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outlook from onforce April 13, 2010

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CEO of OnForce, Peter Cannone, believes outsourcing is no longer OUT and hopes for a stable IT industry.  He writes, “While we believe companies are still being cautious when it comes to implementing new technology, the fact that installs grew, shows promising signs for the marketplace in the coming months.” 

He goes on to add five key thoughts for 2010.  

what it takes to be an Administrator March 26, 2010

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I found this referral that describes the THREE essential skills of an administrator (and no, psychic powers are not included!).  It’s short and gets right to the heart of it.

three interesting articles March 5, 2010

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I came across three interesting articles about jobs, skills, and future of learning.  The first is a “snapshot” of the IT professional, from TechRepublic.  If you’re thinking about IT and computers, this is a nice blow-by-blow of a typical support professional’s work day.

The second article is a prediction of the Top 10 Tech Skills.  It’s based on a survey by TechRepublic and Global Knowledge.  If you’re new to the industry, Business Analysis and Virtualization might be foreign ideas– but I can assure you, they’re BIG! 

The last article I found was the most intriguing.  From CampusTechnology, the writer Trent Batson describes the “knowledge economy” and the kind of challenges educators face when preparing students for the ever-changing landscape of business.  The article is for both teachers and learners.  One of the themes that stands out to me is the need for agility— both personally and in business.  Innovation.  Research.  And yet, Batson writes, a skilled worker needs to also identify a core service, & stick with it, “resisting the abundance of opportunities and side paths in this highly fluid knowledge economy.”

IT jobs from networkworld February 12, 2010

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An IT career watch from networkworld.

win7 certification portal from Microsoft February 12, 2010

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New post on the born2learn site sends people to this site here– a Win7 certification portal.

Also, here’s an IT job role quiz on facebook.

can I get a witness? January 15, 2010

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Although certification isn’t a substitute for experience, I see it as a testimony to a person’s dedication, work-ethic, and technical know-how.    I often like to reflect on what the word “certify” means– it’s means to make certain and is related to words like testify.   In essence, when you earn a certification, you earn an objective witness.   And this witness isn’t like your mom who tells everyone what a swell guy you are– this witness is impartial and treats all candidates the same. 

Occasionally, however, when I speak of certification I’ll get the “pooh pooh” look– which basically translates to, “I don’t need no stinkin’ certifications! I’ve been doing this for X number of years!  I know DOS!”

I agree with this sentiment– but only in part.  Certification is NOT the same as experience.  But then again, experience is NOT the same as certification.  I have met many an “experienced” sys-admin who still can’t tell their share tab from their security tab.   Sure, many uncertified propeller-heads learn this sort of thing OJT, but it isn’t always certain.  Often times, your experience only gives you a niche understanding of a product.   And, if you’re a hiring manager, how do you tell if the candidate really knows their SIMM from their DIMM?  You can ask them a series of questions, of course, along with making a few phone calls, putting them in front of a box and challenging them, reading their palm, etc.   but why not let an objective, certification exam do some of this for you?  It still doesn’t guarantee that they’re going to show up on time and be your friend, but it does add something to the mix that experiences may lack.

Now some of you are going to say, “I knew a guy . . .”   Yeah, yeah.  When was this?  1996?  Yeah, me too.  I knew a guy.  “Paper-MCSE” and all that.   Well I’m not going to defend anyone who can’t do their job– and certification isn’t the ultimate cure.  But let me add that the new certifications are not easy and this isn’t 1996 anymore!   If you can pass the 70-640 without actually ever installing & configuring AD  (I knew a guy who was a CNE without EVER touching a Netware box- just read the books) then you’re a freak of genius and should be hired anyway!   These new generation of exams require more than flash cards.  You need to know the product!  If you don’t believe me, then take the exam for yourself! 

Is it worth it for a noob?  Yes!  Even if you have a “friend-of-a-friend” who knows someone who knows where the CIO plays golf, you can still distinguish yourself and make yourself “promotion ready.”   You may not have the experience but you have obtained a skill-set that can only go up!  (One other thing here, if you just got certified but have little experience, then don’t try to deceive the hiring manager– it diminishes the cert and your hard work!  Be up front and honest.  And if experience is really necessary, then go get some by volunteering and working temp jobs– or set your sights a little lower until such a time) 

Is it worth it for an already experienced techy type?  Absolutely!  Certification can broaden \ deepen your understanding BEYOND your routine.   Dedicate yourself to the rigor of real study for a certification exam and you may find yourself surprised.  Experience isn’t always rooted in reality! 

So, you still might be skeptical about certification and you might have experience to back it up.  But due to the recent flood of new technologies and the need to stay ahead of the curve, certification can enhance your experience.  It’s more than just dressing.  It’s an internal possession with external verification.

interactive salary tool from Infoworld January 14, 2010

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It’s that time of year where organizations \press\blogs make predictions for YEAR 2010- whether it be technology trends or “hot-jobs” or whatever. 

For those looking to distinguish themselves this year with certifications, Infoworld has an interactive salary tool (and more).