ArmyIgnitED – Utilizing Army Credentialing Assistance for Education Benefits

Archive for Careers in IT

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.

All Things Azure: Data & AI

As mentioned in our last blog, “All Things Azure – Apps & infrastructure,” we discussed the various solutions created when Microsoft switched its certification program from being more product-centric focused to a more role-based approach. The purpose of this change was to keep pace with business requirements while enabling students the opportunity to develop skills for a specific role within their organization. When deciding which certification pathway to take in Azure it is important to understand the key differences with the various solutions. In this blog we will discuss the Data & AI solution of Azure and the various certification pathways that it holds. Industry job roles for people interested within Data & AI certifications typically are Data Engineers, Database Administrators, and AI Engineers. This particular area of focus has seen and continues to see astronomical demand that has fueled massive shortages of talent, causing these certifications to become highly coveted and very much sought after to businesses worldwide.

 

Pick Your Path

If you are new to Azure and unsure of which pathway to take, it is always recommended to take the Fundamentals courses. One of the major changes with the new role-based certification pathways is that now, multiple levels of expertise were introduced into each technology; Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert, allowing newer/more seasoned IT professionals to gain the technical knowledge to design, implement, and manage each solution with more proficiency. Fundamentals courses are also a great way to dip your toe in the “Azure pool.” It allows students the opportunity to better understand what each pathway entails. For instance, if you think you might be interested in a career within AI, then the AI-900: Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals course would be ideal for you. This course will introduce the basic concepts related to AI, and the services useComputerd to create AI solutions. If that doesn’t interest you and you think data in the cloud is more your cup of tea then DP-900: Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals course is for you. In this course students are taught the key database concepts in a cloud environment, get basic skilling in cloud data services, and building basic knowledge of cloud data services within Azure. Each of these courses are informative introductions to each potential pathway, while giving you an edge, with industry recognized skills and credentials.

 

The Growth Doesn’t Stop

If you are a bit more seasoned in Azure and want to specialize your skillset with supporting data and analytics, then you have the ability to upskill and demonstrate your achievements with various certifications. The DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure  course is a great way for students to gain the knowledge and skills to administer a SQL Server database infrastructure for cloud, on-premises, and hybrid relational databases. If you are interested in becoming a Database Administrator, then this is the course for you. Database Administration is a quickly growing job field with a projected growth rate of over 11% within the next three years. The median salary for a Database Administrator is around $60k. This is a solid opportunity for not only job security but great potential for growth. Another strong course, that would be ideal for Data Engineers, would be the MCA: Azure Data Engineer Associate. In this course, students will design various data platform technologies into solutions that are in line with business and technical requirements. Students will also learn how to design data security including data access, data policies and standards. Data Engineers are one of the fastest growing careers since 2019 with a 50% year-over-year growth rate. The demand for qualified candidates is hemorrhaging while the candidate pool is rapidly dwindling. The typical average base pay for a Data Engineer is around $100k with an enormous amount of growth potential.

 

Prove You have the Necessary Skills

With certifications designed to enable Data & AI professionals the ability to prove they have the necessary skills to cover all aspects of digital transformation, it is no wonder why this is one of the fastest growing solutions within Microsoft. Data is the lifeblood of all modern businesses, and it is up to Azure and Azure certified IT professionals to manage that data while ensuring maximum performance and privacy for their organization. 49% of respondents believe that Azure certifications within Data & AI are vital when it comes to increasing earning potential and job security, with 50% of respondents saying they perform better at their job. As the growing dependence on the cloud increases, businesses are feverishly trying to gain the right qualified candidates to handle their cloud infrastructure needs. Take advantage of this booming opportunity and become certified in one of the most cutting-edge cloud technologies in the world—today.

Microsoft Azure Role Based Certification

All Things Azure – Apps & Infrastructure

Careers in Azure

Microsoft’s Azure: or “Azure”, as it is commonly called, has quickly risen in the ranks as one of the most trusted and widely used cloud computing services in the world. With over 95% of Fortune 500 companies utilizing its services/products it is no wonder why Azure has exploded since coming onto the scene in 2008. The creation of Azure was fashioned to assist in the building, testing, deploying, and managing of applications and services through its, Microsoft, data centers. Azure allows users to manage all applications throughout multiple clouds both on and off premises, with the tools and framework that they (users) prefer. As of now Azure boasts over 600 services and 200 products. Microsoft, within the last two years, switched gears from its certifications focusing on specific technologies (product-centric) to a more role specific (role-based) approach after receiving invaluable feedback from its partners and customers. Instead of focusing on the technologies in general, the newer role-based programs mapped easier pathways for jobs/positions. Since the newer certifications were more comprehensive, they divided the wealth of knowledge (of Azure) into four solution areas with each having subdivided levels of difficulty (fundamentals, associate, expert):

  • Apps & Infrastructure
  • Data & AI
  • Modern Workspace
  • Business Applications

In this blog we will be focusing on the Apps & Infrastructure solution area, with its various levels of difficulty and what that means to IT professionals in Azure.

Apps & Infrastructure

Apps & Infrastructure was the first solution to be recognized by Microsoft. With the constant updates of refreshing Azure content, Apps & Infrastructure remains one of the most popular areas of focus. Azure’s focus tends to be aimed towards administrative, development, and security engineer type roles. The best way to dip your toe into the Azure world would be to go through a Fundamentals Course and see which role best suites your needs.

IT training nationwide

Typically, candidates that take the Azure Fundamentals certification have a foundational knowledge of basic cloud services and how those services are provided through Azure. This certification is intended for candidates that are just starting to work with cloud-based solutions and services, or new to Azure. The Fundamentals certificate is a wonderful way to prepare for other Azure role-based certifications but is not a prerequisite for any of them. A good Associate level certification would be AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator. Candidates for this certification generally have subject matter expertise with the implementation, management, and monitoring of an organization’s Azure environment. Typically, an Azure Administrator frequently serves as part of a larger unit dedicated to controlling the cloud infrastructure. The average salary for an Azure Administrator ranges from about $67k-$85k depending on their experience with many opportunities to grow.

Developer vs. Architect

If your skillset is more at an intermediate (Associate) level two potential job roles to entertain would be developer or architect. The Associate level developer would be an ideal candidate for the AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure certification. Candidates that are considering this route typically have a solid foundation and understanding of designing, building, testing, and maintaining cloud applications and services on Azure. This role is responsible for participating in every aspect of cloud development from requirements to maintenance. A typical IT professional with this certification can expect a salary in the range of $101k-$113k. The Azure Developers partner with the Solutions Architect in order to implement solutions. If you are more interested in the architect route, then the MCE: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is for you. Potential candidates for this certification should be well versed in designing and implementing solutions that run Azure, including aspects like computing, networking, storage, and security. The responsibilities for this role include advising decision makers and translating the requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable cloud solutions. This role manages how decisions in each area (networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance) will affect an overall solution. The average salary for an Azure Architect is around $156k. Both the developer and architect have proven track records of job stability with massive endless prospects for growth.

Only Moving Forward

Microsoft has proven its staying power throughout the decades but they outdid themselves with the creation of Azure. With the ability to control scalability, cost-effictive subscription models, top tier cybersecurity, and enterprise-level development tools, it is no wonder why Azure continues to be a popular choice amongst businesses alike. The world has developed an absolute dependence on technology and with that comes the need to have qualified candidates filling the necessary IT professional roles. Becoming certified in Azure provides more stablity and higher salary opportunities than most. If you are interested in learning more about Azure and the potential role-based certifications contact us.

 

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CISSP – A Certification for Cybersecurity Leaders

Looking to Excel Your Career with More Opportunities?

Do you want one of the most globally recognized certifications for information security professionals? If the answer is yes, then the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is the cybersecurity certification for you. The typical candidate for CISSP certification has at least 5 years of recent full-time professional work experience in at least 2 of the 8 domains within the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). By holding a CISSP certification IT professional validate their skills to design, implement and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program. CISSP certification holders also gain membership into (ISC)2 (International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium), which allows access to exclusive resources, tools and networking. CISSP professionals generally hold titles such as security manager, security analyst or chief information security officer, just to name a few.

 

What’s Covered on the Exam?

The CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is the collection of 8 domains that cover comprehensive aspects of information security. To become certified, IT professionals need to show their expertise in each of the following domains:

  1. Security and Risk Management
    • Understanding concepts of integrity, confidentiality, and availability
    • Security governance vs. managementInformation Security Officer
    • Compliance
    • Understanding of professional ethics
    • Legal and regulatory issues
    • Business continuity and disaster recovery
    • Establishing personnel security policies and procedures
    • Apply fundamentals of risk management
    • Understanding threat modeling and methodologies
    • Building risk-based management concepts in supply chain
  1. Asset Security
    • Identification, classification, and ownership of information and assets
    • Classification of data
    • Data retention
    • Creating data security roles
    • System base-lining and hardening
  2. Security Architecture and Engineering
    • Implementation and engineering of secure design principles
    • Security models
    • Concepts for security capabilities of information systems
    • Cryptography
    • Security evaluation criteria
  1. Communications and Network Security
    • Creating and securing design principles in network
    • OSI reference model
    • Threats to network security
    • Firewalls
    • Establishing secure network components
    • Securing communication channels
  1. Identity and Access Management
    • Identify management to control the life-cycle for all assets in system
    • Managing authentication and identification of devices, people, and services
    • Understanding and integrating identity as a third-party service
    • Implementing authentication
    • Auditing
  2. Security Assessment and Testing
    • Common vulnerabilities
    • Assessing security control testing
    • Collecting secure data
    • Penetration testing
    • Facilitating security audits
  1. Security Operations
    • Understanding and supporting investigations
    • Logging monitoring activities
    • Asset inventory management
    • Concepts for foundational security operations
    • Understanding resource protection techniques
    • Incident management
    • Implementing and testing disaster recovery strategies
    • Business Continuity planning
    • Managing physical security as well as personnel security and safety
  2. Software Development Security
    • Identify and remediate software flaws
    • Software development methods
    • Effectiveness of software security
    • Evaluation of security impact
    • Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

As you can tell the CISSP domains are typically suited for professionals with work experience in networking and security. In order to bridge any gap, CISSP candidates must take a CISSP training course to cover the industry best practices for each domain.

 

Why Should I be Interested in Getting Certified?

Last year alone more than $150 billion was spent on cybersecurity defenses in the United States, by 2021, reports show a worldwide total of $1.5 trillion will be spent. With cybercrimes rising at an alarming rate, and the availability of qualified IT professionals decreasing this is the perfect time to consider building on your IT career. As of 2020 the average salary of CISSP professionals lingers above the $120k mark. The projected growth rate for this profession is higher than the industry average coming in at 11.1%, it is predicted that 3.5 million CISSP related jobs will be created by 2021. Now is the time to maximize your earning and career potential while standing out amongst your peers.

 

Click here to register for CISSP certification training.

 

 

 

 

 

Hackers: The Cybersecurity Super Heroes We Need

The limitless expansion in technological advances is a double-edged sword. Whereas we can achieve more in our daily life and handle our responsibilities with ease, we are now more vulnerable to cybercrime attacks. Whether it is your phone, computer, or tablet, we are all susceptible to becoming victimized by cybercriminals. Since the beginning of the pandemic the rise in cybercrime has been astonishing. It has been reported that attacks on banking systems rose by 238% and cloud-based attacks rose to 630% just between January-April of this year alone. Hacking is described as the attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network. To put it simply; hacking is the unauthorized access to private data with the intention to use the data for illicit purposes. Now more than ever we (businesses and individuals) need to make cybersecurity and the prevention of cybercrimes a priority.

Common Types of Hackers and Hacking Techniques

Based on the intentions of the hackers they are typically categorized as either White Hat or Black Hat hackers. However, there are many different types of hackers that don’t necessarily fall within that “white or black” description. Below are some of the most common types of hackers:

Black Hat (crackers) – Hacking with the intention to gain unauthorized access to a system or data to harm operations or ransack private data.

White Hat – Hackers with the purpose of discovering vulnerabilities in current systems and safeguarding from future threats – with the owner’s knowledge.

Grey Hat – These hackers typically are a blend of both black/white hat hackers. They purposefully, but without malicious intent, exploit security weaknesses without the knowledge of the owners. The goal for these hackers is to gain appreciation and hopefully a fee for their discoveries. They are not to be confused with Ethical Hackers (White Hats) as their actions are illegal.

Red Hat – These hackers are the vigilantes of hacking. Red Hats seek to disarm and destroy Black Hats. Rather than notifying the appropriate channels, Red Hats look to launch aggressive attacks against Black Hats in the hopes of destroying their computers and resources.

Blue Hat – These hackers typically are an outside computer system security consulting firm and are invited by Microsoft to discover vulnerabilities in their Windows system and fix the weaknesses.

Green Hat – Typically describes someone who is new to hacking with very limited experience or knowledge of technology and hacking.

The Cybersecurity Super Heroes We Need

 

 

 

 

 

The only thing that ties all these hackers together is the fact that vulnerabilities in systems were exposed, regardless of the hacker’s intentions. The most common techniques that hackers use to achieve their goals are social engineering & phishing, malware-injecting devices, missing security patches, cracking passwords, and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS).

  • Social engineering & phishing is the attempt to get you to share personal information, usually by impersonating a trusted source. Emails are a leading culprit when it comes to phishing and socially engineered attacks.
  • Malware-injecting devices is the use of physical plugins (compromised USB cord, USB device, mouse cords, etc) to infiltrate the hardware system and sneak malware onto the device.
  • Missing security patches is when the hacker takes advantage of outdated security software in the system. 18% of all network vulnerabilities are caused by unpatched applications.
  • Cracking passwords utilizes spyware, usually “keylogging”, that monitors every keystroke made on that device, then the program surmises the possible password combinations that are used.
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) is the hacking technique aimed at taking down websites. This prevents the user from accessing or delivering their service. DoS attacks inundate the target’s server with massive inflation in traffic resulting in an overloaded server.

What Has Hacking Cost Us and How to Prevent Attacks

In 2020 a report showed that out of the 4,000 confirmed breaches, hacking was responsible for more than half of them. It is currently anticipated that 33 billion private records will be stolen by 2023. With hacker attacks occurring on average every 39 seconds, it is not difficult to see the alarming rate of concern rising amongst the public. With the surge of cybercrime, private and public enterprises are driving up their IT budgets to try and counteract cyberattacks. Reports indicate that the global spending for cybersecurity services will reach beyond $1 trillion, by 2021.Hacker

Some of the most common pitfalls that can make you an easy target for hackers include:

  • Not password protecting your personal Wi-Fi or using a public Wi-Fi
  • Not automatically updating software
  • Clicking links from questionable email sources
  • Simple or the re-using of passwords
  • Not using an anti-virus software
  • Not utilizing a multi-factor authentication

The easiest remedies to avoid a hacker attack:

  • Updating software frequently- this keeps hackers from being able to access your computer through outdated programs which can be easily exploited
  • Keep the most up-to-date security programs, including anti-malware software to protect your data
  • Destroy all personal data on any hardware system you plan on letting go
  • Create difficult passwords and authentication hints
  • Keep sensitive data off the cloud
  • Disable connections when you aren’t using them
  • Utilize multi-factor authentication when you can
  • Sign up for account alerts

By taking these extra little steps you could potentially be saving your private data from a hacker with malicious intent.

Certified Ethical Hackers (White Hats)

Certified Ethical Hackers  are qualified IT professionals that demonstrate knowledge in accessing computer systems and looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities that might be targeted by outside sources with malevolent intent. Certified Ethical Hackers are the crème de la crème in the eyes of IT decision makers as they can typically save companies not only financially, but also, potential reputable harm, or discord amongst the daily operations. With over 40% of IT decision makers claiming difficulties in finding the right cybersecurity candidate now is the time to look into becoming certified. With a higher than average growth rate of 31%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the alarming rate at which cybercrime is rising, this IT position provides job security as well as the immense ability to grow. The typical Certified Ethical Hacker salary starts in the low $90k range but with additional certifications that pay scale substantially rises. Now is the time to invest into a position that not only challenges you but also provides you with security—no pun intended.

 

If you are interested in learning how to become a Certified Ethical Hacker click here.

If you are interested in other cybersecurity certifications click here.