The Best IT Certifications for 2021

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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.

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.




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.

Cybersecurity Threats – Phishing and Data Breaches and Hacking, OH MY!

Bigger cybersecurity risks are looming…

It is only fitting that National Cybersecurity Awareness Month happens to be the same month as Halloween. Truth be told, there is nothing more terrifying than the elaborate cybersecurity risks created daily to wreak havoc on the public. According to the FBI, efforts to monitor trending scams such as Phishing, Data Breaches, and Hacking are at an all time high.

In the latest report, the FBI has claimed that cybercrime has reached a total loss of $10.2 billion dollars, in America alone. The projected cost of cybercrime is expected to reach in excess of $6 trillion dollars worldwide, by 2021. For organizations and individuals alike, the costs associated with cybercrime is vast and one of the greatest threats lurking around the corner.

Go Phish

Cybersecurity Threats Phishing With the spread of the pandemic a lot of businesses, as well as individuals, have had to migrate offsite and create a new “work/school” environment becoming almost completely dependent on technology. The extra time spent online has created larger areas for possible exploitation and targeting by cyber criminals. Current trends show that cybercrimes have become increasingly more socially engineered and geared to using human interaction to obtain or compromise information on individuals or organizations.  Phishing is one of the most common attacks and is a form of a socially engineered attack. Phishing typically uses email or malicious websites to gather personal data by presenting itself as a trustworthy source. These attacks typically look legitimate and will pose as a reputable company/person you might be familiar with. Some ways to protect yourself from Phishing include utilizing spam filters but it is always best to add more lines of protection. Some more protective steps include:

  • Protect your cellular data by updating its software automatically
  • Apply multi-factor authentication
  • Utilizing a security software on your computer, and update automatically
  • Backing up all your data

The typical Phishing email contains suspicious sender addresses, generic greetings, spoofed web links, suspicious attachments, and questionable misspellings and inconsistent formats. The easiest way to avoid Phishing attacks, is when in doubt—throw it out.

The Data has been Breached

What does Adobe, eBay, Netflix, and Facebook all have in common? They have all been a part of major data breaches within the 21st century. Data breaches include, either intentionally or unintentionally, the release of private confidential information within an untrusted environment. The most notable data breach involved Equifax releasing the Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, tax ID numbers, and driver’s license information of nearly 150 million people in 2017. Within the last two years there have been over 2.1 billion people affected by data breaches. Some of the most common risks associated with data breaches include:

  • Reputational harm
  • Financial loss
  • Operations shutdown
  • Legal action

Whereas companies are fighting tooth and nail to combat data breaches they cannot keep up with the willpower of the cybercriminals and sometimes the sheer accidental data breach from internal sources. If you suspect that you have been a part of a data breach, there are steps you can take to secure your information as much as possible.

  1. Get confirmation of the breach and if your information was exposed
  2. Find out the type of data that was exposed
  3. Reach out to the company and see what help they can/will provide
  4. Update all login and security information on all sites
  5. After determining what type of data was stolen, reach out to the appropriate companies (example: credit cards) and inform them that your data was compromised
  6. Monitor all activity on accounts and new accounts meticulously
  7. File taxes early

There is no 100% safeguard way to eliminate your exposure to data breaches. However, there are legitimate companies that will monitor all of your data activity and make you alert if there is a potential concern.

The Hack Attack

It is projected that in 2023, 33 billion records would be stolen by cybercriminals.  Annually, Americans are losing $15 billion dollars just from identity theft alone. Cybersecurity ThreatsReports have shown that out of the 4,000 confirmed breaches this year more than half of them were caused by hackers. On average a hacker attack occurs every 39 seconds. We generally assume all hackers are bad, right? Wrong… There are good hackers and bad hackers. This is the “Black Hat vs White Hat” saloon shootout scenario, the Black Hats are the bad guys and the White Hats are the good guys. Certified Ethical Hackers  (White Hat), are the ultimate security professionals in combating and exploiting vulnerabilities and weaknesses throughout various systems before a Black Hat hacker can infiltrate their systems. Some ways to counteract the hacking attempts on your privacy would include:

  • 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

Companies are painfully aware of the need to create infrastructures that not only protect customers privacy but also are proactive in defending against all incoming future cybersecurity risks. According to reports, worldwide spending for cyber security defenses will reach $170.4 billion by 2022. Companies are seeking highly qualified candidates in various fields of cyber security in order to guard themselves from external and internal cybersecurity risks. Certified Ethical Hackers (CEH) typically make around $105,000 a year and are highly sought after, especially with hacking and phishing making up 85% of cybercrimes. The Certified Information Systems Security Manger (CISSM) certification is the top credential for IT professionals to have in their arsenal to fight cybercriminals. Certified Information Systems Security Managers develop, manage, and oversee information security systems in enterprise-level applications while developing best security practices for organizations to abide by. The typical salary for a CISSM candidate is around $110,000 a year and has no fear of lack of job security. Companies understand that it is easier to prepare for cyber attacks than to repair from cyber attacks. They are investing into their cyber security defenses and now is the time to look into a new job or a new and improved job in cyber security.

MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development

Demonstrate Your Skills as a Database Professional with Both Onsite and Cloud-Based Databases with our MCSA: SQL Server Database Developer Boot Camp.

What is MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development?

MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development is an associate level certification within Microsoft’s Official Curriculum (MOC). The focus of this certification is to validate your expertise in building and implementing databases across multiple organizations. The certification itself is made up of two exams: 70-761: Querying with Transact-SQL and 70-762: Developing SQL Databases, typically this certification is geared towards professionals (database administrators, system engineers, and developers) who have two or more years of writing queries experience. Even though this certification is retiring at the end of the year it will remain active and recognized in the technology community for an additional two years. This certification will always remain relevant and highly respected as companies continually rely on server technologies.

Database Developer

What Can I Do With This Certification?

Database development is an imperative skill necessary to multi-scale businesses. The focus of MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development is to allow professionals to query data across multiple platforms while utilizing Transact-SQL and develop SQL databases. Within the last thirty plus years database platforms have come and gone. However, database technology is a vital element in computing tasks and applications and has only become more of a necessity for businesses especially with the introduction of the Cloud. According to recent research the median salary for a Database Developer is $93,750, with a higher than average job growth rate of 10%. Even with the introduction of Windows Server 2019, there has been a 28% increase in businesses utilizing Windows Server 2016. The need for businesses to facilitate their data in an optimally efficient way is more and more imperative as companies become more dependent on onsite and cloud-based databases. If you are just introducing yourself to Windows Server and prefer the fastest way to certification, start with the MCSA.

How Can I Get Certified?

There is no question that earning the MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development certification will provide you with the credibility and the experience necessary to secure your position or garner a higher salary. With the growing demand for this role traditional methods of education (colleges/universities) cannot keep up in supplying qualified candidates. Whereas TechSherpas365 offers multiple teaching methods for this certification the most effectual method is to enroll in the boot camp. By offering technology-focused, short termed accelerated learning programs this method has proven its efficiency in providing the necessary skills and requirements to obtaining certification. If you are interested in learning more contact us here.


The New AZ:104 Microsoft Azure Administrator

Do you have at least six months of hands-on experience administering Azure? Looking into an administrative IT career? Do you also have a strong understanding of core Azure services, security, governance and workloads? Then the new AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator certification is for you.

What is AZ:104 and how is it Different than AZ:103?

Microsoft recently announced the release of AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator, the replacement for the recently retired AZ-103. If you are wondering what the major differences are between the two then you are not alone. The easiest way to break down the key differences is to point out the obvious,AZ-103 focused its exam topics on the importation and exportation of data to Azure, while AZ-104 goes deeper and focuses on the management of data that is in Azure storage. Each exam focuses its concentration on different domains, as shown below:

AZ-103: Microsoft Azure Administrator

AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator

  • Management of Azure subscriptions and resources
  • Management of Azure identities and governance
  • Implementation and management of storage
  • Implementation and management of storage
  • Deployment and management of virtual machines (VMs)
  • Deployment and management of computing resources
  • Configuration and management of virtual networks
  • Configuration and management of virtual networks
  • Identity management
  • Monitoring and backup of Azure resources

Whereas they appear to be similar, the key takeaway is that the newer Azure Administrator certification exam redirects its focus on deployment and management of computing resources rather than that of virtual networks. Candidates clearly notice the new opportunities and challenges that the AZ-104 exam brings to the table. In all, the AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator course/exam teaches IT professionals how to manage their Azure subscriptions, secure identities, administer the infrastructure, configure virtual networking, connect Azure and on-premises sites, manage network traffic, implement storage solutions, create and scale virtual machines, implement web apps and containers, back up and share data, and monitor your solution.

Is the Cloud the Future?

As cloud infrastructures dominate the IT world and beyond, Microsoft has proven its agility and efficiency in driving innovationAZ-104 Administrative through new insights and capturing new advantages through cloud-based advances. Quickly catching up to its competitors at an astonishing rate it has been reported that the cloud service provider has a YOY (year over year) growth rate of 154% (as of 2020) and the total number of companies adapting and utilizing Microsoft Azure has grown to nearly 400,000. With many more businesses shifting to cloud-based operations it is no wonder why the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently projects a higher than average growth rate of 10% within the Azure Administrator field. Companies are constantly looking for employees with the right skillset and it has been shown that candidates that have the Azure Administrator certification not only improve their salary, it also allows them the opportunity to secure their current position (job security) or lock in that promotion. With the current median pay looming around $84,000/year it is no wonder why this certification is so alluring to so many.

Certifications Open Doors

As data has shown the enormous demand for IT qualified candidates is booming and still on the rise. It is anticipated that the average growth rate for IT jobs will increase by 15% by 2028, whereas the national job growth average is projected at 10.5%.  If you seek an administrative IT career that provides job security, massive growth potential, a challenging work environment and financial stability then take a look at Microsoft’s Role Based Certifications. The AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator certification has no prerequisites to take, however, if you are new to the Azure world then you may be interested in the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals certification exam prior to starting the AZ-104. Stand out above the rest of the competition, prove your skills and knowledge. Certifications offer a way for you to prove your value to future and current employers. Make an investment in yourself and become certified today.


The New CompTIA A+: ALL Your Questions Answered

comptia a+CompTIA A+ first launched in 1993, and since 2001 has been refreshed every three years to ensure the topics covered keep pace with what’s happening in IT. Employers, subject-matter experts and IT pros working in the field guide us in what they look for in help desk technicians, technical support specialists and other jobs related to CompTIA A+ to make sure we’re covering the skills that are needed in today’s world. With the launch of the new CompTIA A+ came many questions, so we’ve set out to answer them here. Keep reading to learn more about the CompTIA A+ Core Series (220-1001 and 220-1002), and post any additional questions in the comments to keep the conversation going.

What’s on the new CompTIA A+ exams?

The CompTIA A+ Core Series (220-1001 and 220-1002) provides a foundation for a number of different IT jobs and helps entry-level IT pros prepare for the jobs of the future.

In addition to topics you might traditionally associate with tech support, the new CompTIA A+ has an increased emphasis on cybersecurity, including malware, as well as cloud technologies, virtualization, the internet of things (IoT), network protocols and troubleshooting.

It also covers the basics of scripting so that help desk technicians and technical support specialists understand what they’re looking at when they encounter code.

CompTIA A+ continues to emphasize problem solving within a technology context. Employers want IT pros who can think critically and approach problems systematically to find a solution. Having CompTIA A+ shows employers that you have the hands-on skills and proof of your ability to solve technology problems.

How can I train for CompTIA A+?

Start by downloading the exam objectives and practice tests to understand what topics are covered and get examples of questions that you might see.

TechSherpas 365 offers a full suite of training solutions for both self-study and instructor-led learning:

  • eLearning: CompTIA CertMaster Learn offers 40+ hours of engaging content with 10 lessons, including interactive performance-based questions. The platform includes narrative instruction, visual aids, videos, games, flashcards and more. A personalized dashboard and countdown calendar help you track your progress and keep you on pace for your scheduled exam.
  • Hands-On Skills Practice: CompTIA Labs are browser-based virtual labs based on scenarios found in the workplace, including configuring operating systems, troubleshooting networks and managing users, workstations and shared resources. The labs within each course are independent of each other and can be used in any order.
  • Exam Prep and Practice Tests: CompTIA CertMaster Practice is an adaptive knowledge assessment tool that determines what you have already mastered and what you still need to learn to improve your confidence before taking the exam. The system tailors feedback to help you build knowledge in your weaker areas, keeping you engaged and focused throughout your study session.
  • Books: The Official Study Guides for CompTIA A+, offered in both print and digital form, help you learn and master the material covered by CompTIA A+. It’s flexible so you can learn at your own pace and focus on exam success.
  • Courses: If you prefer to learn with guidance from an instructor, TechSherpas 365 offers a variety of online training and in-person courses.

Help Desk Technician

If you like to solve technical issues and work with people, then help desk technician may be a good next step for you.

What Is a Help Desk Technician?

A help desk technician’s responsibilities include:

  • Diagnosing and solving computer issues.
  • Installing and training end users in new technologies.
  • Providing remote technical support over the phone or internet.
  • Backing up and restoring data files.
  • Repairing hardware and configuring software to maintain operating systems.

A help desk technician must have both hard and soft skills because the position requires a strong technical understanding as well as the ability to communicate clearly with others. For example, when a user has a question, the help desk technician must be able to diagnose the IT issue as well as explain the solution to the user.

Get Ready to Get CompTIA A+

You have many training options to help you prepare for your CompTIA A+ exam, including self-study materials, virtual labs, videos, online classes and in-person career prep classes. In 2020, TechSherpas 365 is bringing its IT-Ready Technical Support program to classrooms, so that students get the training they need to earn CompTIA A+ and launch their IT careers on the help desk.

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How to Become a Help Desk Technician

While a formal education may help you get the job, a college degree is not necessary to become a help desk technician. IT certifications will prove that you have the skills to handle the job. CompTIA A+ is a widely recognized certification held by help desk technicians.

The Details

Salary Range

The median salary and wage for computer support specialists are $52,160 per year and $25.8 per hour (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Job Outlook

From 2014 to 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 12 percent for computer support specialists, with 88,000 net new jobs expected during that 10-year period.

Job Titles Related to Help Desk Technician

  • Computer support technician/specialist
  • Help desk support engineer
  • Desktop support specialist

Will your next move be help desk technician? If so, check out CompTIA A+ Boot Camp to get you there.