Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Yammer is down! How will you procrastinate now?


By Sarah Morgan


Microsoft’s integral project management software, and lunchtime procrastination tool, Yammer, is currently down.

According to status.yammer.com – “The investigation determined that a networking issue is causing the service to be unavailable. Currently, engineers are moving database infrastructure away from the affected network environment.”

You won’t currently be able to connect to Yammer. As well as stopping your important projects in their tracks, you’ll also have to find another outlet to impress your colleagues with semi-work appropriate witticisms.

Update #1: Yammer is back!




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. 

Cisco launch new CCNA Cloud and CCNP Cloud certifications


By Sarah Morgan


Today Cisco introduced two brand new cloud certifications to complement their already comprehensive certification portfolio.

The Cisco certification Pyramid
Available globally, the CCNA Cloud and CCNP Cloud are new job role certifications, designed to build and validate your cloud skill set.


Cisco CCNA Cloud – only six days

Companies are embracing cloud to help them to be more agile, flexible, and effective – with a CCNA cloud cert, you’ll get the skills you need to help these companies succeed with cloud technology.

On this accelerated course, you’ll learn how to perform entry-level provisioning and support for Cisco cloud solutions. You’ll also study:

  • Cloud characteristics and models
  • Cloud deployment
  • Cloud compute
  • End-user support
  • Infrastructure, administration and reporting

The CCNA Cloud certification will prepare you for the role of a cloud engineer or cloud administrator working in a small/medium business, or as support for a large enterprise.

Get this crucial cloud certification in just six days with Firebrand.


Cisco CCNP Cloudonly 12 days

Become a recognised expert with Cisco cloud technology and get the skills you need to build, implement, provision and support Cisco Cloud and Intercloud solutions. This certification is a progression of the Cisco CCNA Cloud.

On this accelerated course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Implement and troubleshoot Cisco Cloud Infrastructure
  • Automate Cisco Enterprise
  • Manage application centric infrastructure

Plus, this Cisco course includes all four CCNP exams, and is delivered exclusively by Certified Cisco Instructors. Get CCNP Cloud certified in only 12 days with Firebrand.


Firebrand are among the first to market these brand new Cisco cloud certifications. And with accelerated training, you'll be certified at twice the speed.

190+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 190 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.
(ISC)2

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. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Industry Interviews - Elizabeth Harrin, Director of Otobos Consultants Ltd

Today we begin a new series focusing on careers across the IT industry. Over the coming months we'll be interviewing prominent industry professionals from some of the most sought after job titles within the tech sector.

Gain invaluable insights to the career you desire as we reveal the paths professionals  have taken to secure their chosen career,  what an average day looks like and how training and certification can influence career progression. 

So without further delay i'd like to reveal our first professional, Elizabeth Harrin:

Elizabeth is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management. She runs a project management copywriting firm which helps small and medium-sized businesses talk about their projects and solutions. She’s the author of three books about project management: Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World, Customer-Centric Project Management and Social Media for Project Management.  She occasionally speaks at conferences and tries not to fall off the stage too often.


Profile


Name: Elizabeth Harrin
Job Title: Director
Current Employer: Otobos Consultants Ltd
Personal Blog: A Girls Guide to Project Management
Social Media: found on Twitter and Facebook
Awards: 
- Finalist at the 2015 Women in IT Awards
Computer Weekly - Best IT Professional Blogger of the Year, 2011  



Summarise your job in a sentence


I manage projects and I’m a copywriter writing about managing projects.


What does an average working day look like?


On non-commuting days I give my children breakfast and then when we are all ready for the day I walk into the garden where I have an office. I’m at my desk a bit before 9am. I work until lunchtime – a mixture of conference calls and virtual meetings, catching up on emails and project management. 

At lunchtime I’ll come in for lunch and normally we eat as a family. After lunch, I’ll go back out to work and go through the To Do list I’ve prepared for the day to check I’m on track to complete everything. There’s normally some emergency or last minute thing to sort out that I didn’t plan for – that’s the nature of project work.

Around 4pm I’ll wrap up and come in for the day. I’ll prepare dinner for the children and between then and 7pm it’s eating, family time, baths and bed. I’ll finish up any other work tasks when they are asleep but I don’t go back out to work; I’ll set my laptop up on the dining room table.


What do you enjoy most about your job?


The variety. I love being able to spend a morning working with colleagues from France and Spain and then the afternoon focusing on resolving issues. I love writing and my copywriting work which sits alongside project management, means I work with clients all over the world, and help them explain what they are doing. It’s satisfying to know that what I’m writing helps them solve problems for project managers.


What are the biggest challenges in your current role?


Time management! With two distinct roles, plus a young family, it’s hard to keep on top of everything. As a result, I spend less time on risk management and proactive strategic work than I would like.


What career path did you take to bring you to your current job title?


I chose to be a project manager, so that part of my job was a natural progression from Business Change Analyst many years ago to the role I have now. I’ve always written things down as well. I wrote stories as a child and then magazine articles, progressing as the world of copywriting changed to mainly preparing blog articles for project management websites as well as writing my own blog and a couple of books.


Do you have/did you require any professional certifications to secure your current job title? If yes, which?


No. I had written one book at the time of my interview and I think that helped me though. I was also PRINCE2 qualified but I’m not sure that had any particular bearing on my application.


What guidance would you give someone wanting to do your job?


You can get project management skills from any walk of life, including volunteering and managing a household, so don’t be put off by people saying you need deep subject matter expertise. And while it didn’t work this way for me, you can move into project management through other careers, so look for opportunities in your current role.

The advice I have for budding writers is to write. I have heard people say, “Oh, I’d love to write a book.” If you want something, do it. You don’t need anything to get started. Having said that, many people would like to write and really can’t. If you have something to say but lack the skills to get your  message across, either work hard to improve your writing or work with an editor who can polish it up for you.


What guidance would you give someone starting their career in Project Management?


It’s a great job. Take it seriously and remember who your customers are.


Has training and/or certification influenced your career? If yes, how?


I believe it’s a hygiene factor: certification doesn’t automatically mean you are a stellar project manager but it’s a useful grounding in project management practice and it ensures everyone on the team speaks the same language. No one has ever said to me that I didn’t get a job or couldn’t do a role because I didn’t have a certification. 

I support my team and colleagues to get certifications because it’s a way of ensuring the team shares a common background and because I strongly believe people should take responsibility for their own career progression. It’s a way of continuous professional development and that’s only a good thing.


What are your thoughts on the widely reported IT skills gap and its impact on business?


From my own experience it’s the business understanding piece that is lacking. For example, we can recruit developers but it’s hard to get someone who understands what happens when their code doesn’t work: the business impact can be significant. 

That’s the gap that I’m seeing, and the only answer is for organisations to get better at succession planning so that they can fill that gap with internal talent and create a pipeline for those hard-to-fill positions. 

It’s unacceptable to expect universities to turn out senior programmers with deep business knowledge: they can’t do it and they shouldn’t be expected to, although I know many courses have industry placements which must help.


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Brand new (ISC)2 CCSP and Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect courses from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


With IDC predicting 7 million cloud jobs created by 2015, mastering cloud technology can lead to a fulfilling and profitable career.

And to help you build – and prove – your knowledge of cloud computing, Firebrand has launched two brand new career changing accelerated cloud certification courses:



(ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) - only six days

On this six day accelerated course, you’ll get the knowledge you need to secure your organisation’s cloud infrastructure.

Your business may be using an outdated approach to cloud technology which could open the way for costly and embarrassing cyber-attacks. To prevent these malicious attacks, businesses around the world need CCSP certified professionals with advanced cloud security skills.

Achieve the CCSP and you’ll learn how to secure cloud environments & purchased cloud services. You’ll also study:

  • Cloud data, platform, infrastructure and application security
  • Architectural concepts & design requirements
  • Compliance and legality
  • Operations

This advanced certification, developed by leading information security organisations, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)2, proves your cloud security expertise at a global level – get it in only six days.



Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect - only seven days

Get four Microsoft certifications in only seven days on this accelerated Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect course.

You’ll learn how to migrate your existing on-premise infrastructure to Azure – Microsoft’s globally integrated cloud platform.

Plus, get the skills you need to design websites, application storage and infrastructure in Microsoft Azure.

On this course you’ll achieve a Microsoft MCSD and three Microsoft Specialist certifications, by studying and passing these Specialist courses:
  • Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
  • Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions


190+ courses and counting

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

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.


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. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to get your TOGAF 9.1 certification in five steps


By Sarah Morgan


Use TOGAF 9.1 in your organisation and develop an enterprise architecture (EA) that’s free to use, consistent and aligned to industry best practices.

However, to prove you know how to use this renowned EA effectively, and to get on track for a £70,000 salary (ITJobsWatch), you need to get certified.



Passing both TOGAF certification exams and achieving your certification is an investment, but it can be a daunting. This guide will show you how to get TOGAF certified, in five simple steps.


1. Two-step approach vs. combined approach

You’ve decided to get TOGAF certified, but what now? To get the certification, you’ll need to pass both TOGAF exams:
  • Level 1: TOGAF 9 Foundation
  • Level 2: TOGAF 9 Certified
Your first choice is between the two-step approach and the combined approach. Take the two-step approach and you’ll pass the two TOGAF exams individually - the Level 1 first, followed by Level 2 when you feel comfortable with your chances of passing it.

The combined approach allows you to get both exams out of the way in one sitting, it’s faster but you’ll need to retain more knowledge.


2. Study the TOGAF 9.1 Framework

Get started by reading the TOGAF 9.1 framework. You’re able to access, and download, the entire framework on The Open Group’s website. A number of licensing options are available, depending on how you propose to use the framework:

  • A free, perpetual Corporate License is available to any organization wanting to use TOGAF 9.1 entirely for internal purposes.
  • A free, perpetual Academic License is free to any academic organization wanting to use TOGAF 9.1 entirely for academic (teaching and/or research) purposes.
  • An annual Commercial License is available for organizations wishing to exploit TOGAF 9.1 commercially.


3. Get yourself a TOGAF 9.1 study guide

Study guides are a near essential tool for any student embarking on self-study. As you might imagine for a popular certification like TOGAF, there are several effective guides available in both electronic and physical formats.

Take a look at the TOGAF® 9 Certified Study Guide - 3rd Edition if you’re attempting either the two-step or combined approach. This comprehensive study guide covers both certification levels and supports you as you prepare for both exams. It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle, depending on your preference.

If you’re currently aiming to pass the Level 1 TOGAF certification exam, take a look at the TOGAF 9 Foundation Exam Study Guide. This foundation guide is concentrated and to-the-point, ideal for busy architects who need to learn TOGAF quickly. If you’re struggling with hundreds of pages of TOGAF documentation – this is for you. Get it on Amazon, in kindle and paperback.


4. Make the most of free TOGAF revision resources

Take a break from your study guide and TOGAF framework documentation to take a look at some external resources.

There are dozens of high quality TOGAF resources available online. And to save you from trawling the web to find the best, we’ve already compiled a list of our Top 10 TOGAF resources you don’t need to pay for, including:


Revision is much easier when you have a plethora of exam simulators, multiple choice practice exams, free presentations, TOGAF FAQ’s and instructional videos to support your knowledge.


5. Book your exam(s)

You’ve invested your precious time, and hard-earned cash, into revising TOGAF 9.1 - now it’s time to book your exams. However, before you do, make sure to test your knowledge against practice exam questions, here are our favourite:


To book your exam, simply navigate to Prometric’s website, register and find a local test centre.


I don’t have time to self-study!

Sometimes, even the most determined can’t fit self-study around their busy lives. For those who can’t invest the time, lack the motivation or simply need to get certified faster, there are other options.

For those who really need to get TOGAF 9.1 certified in the fastest possible time, take a look at Firebrand’s accelerated three day TOGAF course.


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, 14 May 2015

New accelerated Microsoft courses from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


Become an Azure architect, learn how to install Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 in your organisation then master NAV 2015’s financial application area. Study it all - twice as fast as traditional training - on three new accelerated Firebrand courses.

Firebrand is excited to bring these new accelerated Microsoft courses to our ever expanding training portfolio:



Microsoft Specialist: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

Learn how to build websites, application storage and infrastructure with Azure – Microsoft’s global cloud platform that boasts over 90,000 new customer subscriptions per month.

The third Azure specialist course in Firebrand’s portfolio, Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions will give you the skills you need to design public and hybrid cloud solutions.

Study Microsoft Official Curriculum, take your Microsoft exam 70-534 onsite at the end of your three day course, and return to work certified.

Become an Azure Architect in only three days!





Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Financials

Learn how to automate and streamline your business processes with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 financials. In just six days you’ll get the knowledge you need to manage your business with NAV 2015 and get to grips with new features like Tablet Client and Office365 integration.

By the end of this six day course, you’ll be able to setup and use the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Finance application area. You’ll also learn:

  • How to setup and use VAT, budgets, cash management & multiple currencies
  • Basics of Sales and Purchase
  • Basic functionalities, including sorting and filtering
  • Management of roles and user rights
  • Creation of fixed assets and how to use them in transactions

Learn how to manage your organisation’s finances with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 in only six days!


Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Installation and Configuration

On this accelerated two day course you’ll learn how to install and configure Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015. Built for small and medium sized businesses, NAV 2015 will manage your organisations finance, manufacturing, sales and more.

Make the most of the newest version of Dynamics NAV; get introduced to new features like an enhanced PowerShell API and single sign-on with Office365.

Learn how to install and configure Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, and configure multiple NAV 2015 client types, in just two days with Firebrand.


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 onTwitter, 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.


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. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Firebrand instructors get double win at Cisco Instructor Excellence Award 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Firebrand instructors, Dave Petts and Richard Greaves, were this year acknowledged for providing the highest quality of Cisco training when they won the Cisco Instructor Excellence Award 2015.



Both trainers were recognised amongst the top Routing & Switching instructors in the EMEAR region.

When announcing the award, Cisco said: “The 2015 award winners exemplified the highest quality training experience and demonstrated best overall performance.”

The award, as measured by student satisfaction surveys in 2014, highlights the exemplary commitment of Firebrand’s instructors around the world. Both Dave Petts and Richard Greaves have proved their technical expertise and drive to become the best in their field.

Cisco Instructor Excellence Award winners represent the top 25% of Certified Cisco Systems Instructors (CCSI) globally.

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

“I’m delighted to hear of Dave and Richard’s success this year at the Cisco Instructor Excellence Awards. Their commitment reflects our ethos to deliver the highest quality of training. We’re immensely proud to count them amongst our team of dedicated instructors; they’re true firebrands.”

Firebrand is an official provider of accelerated Cisco training. Since launching in 2001, Firebrand has trained over 54,000 students with the help of dedicated and committed instructors.

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, 7 May 2015

PMP exam 2015 update - here are your new tasks


By Sarah Morgan


On 1 November 2015 your PMP exam will be changing to align with the current status of the project management profession.




If you’re taking your exam after November 1, you’ll need to prepare for 8 entirely new tasks found across domains 1-to-4. To save you from searching the PMP Examination Content Outline, here they are…


Domain 1 – Initiating the Project

  • Task 2
    • Identify key deliverables based on the business requirements, in order to manage customer expectations and direct the achievement of project goals.
  • Task 7
    • Conduct benefit analysis with stakeholders (including sponsor, customer, subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organisational strategy and expected business value.
  • Task 8
    • Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter, in order to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.


Domain 2 – Planning the Project

  • Task 13
    • Develop the stakeholder management plan by analysing needs, interests, and potential impact, in order to effectively manage stakeholders' expectations and engage them in project decisions.


Domain 3 – Executing the Project

  • Task 6
    • Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan, in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed.
  • Task 7
    • Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan, in order to receive continued support and manage expectations.


Domain 4 – Monitoring and Controlling the Project

  • Task 6
    • Capture, analyse, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques, in order to enable continuous improvement.
  • Task 7
    • Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives.


Domain 5 – Closing the Project

There are no new tasks in Domain 5.


Please note: this is not the finalised version of the PMP examination content outline. The proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam has not as yet been determined.

The knowledge and skills associated with these domains and tasks will be forthcoming. PMI state that this information will be available no later than 15 June 2015.

For more information on the 2015 PMP update, and for frequently asked questions, take a look at this blog.

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. 

Your PMP exam is changing in 2015


By Sarah Morgan


The PMP certification proves you’ve got up-to-date project management skills and gets you on track for a massive £55,000 salary (ITJobsWatch).


Owing to these reasons, and many more, the PMP® is one of the most important certifications for project managers. And in order to stay relevant alongside the changing demands of project management professionals the PMP must continually evolve. On 1 November 2015 your PMP exam will be changing.

How is the PMP exam changing?

The five domains of practice for the PMP are staying the same. However, new tasks are being introduced and current tasks modified or removed. As of 1 November 2015, the current exam will be retired and only the new version of the PMP exam will be administered.

See the below table for a brief look at the new tasks added across the domains. Or for a more detailed overview of what the new tasks are, take a look at this blog.



Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Why is the PMP exam changing?

A. PMI are updating the PMP certification to reflect the current status of the project management profession.

A recently completed Role Delineation Study (RDS) – a method used to identify and prioritise crucial tasks of a job or profession – has provided a new description for the role of PMP professionals.


Q. What major differences in the role of project management professionals were identified by the RDS study?

A. PMI’s most recent RDS has shown that the role of the PMP has remained largely consistent over the past few years. However PMI do acknowledge that some aspects of the role have changed over time. These include:

  • Inclusion of benefits analysis and realisation
  • Looking at risk management in terms of opportunity
  • Placing more emphasis on stakeholder management plans and communications
  • Additional focus on lessons learned


Q. This exam update is only affecting the tasks, but to what extent?

A. Some tasks have been slightly modified whereas others have been changed or deleted entirely. In addition to this, there are also 8 entirely new tasks. Take a look at this blog post for more details on the relevant tasks.


Q. Will I need to take a different preparation course now that the exam is being updated?

A. PMI Chapters and R.E.P.s have been informed of this change and should be updating their courses accordingly.

Firebrand will be ready to deliver the new PMP content on our accelerated four day course, when the current exam is retired in November 2015.


Q. I’m studying for the PMP, how will this affect me as a candidate?

A. If you take your PMP exam after the 1 November date, be aware that you will be taking the new exam. Get caught out and you risk revising out-of-date content.

However, the PMP application and testing process remains the same.


Q. I don’t want to test under the new version of the content – what can I do?

A. If you don’t want to be tested on the new version of the PMP exam, you must test on or before 1 November 2015. After this date all PMP exams (this includes retakes and language aids) will reflect the new exam content outline.


Q. Will the exam report change?

A. No – the PMP exam report will remain the same. For computer based tests (CBT), you will continue to receive an exam report immediately after testing.


More to come from PMI...

It is important to note that this is not the finalised version of the content outline (at the time of publication). Currently, the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the final exam has not yet been determined. This information will be available by 15 June 2015.

For more information, take a look at the official PMI PMP FAQ.


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.