journey would be to enroll in MTA: Networking Fundamentals. MTA certifications are a great place to start if you would like to get into the technology field. MTA certifications address a wide spectrum of fundamental technical concepts, assess, and validate core technical knowledge, and enhance technical credibility.

Skills above Fundamentals, but you still need to know more?

A good option if you are being introduced to Network Administration, but your IT skillset is above the MTA: Networking Fundamentals level, would be CompTIA’s Network+ or A+ certifications. Both certifications allow you for an easier transition on your Networking Administrator pathway. CompTIA’s Network+ certification builds on existing user-level knowledge and experience with personal computer operating systems and networks, adding fundamental skills and concepts that you will need to advance in a networking career. Earning your Network+ certification not only increases your value in the marketplace by providing validation of your knowledge and skillset, it also shows you have the ability to manage, maintain, troubleshoot and configure a basic network infrastructure. Typically, IT professionals with this certification can expect a starting salary around $70k/annually. The CompTIA A+ certification is generally a great first step in your preparation for the Networking Administrator pathway. This certification will build on previous experience with PC software and hardware while teaching you how to install, configure, optimize, troubleshoot, repair, upgrade and perform preventative maintenance on PCs, digital devices, and operating systems. Certification holders tend to see a salary range from $45k-67k based on various job titles.

A bit more seasoned?

If you have more experience in networking then Cisco’s Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is for you. This certification is an associate level certificate and will allow students to learn how to install, operate, configure, and verify basic IPv4 and IPv6 networks. The certification also covers configuring network components such as switches, routers, and wireless LAN controllers. Holding this certification in your arsenal provides credibility in being able to identify the components of a computer network and describe their basic characteristics. The typical salary range for a CCNA certification holder is usually around $73k/annually with vast room for growth. A higher level of certificate is Cisco’s ENARSI certification. This certification certifies a candidate’s

knowledge for the implementation, troubleshooting, of advanced routing technologies, and its services including VPN services, infrastructure security, services and automation. An average salary for candidates with this certificate is around the mid $90’s.

Networking Image 1

Is becoming a Network Administrator worth it?

Network Administrators have been consistently gaining momentum in the “most in-demand job roles to fill” within the last five years. As reports have shown the projected growth rate far surpasses most with a sturdy 24%. The steady growth and solid salary ranges allow for this role to be consistently appealing to not only new IT professionals but ones that have held other notable roles previously. The ability to transverse the skillset gained within this role allows also for career development in other technologies, such as security. This role is not only a smart investment in your IT career but one that promises growth and stability.