Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Top tips for passing your CISM or CISA exam


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ISACA extended its exam registration deadline until 22 April, which means one thing: it’s time to start preparing.

CISA and CISM are top credentials for IT security professionals specialising in managing, auditing, developing and reviewing information security systems and for developing best organisational security practices. Because of their high prestige, CISA and CISM are not easy to get, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be on the right track:

  • First thing’s first, read ISACA’s CISA or CISM review manual, as it provides you with the content, structure and main topics of the exam. Make sure you understand the key areas, but don’t just focus on the main bits, read everything at least once. It's better to not leave things to chance, right?
  • Take notes. It may be old school, but it works. Writing things down helps you remember and familiarise yourself with the concepts.
  • Once you're confident in your knowledge of most, if not all of the basic concepts of CISA or CISM, you can start testing yourself. Read the review questions, answers and explanations.
  • Remember, you’re not a student. You're an IT professional, and you have to manage IT systems efficiently, whilst making good, informed decisions.
  • Last minute revision: some say it’s good, some say it’s bad. Your call. Because you can’t take the CISA or CISM review manuals into the exam, it may be worthwhile to skim through the key areas 30 min before the exam.

Some people tend to get more nervous than others when it comes to taking an exam, so here are some general tips for keeping your cool before and during your exam:

  • Take a break every now and then. Doing long sessions of study or revision without a break won’t get you far, because you’ll lose focus. Take at least a 5-10 minute break for every 50 minutes of work.
  • Read it out. Verbal memorisation is often a better way to learn than just reading in silence.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay focused and hydrated.
  • Try to avoid caffeine. Whether it’s a cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull, caffeine will make you feel more anxious, so try to avoid it before going to your exam.
  • Do a bit of exercise. It gets your blood flowing and you’ll feel fresh. It also increases your focus.

Good luck. 

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Windows XP 2001-2014 R.I.P.


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Today, after almost 13 years in service, Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP. Don’t worry if your computer is running XP it will still be booting, however it is likely to become an easy target for viruses and hackers, as there’ll be no more security updates for the operating system.

Popular ‘till the end

Windows XP has undoubtedly been one of the most popular operating systems of Microsoft. In fact, even on its death bed, XP’s still enjoying over 27% market share, according to Netmarketshare.

Despite the fact that the end didn’t come out of the blue, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of organisations that have no other option, but to pay for custom support. Otherwise, they’d be exposed to huge risks.

The UK government is one of the entities paying Microsoft a huge sum, £5.5m to be exact, for an extra year of support on Windows XP. And according to the latest news, the Dutch government is following the British lead. The amount in the Dutch case is unknown, but reports claim that the government owns 35,000-40,000 PCs running XP, and Microsoft is likely to charge around £160 per computer for tailored support.


Continue at your own risk

Because there’ll be no more official security updates and fixes, security firms are warning you that using XP can place your PC and data at increased risk of infection and compromise by cyber-thieves.

According to research by security firm Kaspersky, users running Windows XP already faced a disproportionate risk of falling victim to malware. Senior research analyst Dave Emm said: "Our data indicates that less than one fifth of our customers run Windows XP but more than a quarter of infections are Windows XP-based".

He also added: "Effectively, every vulnerability discovered after 8 April will become a zero-day vulnerability - that is, one for which there is not and never will be, a patch".

Private users are not the only ones at risk

As we mentioned in an earlier post, many of the world's ATMs are still running Windows XP, which puts them at significant risk.

According to the German AV-Test group, "Malware writers go for the low hanging fruits because it's a lot easier to infect systems running on an old Windows XP operating system compared to brand-new Windows 8.1, with all its built-in security features”. Therefore, banks should come up with rock solid safety measures, in order to prevent breaches to the systems of their cash machines.

Upgrade now

If you or your company are still using Windows XP, we strongly recommend you to take action now and upgrade through Microsoft’s Get Modern initiative.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Eight reasons why you should get PRINCE2® certified


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There are various project management certifications available, however the PRINCE2® is definitely one of the most prestigious, popular, and practical. The certification is internationally recognised and PRINCE2 certified project managers are sought after.

Get certified and you’ll be able to implement PRINCE2 in your projects. 
Here’s why your organisation needs it:

Tried & TestedPRINCE2 has been one of the fundamental methodologies in project management for over 30 years. A methodology so mature can really make a difference in certain projects, because of the solid foundation with precedents from the past.

Clear Organisation Structure: PRINCE2 outlines clear roles and responsibilities. Team members are assigned a role or roles at the beginning of the project. With clearly defined roles, it is ensured that team members are aware of their tasks and understand their responsibilities.

Planning: In order to deliver the project successfully, PRINCE2 divides it into smaller, more manageable stages. Following the methodology large-scale projects will be more manageable, and project milestones can be achieved more easily.

Standardisation: With the PRINCE2 methodology in practice, everyone involved in the project is using a common approach and language. The standardised procedures reduce the chances of miscommunications and bring clarity to the project, while time can also be saved in auditing and recruitment.  

Step by Step Method: PRINCE2 provides project managers with a step by step method from start to finish. It focuses on the project’s deliverables, making the project an organised and controlled process. The methodology also allows for regular reviews of the project’s progress against the plan, so any risks or potential problems can be dealt with promptly.

Customisation: PRINCE2 is not carved into stone. It can be tailored to fit the agenda of any organisation and project. It’s suitable for projects of any size and type.

Change Management: Organisations can be subject to change throughout a project. PRINCE2 addresses change by ensuring regular project reviews are carried out to monitor the continued viability of the project and making sure that adequate change management is in place.

Free to Use: PRINCE2 is free to use, which means any business, regardless of size or type can benefit from it.

Get certified on our world exclusive, three-day long PRINCE2 course. You’ll get both the Foundation & Practitioner exams in one go.   

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Get every training course you’ll ever need, at no cost – here’s how


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Firebrand re-launched its Free Training For Life competition, giving you the chance to get free access to all the Firebrand training courses for the rest of your life. Will you be the winner of the £1 million prize? View the competition’s details and give yourself a chance to win!

From networking to information security

If you’re the lucky winner, you’ll be able to choose from Firebrand’s 165+ training courses. Whether you’re a networking professional, an enterprise architect or a security professional, there are plenty of courses, which will help you to get better in your field of expertise.

Never want to pay for training again? Enter by clicking the button below.

Free Training For Life - Firebrand Training

What's it like to win? Watch this video with Joseph, last year's winner:


Increase your chances of winning

Once you've filled out the entry form, you will be given your unique URL which you can share with your friends and followers. Every time someone enters using your unique URL, it will earn you an extra entry to the draw. So if 10 people enter that's 10 extra entries, if a 100 people enter, that's a 100 extra entries and so on.

Don't wait any longer, message your friends, put it on social media or maybe even put it on your blog if you write one.

For full terms and conditions, click here: www.firebrandtraining.co.uk/ftfl

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

CompTIA gives free access to its research and study materials


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CompTIA, one of the world’s biggest IT industry associations is widening access to its resources by making them available to registered users, at no cost. Why? “To have a greater impact on the IT industry.”

Membership reinvented

The aim of CompTIA’s new initiative is to enable anyone interested in IT and the tech industry to access research results, training guides and business tools without charge. Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president for industry relations at CompTIA said: “We no longer want to be the industry’s best kept secret, but its best-kept resource, instead”.

High expectations

One of CompTIA’s missions is to drive workforce development and the company hopes that with its new access model, the number of professionals seeking training and certification will increase. The company expects the individual involvement of professionals to increase to 20,000 in the next few years. Considering that the initial soft launch already attracted 5,000 professionals, the expectations seem realistic.

CEO of CompTIA Todd Thibodeaux said: “The IT industry is changing rapidly, and channel partners, as well as IT professionals, business owners, and consumers, are eager for real-world insights and resources that will help them make more informed decisions and offer guidance on the future of IT. CompTIA is uniquely positioned to be that voice and resource, which is why we’re opening up the vault to registered users and introducing greater exclusivity and value for our members.”

Premier membership

The new premier membership is open only to distributors, vendors, and other "companies serving the IT channel".  Existing CompTIA members automatically become premier members as of April 1. Premier membership allows users priority access to CompTIA training and education resources, “exclusive business tools” and services. It also provides unlimited, complimentary CompTIA event registrations. The extension of the premier membership will cost £150 annually. Vendors will be required to pay between £375-£3,000 per year, depending on their size.

CompTIA training with Firebrand

Firebrand is an Authorized Training Partner of CompTIA. This means that we have access to the latest official curriculum, and the best instructors. We offer an ever-growing offering selection of CompTIA certifications, including these ones.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Windows Service Centre scam calls – man gets suspended jail sentence and a fine


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If you’re following tech news you have surely heard about the infamous Windows Service Centre scam calls. Or if you were “lucky” enough, you may even have received the call, which started like this: “I am calling from Microsoft’s Windows Service Centre. We’ve had a report from you service provider of virus problems on your computer.”

However, if this is the first time you hear about this scam, read our previous article, reciting the story of a scam call, received by Firebrand’s Senior Microsoft Instructor, Mike Brown. 

Following the events of the past few days, the frequency of these calls is likely to dramatically decrease, because the man behind the scam has been sentenced, in a landmark case. 

Successful prosecution of man hiring scammers

The convicted man, from Luton, hired operators at an Indian call centre to impersonate Microsoft employees and convince their victims that their computers had viruses. He has received a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as a fine of £5,000.
On top of the fine, he must also pay almost £14,000 in prosecution costs and over £5,000 compensation.

New precedent established?

Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board said: "We believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK”.

“Now that one of the many individuals who've been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it's a stark warning to anyone else still doing it that they can be caught and will be prosecuted."

How to avoid tech support phone scams

Don’t fall victim to scam callers, read the guide in Microsoft’s Safety & Security Centre and avoid tech support phone scams.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

UK launches Computer Emergency Response Team to deal with cyber security incidents


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Keeping the UK safe in cyber space” reads in the official press release about CERT-UK, the UK’s national Computer Emergency Response Team, which will prepare for and deal with national cyber security incidents.

Besides responding to threats, the body will also act as an advisory and provide alerts on cyber hazards to government, corporations and educational institutions.

CERT-UK will provide advice and guidance to help companies prepare and protect themselves, as well as expertise to help respond promptly once an incident has occurred.

It’s an important step

Francis Maude, Cabinet Office Minister responsible for Cyber Security said:
“This government’s most important task is to protect our security and ensure Britain is a safe place to work, live and do business. That’s why I’m delighted to launch the UK’s Cyber Emergency Response Team.”

“We know government cannot do everything by itself. CERT-UK shows we want closer coordination between government, business and academia to share insight and advice, as well as better cooperation with our international partners.”

“The job of protecting our security will never be done – it will always be a work in progress. But, from today, CERT-UK means we are better prepared, better informed, better connected and ultimately more resilient.”

Main responsibilities

CERT-UK has four main responsibilities, all following the UK Cyber Security Strategy:
  • National cyber security incident management
  • Supporting critical national infrastructure companies in handling cyber security incidents
  • Promoting cyber security situational awareness across industry, academia and the public sector
  • Providing the single international point of contact for co-ordination and co-operation with other nations’ CERTs

Meet the director

Although CERT-UK had its official launch yesterday, director Chris Gibson, formerly the director of e-crime at Citigroup, was appointed in November and he has been working as head of the body ever since.

With over 9 years of experience on the leadership team of the international Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), with the last 2 as global chair, Gibson is a globally recognised expert on cyber incident response. 

He was also a member of the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) Cyber Advisory Panel and for 10 years one of Citigroup’s representatives to the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure’s Financial Service’s Information Exchange.

Watch the following video of Chris Gibson introducing CERT-UK at the International Cyber Security Forum in January. 



Become an expert in IT security

Get ahead of the curve, learn about the latest security threats and protect your organisation by becoming certified on our accelerated IT security courses.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Microsoft Office finally comes to your iPad


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As of 27th March, the iOS 7 compatible versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available in the App Store. Microsoft Office is finally coming to your iPad.

At last week's press conference, Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella said the company wanted “to empower people to be productive and do more across all devices… Office 365 will be everywhere from here on out.”  
He added: "It is to make sure that the one billion Office users have access to the high fidelity Office experience on every device they love to use. Today's announcement marks one more step in that direction."


The newly available apps allow you to view Office files and documents on your iPad, however creating and editing are only enabled, after purchasing an Office 365 cloud subscription.

It was time to make this move

Microsoft’s move to a devices-and-services business model is essential to ensure a prosperous future. The company has to show commitment to delivering those services promptly on any platform. The iPad release of Office is an example of doing just that; delivering a new set of high-fidelity endpoints for the Office 365 services.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Staffing struggle: project managers


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According to the recent ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary and Development Survey by ESI International, organisations may soon face a shortage of project managers in their teams. Needless to say, it is a huge a disadvantage as the global economy is recovering.

The problem

Those responsible for project teams face short- and long-term challenges when it comes to the staffing and development of their project communities. As projects continue to increase in complexity and size, many project organizations find themselves with understaffed and underdeveloped work forces. In light of budget constraints, an aging base of experienced professionals, and a likely talent war on the horizon, those without a strategy for hiring, developing, and retaining top project talent are going to find it difficult to meet the increasing demand of their organizations.” - ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary & Development Survey

Mark Bashrum, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Open Enrollment at ESI, said : "Budget constraints, an aging base of professionals and a looming talent war all contribute to a talent crisis that should be addressed from the highest levels of the organization". He also added: "The growing needs of businesses demand a more strategic view of the staffing, development and promotion of their project managers since project execution impacts an organization's bottom line and its ability to satisfy its customers."

Three main reasons

It’s important to highlight that the problem is not the lack of project managers; it is the lack of experienced, mid- and senior-level project managers.  According to the findings of the survey, 44% of shortages are for senior project managers. Furthermore, 48% of respondents stated it was “very difficult” to find senior staff.

CIO.com summarised the problem, in three points:
  • Many organisations are now expanding quickly as the economy is recovering and they’re either starting new projects or continuing projects that had previously been put on hold
  • Experienced, senior project managers are reaching retirement age or leaving for other reasons
  • Several organisations stopped actively training and developing new project managers internally due to financial cuts

Project Management training with Firebrand

Do you have the experience; you just need a certification to prove it? Or are you new to project management? Wherever you are in your career, we’ll have an accelerated project management course for you! Learn more about them here.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Digital Badges for ISACA Credential Verification


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ISACA has decided to take countermeasures against fraudulent security credentialing with the use of Open Badges. Open Badges by Mozilla are digitally displayed badges and in this case, they will be awarded to those who have completed training and acquired an ISACA certification.

How does it work?

Open Badges are secure digital representations of ISACA credentials, such as CISA, CISM, CGEIT or CRISC. They can be embedded into emails, personal websites, a résumé, as well as social and professional networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Displaying your open badge across social platforms offers potential employers an easy way to verify and evaluate your competencies and achievement.
Once someone clicks on the badge, it calls up a set of metadata, verifying the certification and sums up the qualifications and the process, which were required to earn it.


“ISACA credentials are in demand by employers worldwide, and we are glad to offer our certification holders the opportunity to utilize open badges to demonstrate their accomplishments… Open Badges offer an efficient method for current and potential employers to validate a certification, and also give certification holders a simple and effective opportunity to tell their professional story and enhance their recognition.” said Allan Boardman, International Vice President of ISACA and Chair of ISACA’s Credentialing and Career Management Board, in a recent statement.

Which is your ISACA course?

CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CRISC. We run them all, just pick the one that suits you best. Visit our course page and view more details about accelerated ISACA training courses.

ISACA’s exam registration deadline is near

ISACA only runs its exams three times a year, with the next one coming up on 14th June. If you want to take your exam as early as possible, you have to register by 11th April, which is the final registration deadline for the June exam.

Have you already completed your course and registered for the exam? Well done, here are some revision tips for passing your exam! 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Hour of Code UK - over 2 million participants so far


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On the first week of March, Hour of Code UK launched a week-long event to promote computer sciences and more importantly to get students, teachers and parents excited about coding. As of today, over 2 million participants in the UK have tried an Hour of Code.


Recap: What’s Hour of Code?

Participants of Hour of Code will learn the basic skills of computer programming in 60 minutes, through fun tutorials and interesting activities. Hour of Code is suitable for all ages and abilities, neither students nor teachers need to have any experience to use the self-guided materials that are accessible for free on the UK Hour of Code website.



Testimonials

Code.org UK and its YouTube campaign video have seen some excellent feedback from students, teachers and parents alike. Here are a few great ones:

“I just did this in class an I LOVED it” – Student

"I have NEVER, EVER seen my students so excited about learning" – Teacher

"My 3 kids came home from school yesterday yelling about the Hour of Code. My six-year-old instructing me on how to program Angry Birds, my 10-year-old boy proclaiming 'I am going to be a software engineer. It is the job I was made for. It is my DESTINY!'" – Parent

Are you interested in learning the basics of coding in just 60 minutes? Get started with Hour of Code now! 

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

How LPI certifications can be your key to success


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Entering the world of Linux engineering can be quite challenging even for the most committed individual. Add this to this year’s Linux Jobs report, according to which 90% of employers find the recruitment of Linux professionals as either “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” (an increase on last years’ results), and it becomes clear that a new approach is needed. The importance of raining has to receive more recognition.

Linux experts of UKFast on LPI qualifications

UKFast, founded in 1999, is a business-to-business (b2b) hosting provider, currently looking after 250,000 e-commerce websites. Linux plays a key role in service delivery and technical support at UKFast; therefore it is essential that the company has well trained engineers.

Although LPI Certifications won’t make you a system administrator (sysadmin) overnight, they do provide you with a range of massive advantages in the workplace. One key benefit of the LPICs is standardisation. The training provides the basics which will enable you to approach other systems with the confidence that you will be able to work out ways around the different deviations on your own.

What the LPI qualifications give you

The LPI qualification is a great way of initialising and developing your knowledge.

LPIC1 - provides you with the basic knowledge and skills common across all distributions of Linux, such as system architecture, administrative tasks and GNU and UNIX commands.

LPIC2 - builds on this and covers advanced skills for your role as a Linux Professional. To pass this level and obtain your certification, you are required to be able to administer a small to medium sized site.

LPIC3 - is designed for ‘Enterprise’ level engineers as it introduces specialised areas of expertise such as mixed environments and security.

Firebrand is an LPI Approved Training Partner

As a leading hosting company, UKFast receives a lot of CVs and applications from engineers who have taught themselves the LPIC essentials by using books or watching training videos online. This dedication shows that you’re dealing with a motivated individual, which is the key to success.

However, self-study is not an option for everyone, as the process can be very long and often hard to manage. If you’re committed to getting your LPI certification, visit Firebrand’s LPI page and pick the one best suits your needs.

For more information on LPI certifications and an interview with Bill Quinn, CEO of LPI UK & Ireland, read Going Pro with Linux.  

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Windows XP retirement puts ATMs at risk


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As we mentioned in an earlier post, Microsoft will be discontinuing the support of Windows XP on 8th April. Windows XP has been one of the most popular operating systems ever created and its endgame is certainly going to impact more than just individual users. According to Gartner’s experts, around 10-15% of XP-using businesses will fail to migrate to a different operating system, but this is not the most worrying news.

ATMs at risk as XP is set to retire

This may come as a shocker, but over 2 million (95% of all) ATMs in the world are running on Windows XP and they will become easy targets for hackers and viruses once the support for XP has to come to its end.
To make matters worse, only about 1/3 of these ATMs are ready for an upgrade and preparing the remaining 2/3 would cost about £60 million.

However, we must also point out that ATMs are equipped with sophisticated, customised additional security. Therefore it is unlikely that they’d just “start shooting out money into the streets or things like that,” said James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos.

They knew the day would come

Microsoft already announced its plans to stop issuing security fixes for Windows XP in 2007. So it really shouldn’t have struck any bank as a surprise, yet quite a few failed to take action. Banking giants like RBS, Santander UK, Lloyds or HSBC have decided to sign up for three years of custom support, before migrating their ATM operations to Windows 7.

According to James Lyne, these changes have been hanging around for so long, so banks really should have thought about addressing them a long time ago. 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

AdWords system is temporarily down for maintenance

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Those trying to log in to their Google Adwords account this morning are being greeted with the following error message:

"Thank you for your interest in advertising with Google. We apologize for any inconvenience, but the AdWords system is temporarily down for maintenance. Please try again in a few minutes"



As of yet it is unclear whether this is routine maintenance or Google has experienced some sort of server  failure. If it is a system failure, it would be the third time in a week where Google has experience such an issue with YouTube going offline twice in the last week. 

We'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Back online as of 10:00 GMT.

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

National Apprenticeship Week – more than 20,000 apprenticeships created


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If you read our blog on a regular basis, you already know that in the beginning of March the UK observed the seventh National Apprenticeships Week. This year, many small, medium and large enterprises have put in a sterling effort to provide earn-as-you-learn opportunities to committed young people.

To be a bit more specific, these employers have committed to creating over 20,000 new apprenticeships as part of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.


Besides the likes of corporate giants such as Whitbread, EE or Lloyds Banking Group, several small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are demonstrating real commitment to apprenticeships. In fact, 47% of the employers creating new apprenticeships are SMEs.

Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock MP says: “Apprenticeships are delivering for employers, young people, adults and the economy, and are increasing at a record rate. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business, including the ability to grow their own talents.”


Join the pledge, hire an apprentice

If you want passionate and eager talent in your business, now’s your time to hire an apprentice!  As part of our commitment to apprenticeships, Firebrand has pledged to place 200 IT Apprentices in UK businesses this year.

View the details of Firebrand Apprenticeships and gain the benefits of hiring an apprentice. Jointhe pledge now.  

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Win free training for the rest of your life

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Firebrand is re-launching its Free Training for Life competition, giving another opportunity for one lucky person to be trained for life. Following in the footsteps of last year's winner, Joseph Guthrie, the winner could gain a prize estimated to be worth more than £1 million!

Which courses are covered?

The winner will gain access to all of Firebrand's 165+ courses. We are official learning partners with leading vendors including Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, EC-Council and (ISC)2, amongst others.

Whether you're in security looking at one of the world renowned CISSP or Certified Ethical Hacking certifications. Working as a Project Manager, looking to reinforce those skills with a PRINCE2 or PMP certification. Or maybe you're a techie working with Microsoft and Cisco technologies, looking to take CCNA or one of many MCSE certification tracks. Either way, we have a course for you.

The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, living in the European countries where Firebrand operates: UK; DACH (Germany, Switzerland, Austria); Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland); and Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg). 

Enter by clicking the big red button below (don't worry, nothing will blow up....we think)
Free Training For Life - Firebrand Training

How to increase your chances of winning!

Once you've completed the entry form, you will be given a unique URL which you can share with your many friends and followers. Each time someone enters using your URL, you will gain an extra entry to the draw. So if 10 people enter that's 10 extra entries, if a 100 people enter, that's a 100 extra entries, and if 1000 people enter.....I think you get the picture.

So what are you waiting for, email your friends, put it on social media or maybe even put it on your blog if you have one.

The closing date for entries is Sunday 14th September 2014; and the winner will be announced at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday 30th September 2014.

For full terms and conditions, click here: www.firebrandtraining.co.uk/ftfl

Here's what last years winner had to say


So what are you waiting for?

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Great Apprenticeships – thoughts to consider


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Following last week’s National Apprenticeship Week events, it’s time to evaluate what has happened and find out what still needs to happen. If we’re to make this year’s “great apprenticeships” theme come alive, we’ll need to raise nationwide awareness of apprenticeship schemes.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

From an employer’s perspective apprenticeships offer great opportunities to employ passionate young talent and train them, so that their skills perfectly fit the business’ needs and goals. Viewing it from an apprentice’s perspective, schemes present fantastic opportunities to learn on the job and gain real-life experience, while also earning money.

With the increased tuition fees, university learning has become less available (affordable) to many young people. However, this is not necessarily bad, because three or four years of theory-based learning is not for everyone, especially when it comes to practical professions, like engineering or computer sciences.


According to RealBusiness.co.uk employers regularly “educate themselves out” of great jobs, because they feel compelled to go to university just to have a degree in something. Guess what, there are apprenticeships that actually offer degree level education, whilst learning on the job.

Custom skills for custom needs

Not only are apprentices easier and cheaper to recruit, but their skills can be tailor-made for a specific role or business. Training an apprentice to fit the organisation will also make them more committed and loyal.

Employers need to act fast to get the best

According to Kate Russell, MD of Russell HR Consulting “there is a big pool of talent available nearing the end of A-Level or equivalent, many of whom will be concerned about higher education and what they should do next.

Given how early the nightmarish UCAS process starts, employers who get in early by going into schools and colleges throughout the two "further education" years to advertise the kind of people they’re looking for and what they have to offer, will get the best pick.

Business needs good people and employers have to work hard to get them. Learning on the job suits a lot of people, and with a structured training/work programme both employer and apprentice could well benefit equally well from the arrangement.”

If you're interested about apprenticeships, find out more by visiting Firebrand Apprenticeships.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.