Monday, 21 December 2015

10 best IT certifications for 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


1. (ISC)2’s CISSP


The Cyber security skills gap has been around for years now, and shows no sign of closing. The Financial Times described it as the “largest human capital shortage in the world”. (ISC)2’s CISSP continues to establish itself as the top IT certification and global standard in the field and is the perfect certification to elevate you into top level roles. It’s also now required by a vast amount of top jobs. 

It is so coveted because it covers the elite skills in both technical and managerial aspects of security including security engineering, risk management, access management, software development security and network security.

The demand for IT security will continue to soar in 2016 and getting CISSP certified will continue to be a fantastic way to reach the top security roles within the growing industry.


2. EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker


EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification can be directly used to prevent the cyber-attacks that have been making headline news recently. Ethical hackers carry out processes to simulate a real life cyber-attack on a business’s network. The difference being that when they find a weakness that could be maliciously exploited, they use their skills to protect businesses and close the gaps in security.

Because of these high profile attacks, such as JP Morgan Chase who recently lost 76 million data records, EC-Council’s CEH is continuing to be in high demand. This means the CEH is going to continue to grow to become a massive certification in the IT industry in 2016. 


Image courtesy of EC-Council

3. Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching)


The skills gap is not exclusive to security. In a recent TEK Systems survey, 81% of bosses from all areas of IT say they have difficulty finding the right talent. Another of the most in demand areas is networking.

Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching) is the best certification for you to get into a networking role and teaches you all the fundamental skills in areas like IP addressing, network device security, IP routing and LAN switching technologies.

The CCNA is not just a great certification to get into networking, but is a great certification to get into IT. This is because these skills are versatile, and networking is applicable in many other areas of IT. Getting CCNA certified in 2016 is a great move to get your IT and networking career moving in one of the best directions possible.


4. Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10


The release of Windows 10 back in July was probably one of the most exciting IT events of 2015. Certifications to accompany it, helping you get skilled up on the operating system are rapidly being released.

The primary certification for Windows 10 in 2016 is likely to be the new Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10. Following Microsoft Official Curriculum, the course will take you right through from installing Windows 10, to using all of Windows 10’s advanced capabilities. These include managing user profiles and state virtualisation, managing Hyper-V and managing devices using Enterprise Mobility Solutions and Enterprise Desktop.

With further development to the content and refinement as more and more people get certified, Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10 will be one of the certifications to get excited about in 2016.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

5. AXELOS PRINCE 2 AGILE


Brilliant managers who complete successful projects at a high rate are hard to find. This is why project management skills are useful in almost any workplace at almost any time, particularly in IT.

The PRINCE2 Agile certification from Axelos is one of the most comprehensive in the world as it combines two of the most popular project management methodologies. PRINCE2, the most popular methodology in the UK, along with Agile, give you unrivaled breadth of project management knowledge from a certification.

Learn the highly transferable skills that the PRINCE2 and Agile methodologies include, and you’ll be much more able to move up the careers ladder, completing successful projects at a higher rate. 


6. The Open Group TOGAF® 9.1 Certification


1000s of companies worldwide have implemented TOGAF skills to improve their productivity and the UK leads this trend accounting for 16% of all TOGAF certified professionals. Continuing this trend, many businesses are now making a TOGAF certification a requirement for a wide variety of roles in IT. 

This trend of more businesses adopting Enterprise Architecture skills like those in TOGAF, means getting certified in 2016 will be a great move for almost anyone in IT. Gaining skills and knowledge in the Architecture Development Method (ADM), The Enterprise Continuum and the TOGAF Resource Base can help you get a better return from your IT operations, helping things run faster, cheaper and reducing risk.


7. Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect


Cloud technology made huge strides in 2015, becoming much more important to businesses and the momentum will continue throughout 2016 and beyond. In the coming year we’re likely to see an increase in the capacity and reliability of cloudops - analytics that will allow cloud performance to be monitored more closely and predict when it is likely to suffer.

Microsoft’s Azure is at the forefront of the cloud movement. If you haven’t migrated your existing on premise infrastructure to Azure (or another cloud offering), 2016 is a great time to get your business’s architecture prepared for the future.

Getting Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certified will teach you how to integrate into one of the world’s leading cloud platforms. You’ll have the skills to migrate your business’s architecture to the cloud, managing Azure Virtual machines and the hosting and storing of web applications and SQL data.

You’ll then be able to start reaping the benefits cloud technology brings like increased flexibility, simpler disaster recovery, better security, automatic software updates and capital-free expenditure.


8. (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) 



(ISC)2’s CCSP specialises in cloud security. The above-mentioned growing cloud market needs IT professionals to adopt vital skills including security, another industry currently in high demand.

The CCSP will teach you comprehensive knowledge of cloud security operations. It covers data protection, data recovery, access management, the software development lifecycle and every aspect of cloud infrastructure protection.


Image courtesy of FutUndBeidl/Flickr
2016 is a fantastic time to get cloud certified. As the technology continues to develop and expand, more professionals with cloud skills will be needed to deploy and maintain cloud architectures. It’s worth mentioning those who are slow to adapt their skills to the cloud now, will be left regretting it in the future when cloud technology becomes the norm.

9. VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6]


VMware’s vSphere v6 was released earlier this year and is now established in the market. It is the best way to learn how to introduce and manage a vSphere infrastructure into your business. Version 6 introduced new capacities, supporting up to 64 nodes and 8.000 VMs as well as 12 vCPUs and 4 TB vRAM. These now allow you to make more of the high availability, hardware flexibility, reduced power consumption and faster provisioning that VMware and vSphere can bring to your business and help make it more efficient.

All of this means that 2016 is an excellent time for you to introduce vSphere to your business with the skills the VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6] certification can give you. Or if you’re already implementing vSphere, learning to use vCenter Server, manage host storage, configure virtual networks, create a vApp and how to install vSphere components will be valuable in improving how you currently manage the technology.

10. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016


The launch of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 platform has been highly anticipated. Since early 2015 Microsoft has been drip-feeding snippets of information about their new offering and while the technology is still yet to be officially launched, Microsoft did recently announce the launch of the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification. Firebrand also had the fantastic opportunity to have a sneak-peek at Windows Server 2016 back in August which further built anticipation.


The exact curriculum still remains unannounced, but the course will teach you to implement and manage Windows Server 2016, as well as covering server security, storage and architecture management. It will be exciting to see what developments Microsoft has for their new Windows Server platform in 2016, as well as the MCSA that will accompany it. 

Many people are already eager to get skilled on the latest Microsoft technology and as the certification officially launches, it will be one of the hottest new certifications to hit the market in 2016.

 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, 7 December 2015

Which IT security certification should you choose in 2016?


Security is the hottest topic in IT at the moment. Numerous high-profile IT security breaches mean  businesses are upping their game to ensure they’re not the next company in the headlines. British Airways, TalkTalk, Uber, T-Mobile, Sony and Staples are just some of the companies that have had records breached since the beginning of 2015.

This means the demand for IT security skills has never been higher. For example, the government announced it’s doubling the cyber security budget to £1.9 billion over the next five years. This is to protect government assets and information, UK businesses and citizens. Also, ComputerWeekly.com state that 14% of all UK IT jobs are now cyber security related, with 42 universities now offering cyber security related degrees. Take advantage of this demand by improving your security skills through certifications, helping you to protect your business or move up the ladder of IT security roles.



Solid Foundations


If you’re not yet involved in IT security, now is a great time to start. A solid starting point to build your foundation knowledge is CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ certifications. To sit the courses, you only need 6-12 months of hand’s-on experience and familiarity of Windows operating systems. Achieving the A+ would help you get an IT Support Technician role with an average salary of £24,000. (*All average salaries from itjobswatch.co.uk).

The Network+ could get you a Network Support Technician with an average salary of £30,000. These CompTIA certifications give you skills in network architecture, operations, security and troubleshooting. These will give you strong foundations from which to grow your skills in future.

Image courtesy of Yuri Samoilov/flickr.com

After 2 years’ experience and further understanding of operating systems, you’ll be ready to take a more advanced certification. You can take CompTIA’s Security+. It’s a deeper look at IT security from CompTIA, teaching you skills in compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, access control and identity management and cryptography. This certification can help you achieve a role like Security Engineer with an average salary of £52,500.

An alternative to the Security+ that’ll teach you different skills, is Cisco’s CCNA Security. You’ll learn to apply security through the in-built features of Cisco’s Internetwork Operating System. Focused more towards the management side of IT security, you’ll learn how to develop security infrastructures, recognise threats and vulnerabilities to networks and mitigate security threats. However, the CCENT or CCNA Routing & Switching certification is required before you can attempt the CCNA Security.

Building your skills


When you’ve gained a year or more’s experience in the IT security industry, you’ll be looking to get skills that’ll help you stand out and push you up the career ladder. (ISC)2’s SSCP is a great certification to help you do that. It teaches you security skills in areas like access controls, malicious code, networks and telecommunications and security policy administration. Also, there are seven reputable domains created from (ISC)2’s SSCP CBK (common body of knowledge). With skills like these, you could get a role like Security Engineer with an average salary of £52,500. Achieving a certification like the SSCP will help separate you from other mid-level IT security professionals and help your transition into elite level IT security roles.

An alternative is ISACA’s Certified Cybersecurity Practitioner CSX, which is broken down into three levels. Level one teaches you how to identify weaknesses and protect your network. Level two covers detecting cyber-security incidents and attack analysis. And in the third level you’ll learn how to respond to and recover from cyber-attacks. These are broken down into five domains of Identification, Protection, Detection, Respond and Recover, contained within ISACA’s new security program, the Cybersecurity Nexus. This certification introduces you to the Cybersecurity field and can help you become a Cybersecurity Specialist with an average salary of  £59,000. If you wanted to focus on the technical side of IT security, the CSX Practitioner program would be a great place to start as it builds practical skills relevant to real world situations.

Specialising in security management


Generally speaking, management and technical are the two major directions of specialisation in which you can take your IT security career. A great certification to train your management skills is ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor. You need a minimum of five years’ experience in the information systems auditing, control or security. In the CISA, you’ll learn how to audit, manage, maintain and support information systems. The skills will help you protect the information assets of your company. This certification can help you become a IT Security Officer with an average salary of £55,000.

You can take your management skills further by taking ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager. The CISM requires a similar amount of experience to the CISA, but you are able to sacrifice experience for a degree or other certifications. You’ll learn to establish and manage a security governance framework and how to align it with your company’s goals and objectives. Your CISM certification can help you become an IT Audit Manager, with an average salary of £70,000.

Specialising in technical security


When you’ve established your career, if you’d like to take it down the more technical route there are several ways in which you can do this. Cisco’s CCNP Security helps you develop your network security skills to defend your systems. You’ll learn how to use Cisco Switches, Cisco ASA and the router security appliance feature. The CCNP Security will help you become a Network Security Engineer (average salary of £50,000). This is because on the CCNP Security you’ll learn to deploy perimeter security and VPNs, monitor and detect security events and manage network security to improve productivity.

GIAC’s Penetration Tester (GPEN) teaches you the skills to find and nullify security vulnerabilities. You’ll learn to protect your business and stop weaknesses from being exploited. You’ll develop skills in areas like exploitation fundamentals, vulnerability scanning, password attacks, reconnaissance, scanning for targets and the pen-testing process. The GPEN is one of the most recognised penetration testing certifications and can help you get a penetration testing role with an average salary of £60,000.

Image courtesy of hin255/freedigitalphotos.net
You can also specialise to become an Ethical Hacker. EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker is the best certification to help you do this. It contains 18 established domains that cover topics like malware threats, social engineering, session hijacking, hacking web servers and cloud computing. These skills will help you protect your business by identifying weaknesses that are susceptible to cyber-attacks and preventing them from being exploited by genuine security threats. The average salary for an Ethical Hacker is £75,000.




Mastering IT security


(ISC)2’s CISSP is often considered the gold standard certification for IT security professionals. It is comprehensive in its coverage of both the managerial and technical sides of IT security. You’re eligible for the CISSP after five years’ experience. The CISSP CBK (common body of knowledge) contains eight domains covering topics like security engineering, communication and network security, software development security and security testing. The CISSP can set you on your way to getting a Chief Information Security Officer job, with a salary in excess of £100,000.

An alternative to the CISSP, is the CCSP which will give you skills in cloud computing security. This contains topics like cloud data security, cloud application security and architectural concepts and design requirements. As more businesses move to cloud technology, it’s becoming a bigger target for hackers. This means data stored in the cloud needs a new approach by security teams to properly protect it. This certification will give you the skills to master the security within cloud systems.

If you’re in a top IT security role, you can add extensions to your CISSP. The CISSP-ISSMP will further develop your security management skills. It tackles legal issues, plus project and risk management within IT security. The CISSP-ISSAP is the technical equivalent and teaches you advanced skills in areas like access control systems, communications and network security  and security architecture analysis.


IT security has so many areas that you have the luxury of being able to pick and choose the direction you career can take within it using certifications. This allows you to protect your business in each area by improving your skills exactly how you want.

 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 December 2015

Office 365 Global Outage

There is currently a severity "A" global outage with Microsoft affecting Office 365; this includes access to the Service Health Dashboard so official information from Microsoft is sparse at this time.

“I confirm that Office 365 Portal is undergoing a global breakdown, and users are not able to log in. Our engineering team is working on it right now, as it is our top priority. “ - Microsoft Partner Cloud Regional Support Centre.

This will affect all Office 365 applications including the SharePoint Portal and online services to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The issue currently affecting services appears to be the inability to load login screens. 

Starting at approximately 09:00 on 3rd December, the outage is primarily affecting Microsoft's European region. Microsoft has linked the outage to issues affecting Azure Active Directory.

Are you affected?

Monday, 30 November 2015

Firebrand named in the Top 20 IT training companies in the world for the sixth time

 By Sarah Morgan



Firebrand has been named one of the Top 20 IT training companies in the world for the sixth year running by TrainingIndustry.com.

The Top 20 IT training companies 2015 list recognises companies over the past year, that have displayed excellence in the following areas:


  • Leadership and innovation in IT training
  • Breadth of IT training and delivery methods offered
  • Company size and growth potential
  • Quality and number of clients/users
  • Geographic reach
  • Awards, recognition, and competitive differentiation


The final category is a new addition from previous years and is particularly applicable to Firebrand’s accelerated learning format, which separates Firebrand from other training providers. This, combined with the outstanding quality of training, is why customers continually return to Firebrand.

Emma Seaman, Managing Director of Firebrand Training UK said:

Being named one of the Top 20 IT training companies in the world is an amazing achievement and shows Firebrand’s continued growth and commitment to high quality training. Achieving the award six years in a row is a terrific reward for everyone within the company who has worked so hard to provide great training for everyone who sits one of our courses.

This is now the seventh award in as many months for Firebrand, demonstrating how high standards are being achieved, maintained and recognised across so many areas of the business.

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. 

Cyber security red alert on Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday creates an ideal opportunity for malicious hackers to attack your business systems. As company servers are hammered by millions of genuine requests from eager buyers, the opportunity for a hacker to breach your system undetected increases. The consequences of which can be severe, considering the financial and public image implications a single breach can create. 

The current strain being exerted on IT infrastructure is strikingly similar to a common hacking technique. The tactic involves a single hacker targeting a network, followed by hundreds of hackers joining the attack to create a diversion. The noise created by the hundreds of additional hacker presents a smoke screen, enabling the initial hacker to breach the system. 

Attacks like these can collapse your infrastructure, forcing websites and whole servers offline. They are becoming all too common as cyber criminal look to cash in on the details stolen. 


Protecting your assets on Cyber Monday 


Today, on Cyber Monday, you should remain vigilant, especially if you're an online retailer. Loyal customers are currently creating the diversionary tactic which could allow a hacker to breach your system. If your attention is being distracted by sales, you should start focusing on security. 

A single breach could expose your data to criminals, or take your website offline for hours. Not only will you miss out on the valuable revenue created by these marketing ploys, the financial ramifications of a breach could collapse your business. Take TalkTalk for example, November’s breach of the telecoms giant is estimated to cost the organisation in the region of £30-35 million. 

Take the following steps to protect your assets on this busy day: 
  • Ensure you follow routine daily security checks – do not let your IT team be distracted by sales
  • Segment systems on separate protected networks – this tactic ensures that if one system or network is breached, an attacker won’t then have free roam to take down multiple systems simultaneously 
  • Increase monitoring of endpoint devices – pay regular and close attention to public facing systems to ensure any suspicious activity doesn’t go undetected. Now is the time to be paranoid, it’s the ideal time for an attack 

Future planning 


Whilst Cyber Monday is high risk, it’s important to prepare for the long term. A cyber-attack can happen at any time, it’s vital you and your team have the security skills implement a long term strategy. 

Investing in training employees is critical. Certification courses like the Certified Ethical Hacker and CISSP will develop the technical and strategic skills required to protect your company assets. You can learn to attack your own systems to identify weaknesses or devise a comprehensive and water tight security system. Stay vigilant.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Firebrand awarded Gold Accredited Learning Provider status by Learning & Performance Institute


 By Sarah Morgan

We are delighted to announce that Firebrand has been awarded the status of Gold Accredited Learning Provider by the Learning & Performance Institute. This is the 11th year running that Firebrand has achieved the Gold level accreditation.

Accreditation from the Learning & Performance Institute is seen as the leading standard to recognise outstanding organisations within the training and learning industry. Firebrand were awarded this accreditation for continued commitment to high quality and process improvement in the provision of learning, development and training services to clients.

The assessment criteria for accreditation measures an organisation’s performance in the areas of:

Business integrity
Learning and development performance
Learning and development staff
Pre-learning activities and outputs
The blend of learning
Post intervention and ongoing learning support

Achieving the gold standard overall, recognises Firebrand at the elite level across the board in these areas. With this, Firebrand remains in an exclusive list of just 89 providers accredited by the Learning & Performance Institute.

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

“The LPI accreditation is particularly rewarding for Firebrand because it is vendor neutral and because of the continuous improvement LPI demands of accreditation candidates. It is another fantastic reward and achievement for all the hard work maintaining the highest standard of training that Firebrand’s delegates deserve. We’re extremely proud of everyone for keeping up the fantastic work.”

This is the third achievement in as many months for Firebrand, having won the Accredited Training Centre of the Year award at the EC-Council global awards and Firebrand Training Nordics was named Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year

This award endorses the high standard in which Firebrand’s vast portfolio of 200+ accelerated courses are delivered. This includes courses from Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and Linux, as well as security courses from (ISC)2 and EC-Council and project management courses from APMG and PMI.




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, 6 November 2015

Firebrand Training Nordics named Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year 2015

We are delighted to announce the Nordic division of Firebrand Training has been named Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year for the fifth time.
award2

Criteria for the award includes customer satisfaction, growth and skills development. This award is testament to the continued commitment and success of Firebrand Training Nordics and reflects a company ethos for advancement through education. 

Firebrand continues to provide new and innovative products including the Firebrand Academy and our expanded Microsoft cloud portfolio that includes Office365 and Azure.

Frank Højgaard, CEO of Firebrand Training Nordics, said of the award:

"I'm very proud and happy to receive the award on behalf of our great team at Firebrand Training. I am very proud of our employees who have provided the best and most innovative training and certification products on the market. We are also very happy to receive recognition of the Firebrand Academy, which we launched last year and has already made a real difference by adding new and skilled employees needed in the IT industry."

AWARD1
Firebrand Training Nordics CEO, Frank Højgaard (left) with
our Global Head of Sales, Jacob Davidsen (right)
Through the Firebrand Academy, we have created a solution to recruit and qualify young academics for IT careers using our unique accelerated learning concept. Since the launch of Firebrand Academy in the Nordics a year ago, we have made a difference to a wide range of partners such as EG:

Tina Bodin - EG A / S says: 

"When we combine teams of young people with our skilled senior consultants, we see new knowledge arise. Together, the two profiles create something unique and therefore sees senior consultants gain an advantage by working with the young graduates on projects. In order to create profitable growth and deliver excellence to our customers, we as a company need both profiles. "


Discover our 200+ accelerated courses and certifications or find out more about Firebrand Academy via the website.  

Author Profile


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 5 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.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

The 5 hottest IT jobs and how to get them with Free Training For Life

 By Sarah Morgan

Firebrand’s Free Training For Life competition offers you the chance to win accelerated training completely free, for the rest of your life. There are no restrictions. This means you can choose from Firebrand’s portfolio of 200+ accelerated courses, which includes names like Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and (ISC)2.

Winning Free Training For Life has the potential to help you get your dream job, so we’ve mapped out the five hottest jobs right now and selected the certifications you need to secure them.


1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)


Security is one of the hottest topics out there at the moment, partly due to the staggering amount of high-profile cyber-attacks that have cost names like, EBay, Sony and most recently TalkTalk, millions. Chief Information Security Officer is one of the top jobs in the field. The average advertised salary is £110,000 according to itjobswatch.co.uk and they are now in high demand. CISOs are responsible for developing and implementing security policies and the company’s security architecture.

To get on the path to becoming a Chief Information Security Officer, you could start with the CompTIA A+ or Network+. The A+ and Network+ will teach you the fundamentals in PC hardware, security and networking that will be highly useful in the future.

(ISC)2’s SSCP is also a great value certification that you can do after a year’s IT security experience. This will begin to teach you advanced skills like cryptography, risk, response and recovery, and dealing with malicious code. This will put you in a great position to become a CISO in the future.

3-5 years into your career, ISACA’s CISA would be perfect to give you IS audit and control skills to ensure the business’s security procedures can protect its information assets. You could follow up with the CISM to get skills like risk and incident management and program development. This will help you move into information security management, and eventually the CISO role.

Many see (ISC)2’s CISSP as the best IT security certification you can aim for, and it will certainly help you get into a CISO role. The CISSP will help you master both the management and technical aspects of the field, giving you security engineering, communication and network security skills. There are also extensions to the CISSP that offer in-depth skills if you have a specific need for them. The CISSP-ISSAP includes further detail in areas like access control systems and security architecture analysis. Also, the CISSP-ISSEP can teach you further skills in technical management and risk management. These can help you master your CISO role.





2. Cloud Infrastructure Architect


The cloud technology market is growing rapidly. Because of this, demand for IT professionals with cloud skills has never been higher. Cloud Infrastructure Architect is one of the most sought after positions. The role involves migrating and integrating applications to the cloud, and managing cloud servers. The average advertised salary according to itjobswatch.co.uk is £70,000.

Typically, a business will use one established cloud provider which could restrict the training you’ll need. The restriction-less Free Training For Life however, would give you access to the wide range of cloud certifications, like the following, that teach you the skills to become a Cloud Infrastructure Architect.

The Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification would give you the skills to migrate existing on-premises infrastructure to Azure. You’d also learn to manage the systems in the future.

The Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 certification will give you the skills to manage and deploy Windows Server 2012 and components like active directory domain services and AD FS. It also offers cloud skills that will help you become a Cloud Infrastructure Architect. This is because the system includes cloud technology and is so widely used.

The Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud will teach you how to build your Microsoft private cloud, very useful in a Cloud Infrastructure Architect role. It covers skills like deploying private cloud services, problem management, optimising a cloud infrastructure and configuring a self-service and multi-tenant private cloud.

Another option is VMware’s vSphere [V6] certification which includes elements of cloud technology. This will teach you skills in virtual machine management, configuring and managing virtual storage and networks, and installing and maintaining vSphere.


3. Certified Ethical Hacker


Certified Ethical Hackers are those who are able to counteract and prevent the threat that malicious hackers pose to businesses. The increasing danger that these malicious hackers are posing, is making the demand for Certified Ethical Hackers soar. According to itjobswatch.co.uk the average advertised salary for an ethical hacker is £55,000.

To begin on the path to a Certified Ethical Hacker role, you need systems and networking foundations. The Microsoft MTA Networking, Security & Windows Server Administration, CompTIA A+ or Network+ would all be great certifications to get those skills. The MTA does not cover the same hardware topics as the A+ or Network+, but does offer more content about server administration and will lean towards Microsoft technology.

Following on, the Security+ can give you more detailed security skills, covering topics like compliance and operational security, access control and identity management, and cryptography. Similarly, Cisco’s CCNA will boost your skills in the networking area. This will teach you skills in areas like LAN switching technologies, IP addressing and routing technologies, and network device security.

After two years’ IT experience, you should be ready to sit your Certified Ethical Hacker course. This will give you the knowledge to fill an ethical hacking role. You’ll learn advanced skills in areas like Trojans and backdoors, viruses and worms, session hijacking and SQL interjection. These are necessary and vital skills in the arsenal of an ethical hacker, so you can comprehensively check the security of a business and cover gaps that could be maliciously exploited.

The Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator is a further certification that can boost your skills in the forensics process, improving your skills in responding to an attack. This could really make you stand out in the ethical hacking field.


4. Web Developer


Every modern business needs a website, meaning web developers with skills to create and maintain them, are in high demand. According to itjobswatch.co.uk, the average salary for a Web Developer is £37,500.

To give yourself the fundamental web development skills, an MTA in Software Development Fundamentals or HTML5 App Development Fundamentals would be suitable. You’ll learn core programming and general software development skills that’ll be useful in any web development role.

To get the high level skills you need to become a web developer, you could sit the Microsoft MCSD: Web Applications. This will teach you how to create and deploy modern web applications, whilst giving you an introduction to coding languages like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. It also teaches you basic programming skills like program logic, developing user interfaces and storing data.



5. Project Manager


Free Training For Life has the potential to take your career into project management. The skills in this field are versatile and useful in many areas of business. According to itjobswatch.co.uk, Project Managers have an average salary of £52,500.

You should begin with the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner. It provides a framework for managing projects that is the most popular of its kind in UK. It teaches you how to structure and manage your projects, including planning and organisation techniques. It also covers potential changes and risks to your projects.

Once you meet the prerequisites, you can progress onto PMI’s PMP. This covers more detailed planning and tight regulation of your projects, helping you improve the success rate of your projects. You’ll learn to regulate budgets, communications, quality management and more.

Learning to apply the agile methodology will also help you become a more successful project manager. The PRINCE2 Agile will teach you to combine PRINCE2 and agile in your projects. You’ll learn agile fundamentals and how to tailor the management process around those fundamentals. This will help you react more effectively to unpredictable changes. 



Free Training For Life has no restrictions, meaning you can take your career in any direction you choose. For the rest of your life, stay at the cutting edge in your career by gaining high-quality skills and certifications that can open doors to places you’ve never considered.

You can sit courses from vendors such as (ISC)2, APMG, AXELOS, CISCO, CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Linux, Microsoft, The Open Group and many more. Free Training For Life lets you dream big and accelerate your career with any course you choose. 

You can enter Free Training For Life here and see Firebrand’s full portfolio of accelerated courses 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. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Firebrand wins two EC-Council Global Awards 2015

 By Sarah Morgan

We are delighted to announce that Firebrand Training has won two honours at the EC-Council Global Awards 2015. Firebrand has been named EC-Council Accredited Training Centre of the Year. This extends a record-breaking run of successive awards to seven years. This is an achievement matched by no other training centre, bolstering Firebrand’s reputation as the elite EC-Council training centre.

Firebrand instructor, Richard Millett, has also been named in the Instructor Circle of Excellence for the second time. This is the third EC-Council award he’s won, after being named Instructor of the Year in 2014 and in the Instructor Circle of Excellence in 2011.




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

“We’re thrilled to hear of both Firebrand’s and Richard’s achievements at the EC-Council Global Awards 2015. We’re extremely proud of everyone’s hard work at the training centre to make it the very best in Europe. We’re especially proud of Richard’s commitment to his students and to improving their knowledge and skills on his EC-Council courses.”

Jay Bavisi, President of EC-Council, gave his opinion on the awards:

“We have some of the best training organisations representing EC-Council across the globe and they have again demonstrated the commitment to high quality training, winning them awards again this year”


How the awards were won


Firebrand picked up both the Accredited Training Centre of the Year (Europe) award and Instructor Circle of Excellence (Europe) award after being chosen from over 700 training centres, 107 countries and a huge group of EC-Council certified instructors, worldwide. EC-Council give their partners an extensive and rigorous set of criteria. After meeting these, Firebrand and Richard Millett were selected as the best in Europe in the two categories.

The Accredited Training Centre of the Year award recognises the training centres that provide the highest level of information security training. Courses include EC-Council’s flagship Certified Ethical Hacker, the Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator, the Network Security Administrator and the ECSA

The Instructor of the Year award highlights the instructors who’re best at giving their students a greater level of understanding and ability, enhancing their skills the most.
Here's what President of EC-Council, Jay Bavisi had to say about Firebrand Training when we caught up with him at EC-Council’s Hacker Halted event:  




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, 16 October 2015

Top 5 FAQs about CEH v 9

 By Sarah Morgan

EC-Council recently launched version 9 of their flagship Certified Ethical Hacker certification. This course contains the latest content in the field of ethical hacking and IT security. It will continue to develop the skills of IT professionals to protect businesses, reacting to and preventing cyber-attacks. But what’s different? What do you need to know about it? Here are the top 5 FAQs to explain all you need to know about CEH v9.

Q: How has the CEH v9 curriculum changed?

A: Largely, the structure of the course has remained the same. There are now 18 modules rather than 20. The two modules “Trojans and Backdoors”, and “Viruses and Worms” have been condensed into one module known as “Malware Threats”. Also, the modules “Buffer Overflows” and “Penetration Testing” have been removed. However, the majority of the content has been relocated to other areas of the course including the “System Hacking” and “Hacking Mobile Devices” modules.

There has also been changes to some of the content itself. Most notably, the inclusion of a Cloud Computing module. It applies general areas of security like service hijacking and penetration testing and covers cloud specific security and tools like CloudPassage Halo. This is a great addition as it reflects the current trend, with cloud technology now crucial to many businesses.

Q: Can I apply CEH v9 content to my business and my role? 

A: The skills you’ll learn will be the very latest available. The principle of the CEH course is to improve your skills and abilities in a practical environment and will prove its value most, in real-world situations in your workplace. However, it’s almost impossible to stay in front of hackers or predict what they’ll do next. But, you’ll have the most current skills in the industry, which’ll be invaluable when facing new types of cyber-attacks. 

If you’re not yet an ethical hacker, but looking to make the step forward in your career, having these up-to-date skills, and the certification to demonstrate it, will put you in the best possible position to boost your career.


Image courtesy of EC-Council


Q: Isn’t this knowledge harmful? Why make it so readily available?

A: EC-Council ensure that social responsibilities are fulfilled before they allow someone onto any CEH course. All candidates must have a minimum of two years IT security related experience before they can sit a CEH course. Plus, all candidates are required to sign an ethics agreement, which states they will respect the knowledge they learn and not misuse it in any way. Every CEH candidate must also agree that they will only use what they have learned for lawful actions. These processes and requirements make the course and the knowledge within, as safe as possible.

Q: I have CEH v 8, do I need to update it for it to be relevant? 

A: CEH v 8 is currently still available for you to sit but this won’t be the case for too much longer. If you already have version 8 or even version 7, your skills and knowledge will still be relevant and your experience is of course vital in helping you stay current.

In such an ever-changing industry though, it doesn’t take long for your skills to become out-dated. CEH v 9, with its additions of new attack vectors and addressing new vulnerabilities will be perfect when you want to update your skills. I would recommend getting your skills updated as and when you can, to ensure your skills don’t become out-dated. 

Q: Am I the right candidate to sit CEH v 9?

A: CEH v 9 has prerequisites much like previous versions. To meet these prerequisites you must have at least two years IT experience with a strong working knowledge of TCP/IP, Windows Server (NT, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012) and a basic familiarity with Linux and/or Unix. 

If you’re looking to become an ethical hacker, it’s a great job choice for the future and the new CEH will stand you in good stead. Businesses of all sizes, are realising the value ethical hackers bring to a business. This is leading to the current trend of businesses recruiting more and more ethical hackers. CEH v 9 is the most current edition of the popular certification, covering more attack vectors than ever and updated for the most modern technologies. If you want the latest in ethical hacking knowledge and skills, CEH v 9 will provide exactly that.

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, 29 September 2015

Why now is the time to become a Certified Ethical Hacker

 By Sarah Morgan

Cyber criminals are using increasingly more advanced technologies to breach the security of high-profile businesses. The list of companies and institutions hacked now include Ebay, Sony, Target, AOL, the NHS and even the US Military. Even after such massive security scandals, some dating back almost 10 years, companies are only now realising how crucial IT security is to their success. 

Because of this, now more than ever, businesses want professionals who can demonstrate skills in ethical hacking. Read on to discover the reasons why there has never been a better time to become a Certified Ethical Hacker.

Large scale investment


According to Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, 1 in 5 businesses have been the subject of a cyber-attack. This means it’s a matter of when, not if, more high-profile security breaches will happen. As a result companies are recruiting and training Certified Ethical Hackers to make sure it isn’t them. Because of this, demand for Certified Ethical Hackers continues to climb, almost indefinitely.

In addition, BT has recently launched an ethical hacking service for customers in financial services. This service is designed to help organisations in retail and investment banking to protect their business from security breaches and cyber-attacks. If other big businesses follow suit and begin to offer full-scale services like BT’s, the demand for Certified Ethical Hackers will increase significantly. 

With 1000s of jobs currently advertised, and the future growth potential, this is just one of the reasons why there has never been a better time for you to attain EC-Council' Certified Ethical Hacking credential.


Investment from small and medium businesses


It's not just global organisations investing in ethical hacking to ensure their names aren’t headline news for the wrong reasons. Small and medium businesses are increasingly realising the need to increase investment in IT security to future proof their business.

In recent interview with the BBC, Steven Harrison, Lead Technologist at IT services firm Exponential-e, states there can often be a knowledge gap between small business and industry giants. To bridge this gap, small businesses are increasingly investing in developing the skills of ethical hackers to tighten up their security. The goal is to prepare themselves as they expand into the cloud, social media and other advancing technologies. 

If you work for a small or medium business, now is a fantastic time to encourage your boss to invest in training you as a Certified Ethical Hacker.


Removing the stigma


When the title of “ethical hacker” was first mentioned, some businesses were cautious of employing those with the skills to hack their systems. For obvious reasons, businesses were reluctant to hand over the keys to their company’s security. They were fearful of disgruntled employees who knew every detail of their security systems and how to access their most sensitive data.

However, ethical hackers have proven time and again their value by protecting businesses from cyber-attacks that have devastating potential. Companies are also more aware of the rigorous background checks for criminal records and codes of conducts that all ethical hackers must pass and sign.

This is good news, as the types of attacks that are threatening businesses are becoming increasingly more common and complex. The best way to counter this threat is to employ a Certified Ethical Hacker to discover and patch weaknesses in security. 

The realisation of the worth of ethical hackers means more businesses are looking to employ and train Certified Ethical Hackers for protection. They are much more willing to open their doors to you.


Image courtesy of chanipipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net




EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v.9.0


EC-Council recently released the new and updated version of the Certified Ethical Hacker certification. Because the CEH certification is the pinnacle in the field of ethical hacking, when the course is updated, it provides the latest knowledge and skills available. Version 9 is no different and has added new vulnerabilities and attack vectors. 

Now is the perfect time to bring your skills up to date and set yourself apart from other professionals.


Boost your security skills


The demand for Certified Ethical Hackers is only set to increase in businesses of all sizes. As technology continues to advance, so will the threats to the businesses using it. These businesses will need to protect themselves, one of the best ways to do that is through Certified Ethical Hackers.

So, insummery here is why there has never been a better time for you to become a Certified Ethical Hacker:

1. Big business are investing heavily in recruitment and training of Certified Ethical Hackers. The emergence of ethical hacking as a service ins only going to create yet more jobs.

2. Small and medium businesses are investing more in developing ethical hacking hacking skills, meaning you have more chance of improving your knowledge and skills.

3. Reduced stigma and a greater appreciation of the value of ethical hackers means more and more companies are opening their doors to Certified Ethical Hackers.

4. The release of CEH v9 means you can bring your skills up to date and be at the forefront of ethical hacking.


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.