Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Meet the young entrepreneurs whose digital businesses just got royal backing

By Sarah Morgan

Yesterday Britain’s young entrepreneurs showcased their digital skills at the iDEA final, hosted by HRH The Duke of York, KG, where they pitched their businesses to a prestigious audience.

With the chance to win up to £15,000 and support from Microsoft, Barclays and Facebook for their digital businesses, the stakes were high.

The prestigious event was hosted by the Duke of York

To reach this final stage, teams of 14-25 year olds proved they had what it takes to become the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow. To do this, they had to demonstrate their skill by taking a business idea from concept to prototype.

Ten talented young teams reached the final, hosted on Monday at St James’ palace. Each team made their pitch, and the winners were announced – congratulations to the young entrepreneurs behind Candle Path, Learner Lane and YOMA Education!

Meet the entrepreneurs of tomorrow

The award ceremony was introduced with an original video from George the Poet, created especially for iDEA.

After pitching their businesses, alongside working prototypes, the winning teams of young entrepreneurs were chosen by a panel of high profile judges, including: Ian Livingstone MBE, Eileen Burbideg of Passion Capital and Annika Small of Nominet Trust.

When describing the winners, The Duke said: “This is the pinnacle of what we’re trying to achieve with iDEA: it is the use of the digital world in order to provide solutions. All of these young people have solved some unique and specialist challenges. I believe they can be standard bearers for all the ideas that are out there”

Ian Livingstone, chairman of the judging panel and founder of Games Workshop, announced the three winners:
  • Candle Path is a mobile application designed to use open data and advanced algorithms to get you from A-B using the safest routes – ideal after a night out / leaving work late. The app will be receiving a re-brand and will launch under the name Luna 
  • The young entrepreneurs behind Learner Lane help students excel by simplifying the process of one-on-one tutoring. Users can search by postcode and book a vetted academic tutor in minutes.
  • Four talented young entrepreneurs created YOMA Education - an app that aims to enrich the communication and learning of children with autism. With user friendly AI and easy-to-use functionality, YOMA hopes to improve the quality of learning for autistic students.

Getting you home safely - Candle Path

Candle Path, Learner Lane and Yoma Education will now each receive £15,000 to develop their ideas, as well as professional mentoring and support from Microsoft Ventures, Barclays and Facebook.

The young team behind YOMA Education

A win for Learner Lane

What is iDEA?

Launched in March 2014 by the Duke of York and Nominet Trust, iDEA supports young people by helping them build skills in digital and enterprise arenas. The competition is open to 14-25 year olds and applicants work in teams of 2 – 4.  This year’s competition saw participation from over 700 young people.

Sign up for next year

If you have a passion for digital technology, and want to see your idea become a reality – sign up now and you’ll be notified once the competition opens again in September 2015.

Register your interest for the for the iDEA 2015/2016 competition

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, 13 April 2015

Crack the new CISSP CBK with these CISSP training resources

By Sarah Morgan

Your CISSP exam and curriculum is changing. With the release of a brand new exam blueprint and updated CISSP domains imminent, the material you're revising now will soon be out of date.

The switch will be made on April 16th 2015, when the ten CISSP CBK domains will be reduced to eight.

As a result of this refresh, the CISSP exam will be altered to reflect the new CBK changes (but will remain the same format). Any training or revision material you use must also be updated, or you’ll risk revising irrelevant content!

Don’t get caught out by the 2015 domain refresh. Take a look at these up-to-date revision resources, aligned to the 8 brand new CISSP domains.

1. Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, Fourth Edition (ISC2 Press) Hardcover – 10 Apr 2015 
ISBN-13: 978-1482262759

Released last week, you don’t get any more up-to-date than (ISC)2’s Official Guide to the CISSP CBK.

This official guide, endorsed by (ISC)2 and edited by Adam Gordon, covers the refreshed technical content added to the CISSP CBK. The book provides a comprehensive guide to the eight CISSP domains and includes illustrated examples, practical exercises and real-life scenarios.

How to buy it:

And remember, if you’re an (ISC)2 member, you’ll get 50% off Official (ISC)2 textbooks!

2. The NEW 2015 CISSP Exam. Brace Yourself (and prepare yourself)! Webcast with Dave miller

Dave Miller has been an IT security specialist since 1980, is a published author and lecturer. So it’s no surprise he’s been following the new CISSP CBK with interest.

His comprehensive webcast, originally hosted March 17th 2015, is now available for free online at Oreily.com. The 93 minute webcast covers an abundance of CISSP topics including:

  • A review of the 2012 CISSP certification exam
  • The new CISSP 2015 examination
  • CISSP certification requirements
  • New test-worthy topics
  • How to prepare for the new CBK and CISSP exam
  • Conclusion: Q&A

To watch the webcast, sign up here.

3. (ISC)2 Overview & Key areas of knowledge in the 8 new CISSP domains

(ISC)2 has released a candidate information bulletin in line with the new CISSP exam blueprint. This massive document includes overviews of each of the 8 brand new CISSP domains alongside the key areas of knowledge you’ll need to understand to pass your exam.

This resource is excellent for any professional who needs a quick refresher on what’s contained in the new CISSP domains.

However, don’t treat the information found here as replacements for experience or knowledge - (ISC)2 state that, “[The candidate information bulletins] were developed to provide candidates with basic information…the outlines are not intended to be in-depth reviews of the examination.”

Access the document here.

4. (ISC)2 sample exam questions

Also included in the (ISC)2 CISSP candidate bulletin are sample questions, aligned to the new exam blueprint. We’ve included them below:

1. Which one of the following is the MOST important security consideration when selecting a new computer facility?

a. Local law enforcement response times
b. Adjacent to competitors’ facilities
c. Aircraft flight paths
d. Utility infrastructure

2. Which one of the following describes a SYN flood attack?

a. Rapid transmission of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) messages
b. Creating a high number of half-open connections
c. Disabling the Domain Name Service (DNS) server
d. Excessive list linking of users and files

3. Which one of the following is a limitation of fuzzing, as it relates to secure software development best practice?

a. Access to the source code is required
b. Not all discovered issues are exploitable
c. Issues must be accessible through an open interface
d. Is not suitable where code development is outsourced

Find the answers on Page 33 of the CISSP candidate bulletin.

Got a burning CISSP question?

If you’ve got more questions, take a look at our CISSP FAQ covering the new exam blueprint.

And if you need to get certified with accelerated CISSP training, good news – Firebrand are the only authorised (ISC)2 partner in the UK and will be teaching the latest 2015 CISSP material from the 20th April 2015.

Related articles:

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, 10 April 2015

Why Microsoft and The Government support IT apprenticeships

By Sarah Morgan

National Apprenticeship Week has been and gone, but many businesses still don’t realise that you can access £10,000s of training for your staff or that you can use apprenticeships to bring new talent and skills into your organisation.

Find out about the benefits of IT apprenticeships from employers and apprentices, and hear from Microsoft, The Government and BCS. That was the agenda of Firebrand’s NAW2015 event, but if you couldn’t make it - here are the highlights.

What’s in it for employers?

Government Apprenticeships Ambassador, Andrew Jones MP kicked off the event with some startling statistics. A record 2 million people from across the UK have become apprentices over the past five years but only 15% of companies have offered apprenticeships.

Andrew Jones MP takes the stage at our event

That is in some ways a bad figure, and in some ways a good figure. If we have made huge progress but only 15% of companies have been engaged - we have an enormous opportunity…we still therefore have to get the message across – ‘Why companies should engage.’” Andrews Jones MP

Andrew Jones is clear; we are succeeding in attracting young people to apprenticeships, but with only 15% of organisations engaged, there is a massive opportunity to get more business on-board.

Here’s why employers should get involved:
  • 88% of businesses report increased employee satisfaction
  • 5 million consumers more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer
  • 80% of companies who have taken on an apprentice report a lower staff turnover
  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Employers benefit by £6000 after the first year of the apprenticeship program
  • 75% of business report gaining highly committed new staff (Microsoft)

And that’s without considering IT apprenticeship funding worth up to £27,000.

What is Microsoft doing for apprenticeships?

Microsoft’s 30,000 partners have faced challenges in hiring new staff, especially without paying £10,000’s in recruitment fees, states Dominic Gill, Microsoft Apprenticeship Lead. ‘Existing routes weren’t working,’ and businesses need to look for alternative options to bring in new talent.

There has been a significant decline in computer science graduates since 2006 – the UK suffering most with a 63% reduction in graduates. Dominic Gill knows apprenticeships are integral in solving the skills shortage, and Microsoft’s Get On initiative is evidence of their commitment.

The success of Microsoft Apprenticeships is astonishing with over 7000 young people starting their careers with apprenticeships since 2010.

And that’s not all. As Dominic concludes – “[Microsoft] are actually looking to start 3,500 new apprenticeships this year.”

Hear from the employers & apprentices themselves

Attendees got the opportunity to learn about IT apprenticeships from the apprentices and employers themselves. Microsoft Apprenticeships Lead Dominic Gill chaired a panel discussion with guests including:

  • Brett Raynes – founder of Cloud Direct and Firebrand apprentice employer
  • Simon Wade – HR manager at 5G communications and Firebrand apprentice employer
  • Richard Smith – apprentice at 5G communications and Firebrand apprentice
  • Kimberley Bolton – Pythagoras Communication and First female Apprentice of the Year Winner, Microsoft Apprentice Ambassador and Firebrand Apprentice

Dom Gill: What made you first start recruiting an apprentice rather than a graduate?

Brett Raynes: I think fundamentally we realised that success was not about whether you had a degree or not it was all about talent and attitude - the usual stuff that would make a success of any recruit you would bring into the company.

Dom Gill: What role did the training provider initially play in the decision process?

Brett Raynes – Firebrand were the inspiration to do it; they helped with the selection…and support for the apprentices when they joined the company…they were absolutely critical to the whole process.

Simon Wade – [Our Technical Manager] was at Firebrand on a training course and he saw all these people scribbling away in a room doing lots and lots of work…and this was about half past six/ seven o clock at night…and he said to someone, ‘who are they?’ and they said, ‘they’re apprentices.’ He came back to work and he said, ‘We’re getting some apprentices.’

Dom Gill: [Towards the apprentices] What do you do day-to-day?

Richard Smith: Myself and the other apprentice sit down and build the solutions for the field engineers…then once we’ve built the solution, the kits brought in and we then program-up the kit for the customers’ requirements...we test in house and we then ship it out to the customer…that’s what we do on a daily basis.

Dom Gill: What would you say would be the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

Kimberley Bolton: Being an Apprenticeships Ambassador with Microsoft…my main thing is trying to get more women into IT…so a chance to be here and be able to speak out and say it can be done, that to me is my best project.

Kimberley Bolton talks IT apprenticeshipsduring the panel discussion

Dom Gill: Any thoughts on how we could attract more women in IT?

Kimberley Bolton: Personally I think it’s about publicity…I don’t think the problem is with the companies, because when I’m at these events and I talk to the companies they want females - It’s not about them worrying that ‘[Women] aren’t going to be as good.’

Meet the apprentices themselves, including Firebrand Apprentice Kimberley Bolton, in the video below:

Keep a look out for the next event!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ and don’t miss the next employer-focused apprenticeships event!

Employer? Apprentice? Find out more about Firebrand’s IT apprenticeships now.

Related articles:

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, 2 April 2015

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 training now available from Firebrand

By Sarah Morgan

Update your knowledge with the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and master new features like targeted marketing campaigns, voice control and a dashboard to monitor social media.

Firebrand has built four new accelerated courses, aligned to the recently released Microsoft Dynamics 2015:

This is your fastest way to learn and master Microsoft Dynamics 2015. Firebrand is a Microsoft Learning Partner - you’ll study Microsoft Official Curriculum and sit your exams onsite on these accelerated courses.

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 was released December 1st 2014 in 130 markets and 44 languages. Get trained and you’ll get to grips with these new features:

  • 'Sales Collaboration Panel'
  • Social Listening 
  • Voice Control
  • Better sales campaigns

Social Listening

Use your social media dashboard to scan and look for words, phrases, and group discussions. You can even use Dynamics 2015 to listen for positive, negative or neutral words and phrases.

Dynamics CRM 2015 also provides an enhanced overview map showing your social media streams by country – an especially useful feature for any organisation operating across multiple markets, countries or regions.

To find out more about the advanced Social Listening features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 – take a look at Firebrand’s accelerated Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 course.

Voice control in CRM

Microsoft has integrated Cortana, their virtual voice-controlled assistant, in Dynamics CRM 2015.

As a result, you’ll now be able to schedule meetings and search contacts, accounts and activities with voice activated instructions. Cortana will also fix customer lists and create new customers. Plus, manage it all from your smartphone or tablet.

Better integration

Dynamics CRM 2015 extends Outlook integration, allowing you to you synchronize tasks and other data faster.

Lync integration is also included with an improved the 'click to call' feature and the ability to hold webinars.

Microsoft has also released a video describing the miscellaneous new features they’ve added to Dynamics:

180+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, (ISC)2 and CompTIA.

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.

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.