Thursday, 31 July 2014

Your stories: which course would you attend first, if you won Free Training for Life?


Which would be your first certification, if you won Firebrand's Free Training For Life competition? You'd get free access to over 160 training courses from the likes of Microsoft, Cisco, EC-Council, CompTIA, PMI and many more. Whether you're working in IT security, cloud computing or project management, you'd find the courses you need to climb up the career ladder.

We asked you to share your “first course choices” on our Google+ page, because we were curious about your picks and the stories behind them.

Reading your responses was thoroughly enjoyable. Some of them were witty, well-justified and though provoking, so it was hard to pick the Top 5. But at last here they are, the best answers from 5 lucky winners of 100 extra tickets to Free Training For Life:

It’s extremely important to keep your networks safe and this response seems to agree.

“If I won FTFL I would choose the Cisco CCNA and CCNA Security as my first course, as I know that I would then be able to protect my systems and myself without physical confrontation. I am small so actual confrontation has never gone well for me. So having that card in my back pocket will set me off on the right path. I would then go down the project management side of things and do PRINCE2 course and other courses related to project management.“ – Rachel

Some of you have already attended training with Firebrand, so you know what to expect and how to further develop the skills you’ve already got.

“If I won FTFL it would be a toss-up between Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and CompTIA Sec+. Having done CompTIA A+ I thoroughly enjoyed the course and loved the introduction into cryptography, the AAA of computing, types of attacks and various methods of procuring data - I had no idea that it was so in-depth and that was just a skim over the subject.

Having developed an appetite for it, I think both courses would be a great next step, though I think the CEH would provide a unique insight into security from the side of the intruder. I spoke to some people doing the course whilst doing my CompTIA A+ on the Firebrand campus and they spoke very highly of the course and learned a lot.

I'd also build up my Comp TIA A+ a little more with N+ and then work through ITIL before potentially branching into CISM or CCNA. I plan to build a wide-ranging skillset throughout my career and hopefully Firebrand will be the ones to help me do it!” – David

This could be you in a few months' time. Watch Joseph, last year's winner, talk about his certification plans.

Having a solid foundation is essential in preparing for long-term future goals.

“With so much choice it's not an easy decision. It would be either the CompTIA Trifecta [A+/N+/Sec+] to gain a solid foothold in an IT career or a Cisco CCNA qualification. Cisco would be the ideal choice as in today’s ever increasingly "Connected" world this would probably the most future proof qualification, as networks are always going to be required and therefore the properly certified individual will be the 'Key player' to keep this moving forward.” – Paul

We can’t stress this enough: you can beat a hacker, if you can think like one.

“I would go for the EC-Council CEH v8 to acquire the required skillset needed to help keep networks more secure. It's like the catch a thief, you have to think like a thief. With Firebrand Training, that dream would become a reality…” – Clevelon

If you’re familiar with what you need to make progress, you have a very good chance of reaching your goals.

“If I win the FTFL Competition, I will start with the BCI Certificate Training. The reason is because as an IT practitioner, my chosen area of specialty is IT Management, and with the Five Core Modules of the BCI Curriculum, (1. Policy, Programme Management and Culture;  2. Understanding the Organisation;  3. Determining Business Continuity Strategy;  4. Developing a BCM Response;  5. Exercising, Maintaining and Reviewing BCM Arrangements) I should be able to gain the requisite foundation for a start in the Sphere of IT Business Management.” - Imo

As you see different people have different preferences and ideas about their future. We’d be delighted to hear more of your stories. Tell us which course you’d take first, if you won Free Training For Life. You can do so on the Firebrand Google+ page.

Send us your story of which course you'd take and why, and the best ones will again be rewarded with 100 extra entries and a "Failure Is Not An Option" t-shirt.

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, 30 July 2014

If you have an MCSE/MCSD or are planning to get one – this affects you


Microsoft’s head of communications, Tim Sneath wants to make the MCSD and MCSE ‘harder for everyone.

Last year, the retirement of Microsoft’s Master level certs left the most determined of IT professionals without top tier Microsoft qualifications to strive for. The Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) have all been discontinued without replacement.

But whilst there are no plans to release a new pinnacle certification, Microsoft does have something else in mind.

Without the Master Level certifications, there's a new top tier

Currently, the most advanced Microsoft certifications on offer are the MCSE and MCSD. To reflect their top-tier status, Microsoft now plans on upping the difficulty of both MCSE and MCSD certifications. 

Sneath describes the changes: ‘[Microsoft] will add a variety of richer test types that make it harder for people to memorise answers. We’re also adding richer questioning types. In testing for SQL certifications, we ask you to actually create an SQL query.’

The aim is to make certifications reflect more practical knowledge, not just theory.

Microsoft wants the route to an MCSE/MCSD to be more rigorous, but without excluding the majority. Instead of just a small elite group of cert holders, Microsoft now wants to embrace a broader community. These tougher certs will be promoted as something new and unique.

Sneath received his MCSE 20 years ago – ‘I thought I was pretty special. We want to bring that back.

And the changes to MCSD and MCSE certs don’t just apply for new candidates. As MCSE holders are required to recertify every three years, and MCSD holders every two years; these changes definitely have the potential to catch some professionals out.

Microsoft haven't yet announced a time-frame for these new updates, so if you’re recertification is looming, or you’re planning on achieving one of Microsoft’s new pinnacle certs – now's the time to so. You can find our full range of MCSE and MCSD certs 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. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

SQL Server 2014 certifications: What you need to know


With the release of SQL Server 2014, Microsoft has made some significant changes to their current SQL Server certifications. And unlike the move from Microsoft SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012 – the certifications associated with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 don’t follow the usual trend. The release of SQL Server 2014 is a little different.

How different you ask? Well, we’ve put together a handy FAQ to explain just that.

Q. Will Microsoft be providing a new MCSA: SQL Server 2014 certification? 

A.  There are currently no plans to offer a new MCSA certification. Certifications for SQL Server 2014  will only be offered at the MCSE level. This new product focuses on performance tuning and high availability – features best suited for the advanced MCSE.

Q. How will this affect the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification? 

A. Don’t worry. You’ll still be able to get the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 qualification. Its associated exams (70-461/70-462/70-463) will remain without any alterations. The MCSA: SQL Server 2012 will also remain as the prerequisite for both MCSE certificates.

Q. How does SQL Server 2014 affect the MCSE: Data Platform and MCSE: Business Intelligence certifications?

A. The MCSE: Data Platform (70-464/70-465) and MCSE: Business Intelligence (70-466/70-467) exams were updated In April 2014 with SQL Server 2014 topics. Their exam numbers will stay the same.

Q. I’m already working towards earning an MCSA/MCSE certification associated with SQL Server. How will the changes to Microsoft's Official Curriculum affect me?

A. If you are currently studying for your MCSA: SQL Server 2012, you have nothing to worry about. This MCSA and its associated exams will not be changed. Though you may now find it referred to as MCSA: SQL Server.

Both the MCSE: Data Platform and the MCSE: Business Intelligence were updated April 2014 to include SQL Server 2014 content. If you earned your MCSE credential before this, you will not be tested on SQL Server 2014 or future releases until your recertification exam.

If you are on track to earn your MCSE credential after the exam updates, make sure you revise the correct material. You can do this by reviewing the details on the revised exam objectives which you can find on the Firebrand website.

Q. I want to start learning more about the updates to SQL Server 2014. Where can I find training material?

You can already find a series of free training modules available via the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Alternatively attend our 3 day course focused on updating your skills for SQL Server 2014.

Hopefully we’ve answered your SQL Server 2014 certification questions. But if not, don’t hesitate to contact us directly through our social platforms or just leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

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, 24 July 2014

CompTIA tackling the image problem of the IT industry


Image courtesy of
CompTIA labels the IT industry with "an image problem" as it continues to address the lack of women in the channel through its Advancing Women in IT (AWIT) initiative.

With less than 16% of the UK IT industries 1.2 million workforce being women, it's a statement you simply can't challenge. The industry has an image problem and it's time we addressed it as a community.

IT doesn't appeal to the young

CompTIA claims a lack of appeal to the younger generation is at the core of this issue. Again, difficult to contest when applications to Computing Science at GCSE and A level continue to fall. Left unchecked,  this will significantly reduce the volume of talent entering the industry and exacerbate a skills gap estimated to reach 700,000 IT professionals across Europe by 2015.  

CompTIA Senior vice president,  Nancy Hammervik, reflects on the issue. She said: 

The primary barrier to interest in IT as a career is that young people – girls, especially – don’t understand the full range of options available to them,” 

But when they’re exposed to specific job and career opportunities their interest level jumps,” Hammervik continued. “We’ve taken the next step to reach out directly to women and girls on the wonderful opportunities available to them in our industry.

Advancing Women in IT

Image courtesy of
This next step is via the 'Advancing Women in IT' initiative. Driven by an elite group of “trailblazing female entrepreneurs”, the program aims to engage at the grass root level and transform the representation of women in IT. Delivering the message direct to schools and colleges via a series of workshops, free educational tools and events, the program aims to engage more than 10,000 people by the end of 2014.

Firebrand Training’s UK Managing Director, Emma Seaman said:  

If we are to reverse the downward trend of young women taking an interest in IT then we must break the stereotype that ‘IT is for geeks’

Attracting more women into IT received a big boost this week 

This week CompTIA launched two new websites, Dream IT and the Career Resource Centre. Both seen as a huge boost in the battle to attract more women into the IT workforce.

The new Career Resource Centre contains a wealth of information and career resources all with the express aim of showing women and girls that IT is a great place to work.

The Dream IT initiative is the brainchild of CompTIA’s 'Advancing Women in IT' community. It offers ready-made presentation materials which can be used by anyone looking to spread the fantastic opportunities available to women and girls in the IT industry.

Get Involved!

If your interested in adavncing women in IT, why not head over to the Dream IT site and explore to find out all the ways you can get involved.

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, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint, 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.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Is your business safe from the Visa & MasterCard Backlash?


Visa and MasterCard will suspend your ability to process online payments if you are using Windows Server 2003.

When Windows Server 2003 End of Service hits in July 2015, any business running the software will no longer adhere to the PCI compliance standards. Without updates and support, the integrity and security of the Windows Server 2003 platform cannot be guaranteed.

Adherence to PCI is required for businesses that want to host Visa and MasterCard transactions on their websites. Lose it and your crippling your businesses ability to make money online.

Microsoft states that “Payment Card Industry (PCI) policies will not be met with an operating system that is EOS”.
With just under a year to go until Microsoft cuts all support for the outdated software, businesses could be risking far more than they realise.

You don’t have much time - Upgrade now

When Windows Server 2003 loses all support on July 14th 2015, you can’t afford to be caught unawares.  Continue running the software at your peril – failing to upgrade could cost you £100,000 a year.

What’s more, according to Microsoft’s initial estimations, it could take you 200 days to migrate, so you’re going to have to act fast.

But, updating to Windows Server 2012 doesn’t have to be a trial. If you’re amongst the 62% of businesses who haven’t yet planned to migrate – you can still make sure your transition a smooth one.  

Avoid those frustrating first-time software mistakes. Become a Windows Server 2012 expert in just 9-days and make your upgrade an easy one. Plus, you’ll be Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certified – your first step to earning the advanced MCSE certification.

What percentage of your revenue comes from online payments? This could disappear come 2015.

So, start making your migration plans now, you don’t have long!

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, 17 July 2014

Get your Official VMware vSphere certification in five days


Firebrand Training is excited to announce we now offer the official VMware ® vSphere 5.5 Fast Track (VCP) course.

The traditional route to VMware vSphere certification can be slow. After attending the five-day VMware Install, Configure, Manage course AND the five-day Optimize and Scale course, you’d still need to allow an extra day to sit the VCP exam.

Cut those 11 days to five on the VMware ® vSphere 5.5 Fast Track (VCP) course. In partnership with HP, Firebrand has combined VMware Install, Configure, Manage with the advanced elements of Optimize and Scale. You’ll also sit the official VMware VCP exam which is covered by the Firebrand Certification Guarantee.

Your fastest way to become a vSphere5.5 certified professional

The vSphere5.5 Fast Track packs in even more training time than the basic Install, Configure, Manage course. You’ll get:
  • 12 more hands-on labs
  • 11 extra modules
  • Up to 20 hours more learning time

You’ll have more time to study vSphere5.5 features on the Firebrand course – spend up to 12 hours in class with your instructor each day.

Get 24-hour access to your own dedicated server and master advanced virtualisation features like high availability and scalability.

Become a virtualisation visionary

Get an official certification from VMware, a company that accounts for 58% of the virtualisation market. 63% of IT professionals are responsible for managing virtualisation; Stand out from the crowd with an official vSphere5.5 cert. Become a VMware certified professional in just 5-days.

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, 15 July 2014

Windows Server 2003 Support to end: you don’t have much time


In just 364 days, support will finally end for Windows Server 2003. As of 14th July 2015 Microsoft will no longer be providing patches and security updates for the 10-year-old software. Many applications will cease to be supported and you’ll also risk losing your compliance with important industry standards and regulations.

Image courtesy of jchandler
One year may sound like a long time, but according to Microsoft’s initial estimations, it could take you 200 days to migrate.

How failing to upgrade could cost you over £100,000 a year

Every day you use the unsupported software, you run a massive risk:

  • Custom Support costs - Support costs money and you’ll have to do plenty of it. You can expect to spend tens of thousands on more advanced security. Without updates to Windows Server 2003, you’d have to spend your own cash on firewalls and intrusion detection. Custom support will cost upwards of £115,000 a year, according to Microsoft.
  • Security insecurities – Without support, you’re on your own. The end of all patches, bug fixes and updates puts your system at a dire risk. Unpatched systems pose a huge vulnerability, they just can’t adapt to ever changing technology standards. Cyber criminals will view you as easy prey - and rightly so. It’s not cheaper either; the average cost of a data breach rose to £2M in 2013. Not to mention the reputational damage you’d face getting hacked.
  •  Application woes - It’s officially End of Support from Microsoft and that means it’s unofficially end of support for third party developers. Developers around the world won’t keep their programs optimised for dead software, so support for numerous apps will end. Microsoft are doing their part too and discontinuing support for all apps running on Windows Server 2003.
  • Compliance Issues - Running unsupported software is a hassle, and an expensive one at that. When running out-of-date software you are legally obliged to undergo regular independent audits. In some cases, these audits could cost more than upgrading your systems.

Don’t have a plan to upgrade?

(Un)fortunately you’re not alone. 62% haven’t planned to upgrade or migrate, a survey by App Zero found. Despite strenuous efforts by Microsoft to make customers aware, analysts estimate there are more than 10 million machines still running Windows Server 2003.

End of Support for Windows Server 2003 poses a greater challenge than the retirement of Windows XP. “It’s not just what applications and services you have, it’s also the relationships between them that are important,” Tony Lock, programme director at analyst firm Freeform Dynamics explains.

“Because of the length of time they have been deployed, the way that some of these applications and services feed off each other might not be in people’s heads any more. Getting a clear picture of what you have is vital.”

But it’s not all bad, as Lock points out, you might find that there are servers deployed which no one is using. In such a case, reacquainting yourself with your server infrastructure could also prove to be a cost saving exercise.

Get ready to implement Windows Server 2012 in just 9-days

As well as the basic advantages of owning supported software, Windows Server 2012 is a massive improvement. You’ll benefit from reduced costs, virtualisation and cloud support, better performance, increased security, and of course, official Microsoft support.

Make sure your migration to Windows Server 2012 is a smooth one - get Windows Server 2012 certified with official Microsoft Training. You’ll learn the fundamental set of skills needed to develop and manage your Windows Server environment.

You must be planning your migration over the next few weeks so don’t waste time. Take the Firebrand course, in only 9-days, you’ll learn everything twice as fast as traditional training.

Don't neglect this upgrade
Image courtesy of click/morgueFile

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, 11 July 2014

The minimalist guide to PRINCE2


Whether you want to lead your own projects or need to work alongside other PRINCE2 qualified – it’s becoming increasingly important in business for both employers and employees.

PRINCE2 is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK. According to arras People’s 2013 UK Project Management Benchmark, the PRINCE2 qualification is held by 63% of all Project management professionals - that’s markedly more than the competing PMP (9%) and MSP (23%) accreditations.

With over a million exams taken globally, it’s already recognised as the world’s most popular project management methodology. Unlike its predecessor, PRINCE, the PRINCE2 is designed to be general and useable in all projects from small to large.  

The qualification covers the management, control and organisation of a project. It embodies years of best practice in project management and provides a flexible and adaptable framework to suit different projects. 

But perhaps the most important aspect of PRINCE2 is that it’s so widely recognised and understood. As a result, those experienced in PRINCE2 will find they share a common language, enabling a more streamlined and standardised process when cooperating on projects.

There are two levels of certifications within PRINCE2:

The foundation exam measures whether a candidate would be able to act as an informed member of a project management team using the PRINCE2 methodology. Though there are no formal pre-requisites, though you’ll need to show understanding of the principles, terminology of the PRINCE2 methods to pass the exam.

The certification is recommended for:

  •           New and experienced project staff
  •           Project Managers
  •           Team managers
  •           Support staff

As the name suggests, the Practitioner exam tests whether a candidate would be able to apply the PRINCE2 methodology to the running and managing of a project. You must be able to exhibit the competence required to apply and tune PRINCE2 to address the needs of a specific project scenario.

This certification is recommended for:

  •           Project Managers
  •           General Managers
  •           Programme Managers
  •           Project Management consultants

To become a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner you’ll have to pass both the ‘Foundation’ and ‘Practitioner’ exams.

What’s in it for me?

PRINCE2 certified professionals earn an average salary of £50,000 in the UK, with that figure rocketing up to £75,000 for senior-level roles. You’ll gain the skills needed to feel confident in the management of your own projects and you’ll gain the know-how to work effectively alongside others using the common PRINCE2 systems and procedures.

It’s also a great certification to have on your resume. PRINCE2 is an international product with hundreds of companies around the world wanting new and existing staff to be certified. Just a cursory glance at online job postings yields a wealth of companies searching for employee’s that can prove they are experienced with PRINCE2.

And my organisation?

The Harvard Business Review found that, after an analysis of 1,471 IT projects, 1 in 6 projects had a cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of nearly 70%.

Adopting PRINCE2 as your organisations standard will improve your ability to deliver projects. With a widely recognised standard, your projects will be more efficient, both in terms of cost savings and smart use of resources. You’ll be able to clearly measure the success of your endeavours within a standardised system which in turn will give you a clear goal to strive towards.

Already have the PRINCE2?

Candidates that have passed both PRINCE2 exams can undertake the PRINCE2 Professional qualification. 

Get PRINCE2 certified in the fastest way possible

If you want to get the PRINCE2 certifications, but don’t have the time to spend every other evening locked away self-studying, there is another option. Complete both the Foundation and Practitioner certifications in just 3-days on the fastest PRINCE2 course in the world.

Get a career boost for yourself and improve your organisations efficiency with a PRINCE2 certification.

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. 

9 Firebrand Apprentices achieve a staggering 76 certifications in just 5 weeks


Last week we said goodbye to yet another fantastic group of young apprentices. After spending five weeks of intense training with us over the past year, the group’s prospects are looking brighter than ever. They are now well on their way to a career in IT.

From left to right - Iman Attia, Fraser Price, Lewis Graham, Billy Raymond Rowan Farmer, Gary Fildes (Instructor), Lamar Brownbill, Jack Lugar, Alex Buckland and Jacob Noble. 
As a result of their Firebrand Apprenticeship, the group of 9, known affectionately as DESK0913, achieved a staggering number of industry certifications. The industry recognised certs are definitive measures of their technical aptitude and identify the group as driven, smart and ultimately extremely employable.

Altogether, the 9 students attained the following:

36 MTA’s
18 CompTIA Strata’s
4 CompTIA A+
5 CompTIA Network+
5 CompTIA Security+
5 MCTS Windows 7 070-680 (FULL MCP)

The brilliant achievement includes 73 exam passes of technical certifications, 7 ICT functional Skills, 18 City and Guilds exam passes – that’s another apprenticeship cohort with 100 exam passes.

These are all official industry recognised certifications requiring diligent studying and the completion of tough exams. As anybody who has experienced Firebrand’s accelerated training will attest to – achieving these qualifications is no easy feat.

And it gets even more impressive. These qualifications were all achieved by our apprentices during a year of full-time work. The group gained invaluable real-world experience with their employers and we expect them to remain employed even after completing their apprenticeship - a near-perfect 99% of them do.

If you’re looking for a career in IT, you can get industry recognised certifications and earn cash whilst in a proper job. Check now to see if you’re eligible to become a Firebrand Apprentice. Alternatively, if you want a talented and driven young person within your organisation, see the additional benefits of hiring a Firebrand Apprentice on our site.

It’s a great effort all round – congratulations and good luck to Iman, Fraser, Lewis, Billy, Rowan, Lamar, Jack, Alex and Jacob!

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 July 2014

Virtualization is virtually everywhere – it’s time to get certified


The world of IT is constantly changing. With the introduction of virtualization and cloud computing the Information Technology landscape has changed significantly over the last few years.

Virtualization plays a key role in taking your customers to public, private and hybrid clouds or helping them in the creation of other mobility platforms, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Virtualized environments are also increasingly common in the fields of networking, systems administration and enterprise architecture. It’s safe to say that an advanced understanding of virtualization is useful for any IT professional.

But what is virtualization?

By definition virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, for example an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources. Virtualization pioneer VMware describes its benefits like this:

Virtualization is the single most effective way to reduce IT expenses while boosting efficiency and agility—not just for large enterprises, but for small and midsize businesses too. Virtualization allows you to:
  • Run multiple operating systems and applications on a single computer
  • Consolidate hardware to get vastly higher productivity from fewer servers
  • Save 50% or more on overall IT costs
  • Speed up and simplify IT management, maintenance, and the deployment of new applications

Skills Needed

According to a recent survey by IT management company, SolarWinds, cloud and virtualization are going to be the most in demand IT skill sets over the next three to five years. Over 50% of surveyed professionals agreed with this, raising the question: What other skills can complement the development of virtualization?

Survey results say that business analytics and app/device management are extremely useful skills to support virtualized environments. However, they are likely to require a significant investment to perfectly develop within any organisation.

Training is essential

Technologies are constantly evolving and with them comes the requirement for new skill sets. In order to stay on top of what’s going on in your field of expertise, you must be continuously learning regardless of whether it's self-learning or classroom-based training. 

Organisations should also chip in, be it directly providing training, or just facilitating engagement in training opportunities, it is an important aspect of keeping up with change.

Are you ready to take on the challenges of virtualization? These certifications will help you greatly:

VMware virtualization certifications

VMware is a leader in the field of virtualization, and currently offers six credentials at Associate, Professional, Advanced Professional, and Expert levels. Certifications are available in cloud computing, data centre virtualization, desktop virtualization and network virtualization as demonstrated on this road map:

If you want to learn how to configure a scalable virtual infrastructure and you already have a basic knowledge of cloud computing or virtualization the vSphere 5.5 (VCP5-DCV) course is for you. On this course you’ll acquire skills, including:
  • Configuring and controlling ESXi storage
  • Creating, configuring, migrating, managing and monitoring virtual machines and applications
  • Using vCenter Server to monitor resource usage
With VMware’s certifications organisations will be able to reduce operational costs by increasing energy efficiency, while enhancing business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities for your virtualized infrastructure. From an individual perspective, your VMware cert will increase your employability, demonstrate your commitment and expertise, and put you in a better position for earning a higher salary. 

Virtualization solutions from Citrix

Founded in 1989, Citrix is one of the longest standing virtualization technology providers in the market. After some recent changes to its certification program, Citrix currently offers the following virtualization certs:

  • CCE-V suits IT operators and admins managing, maintaining, monitoring and troubleshooting Citrix’s virtual desktop solution XenDesktop 7.
  • CCP-V is ideal for engineers and consultants installing, configuring and rolling out common XenDesktop 7 solutions. In order to get this credential, you must hold the CCA-V certification.
  • CCE-V validates the skills of experienced IT solution designers, such as engineers, architects and consultants designing and assessing XenDesktop 7 solutions. The prerequisite for this certification is the CCP-V credential. 
Do you already hold a CCIA or CCEE certification? These credentials are retiring in November 2014 and upgrades are already available, read this to learn more about them.

Whether you decide to go with VMware, Citrix or any other solution provider, you're making the right choice, because the demand for virtualization skills will only increase in the future.

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 July 2014

Succeed in the CISSP exam with these 4 tips

CISSP is a global standard, widely recognized as the information and cybersecurity benchmark certification. It’s an advanced cert that demonstrates a wealth of IT security knowledge and experience.  As a result, typical salaries have risen to upwards of £55,000 in the UK.

Cybersecurity professionals have never been in greater demand. What’s more, Sebastien Cobut, vice president of IT recruitment specialist Volt states that, ‘internal statistics suggest a continuing increase in both demand and pay rates for IT security professionals, across both UK and continental operations.’

'A day in the life of a CISSP certified professional'

Whilst the CISSP-certified are in demand, as you might imagine, it’s not an easy qualification to achieve.  You’ll need 5 years of paid information security experience (or 4 years with a degree) to take the mammoth 6 hour exam.  For an information security professional, preparation for the CISSP exam has been likened to that of a runner preparing for his first marathon.

Like any advanced qualification, it can be achieved if you’re committed - here are 4 tips to help those preparing or thinking about going for a CISSP cert.

1. Prepare to pass

Before you embark on your training course, it will be worth your time to evaluate your existing knowledge in line with the CISSP CBK (common body of knowledge). You might find that your idea of the domains differs to their actual definitions and this could seriously misinform what you study.

Sort and rank domains according to your knowledge level and from there, assign a hierarchy based upon how familiar you are with them. This will allow you to allocate your time smartly and ensure you don’t neglect any of the domains. 

Commitment is the key to passing your CISSP
Image courtesy of imelechon / morgueFile
2. Don’t waste time; start studying now

Yes, it’s an obvious one, but it can’t be stressed enough. The CISSP cert demonstrates you have a wealth of knowledge across a lot of different information security topics. Even if you’re already an expert in the majority of the domains, there will likely be some you will have to learn from scratch.

3. Choose good study materials

CISSP’s All-in-one Exam Guide 6th Edition comes highly recommended. It’s a great preparation tool that covers all 10 CISSP exam domains.  Familiarise yourself with these domains before the commencement of your training course and you’ll be well positioned to pass the exam.

The official study guide comes courtesy of (ISC)2 and is recognised as one of the best tools for studying the CISSP exam. Try to select a variety of study materials and make sure they are up-to-date. Don’t just settle on one guide either, try to experience a few different guide and handbooks.  

Study forums can be a great asset to anyone studying the CISSP, especially if you don’t personally know anyone else studying for the CISSP exam. If you ever need to ask a very specific question, or simply want to speak to people revising for the same exam as you, these forums can prove invaluable. Try and regularly browse these IT forums, the more involved you can get, the more you’ll learn. It’ll help you stay motivated to be metaphorically around people in the same position as you.

4. Minimise stress

Completing an important exam is stressful, especially if its 6 hours long. It’s important not to get flustered. Don’t let your hard work be hindered by any stress you feel. If you studied well and have some good experience, it should all come naturally.

Concluding thoughts

If you’re not the kind of learner that can shut themselves away for hours on end, there is a better alternative. Study CISSP at Firebrand and you’ll get certified in just 7 days on an all-inclusive course. You could begin looking for a senior role in IT security within a week with our unique accelerated training.