Showing posts with label IT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IT. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Higher education is crucial – You might not be aware of all the options


Over half of students in England and Wales have no back-up plan if they fail to get the grades they need, research by Which? University found.

Researchers questioned over 1000 17 and 18-year-olds and found that 54% said they had not made any preparations for the possibility that they might not get the grades for either their first or second choice universities.

A typical University degree isn’t the only way to progress your career

University is an experience, but it’s not for everyone and there are other paths to your dream career.  
It’s important that you don’t feel pressured into taking a university course that you don’t like. Tuition fees could be raised even further past their current £9,000-a-year cap. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you are paying £27,000 in tuition fees for a degree that you don’t value.

Make sure you are choosing university for the right reasons. Many often believe it is the only option, even if it doesn’t fit with your goals.

Students need to weigh up what their employment prospects will be after degree study against the debt they will accrue and seriously consider what an alternative educational and training route may bring in terms of expense, career progression and financial rewards,’ writes Jason Geall from The Student Room.

What else is there?

Avoid making a snap decision that could affect your future career and financial standing; educate yourself on all of the opportunities available.


You could be earning money, getting hands-on experience and making a real contribution to a company with an Apprenticeship. You’ll also completely bypass massive student debt and will finish your apprenticeship with more first-hand work experience than the majority of students graduating from university.

Apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with industry qualifications

What’s more, you’ll also get training leading to industry recognised qualifications. When 
you’re Apprenticeship ends you’ll be fully qualified to work. Plus, once you finish, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to stay with your employer and continue working. In fact, 98% of Firebrand Apprentices stay with their employer’s after their Apprenticeship finishes.

Thousands of organisations across the UK value and support their Apprentices. With a massive range of areas to work within, you’ll find a great entry-point to get on track to your dream career.

If you want to pursue a career in IT – you’re in luck. The IT industry is booming but the UK just can’t keep up with the demand for skilled professionals. As a result, we are currently experiencing a skills gap that could cost the UK as much as £2bn a year.

There are hundreds of great IT Apprenticeships available - with a bit of determination you’ll soon see your skills in demand across the country. The UK will need an additional 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017 – you could be amongst this number.

School leaver’s programmes

A school leaver programme is a fixed-term, paid job available to students after sixth form that provides an intensive, structured training programme and in some cases, professional qualifications.

Over 300 top employers offer these competitive programmes and many more join this number each year. Companies are beginning to recognise the talent and enthusiasm younger students can bring to their organisations. As a result, they are investing time and money into training and developing their School Leaver programmes.

The majority of programmes offer a competitive salary and on top of that, you won’t have to pay for the valuable qualifications.

Sponsored Degrees

Sponsored degrees aren’t a typical university experience. Companies want to develop their own talented graduates by taking students and sponsoring them through degree level courses. The end result is a highly-trained graduate who understands their sponsor company in-depth.

You’d work with the company during holidays or work part-time and study at university for the rest of the time.

You’ll benefit from a salary and valuable work experience. Plus, you’re likely to finish your degree without any debt and be able to walk straight into a job with your company at the end of the process.

It’s important you consider your career choice as some sponsored schemes may require you to work for the company immediately after your graduate. Also, you will have a very different experience to most undergraduates – you will likely be working when others are socialising (especially during the holidays).

It’s not too late to plan ahead

Whatever you plan to do once you receive your results - keep Jason’s words in mind - "The worst thing would be making a snap decision under pressure that could affect a future career and finding yourself on a course you don't like.”

"There's still time, now, to get it right."

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, 5 August 2014

The “IT is for geeks” stereotype is damaging the UK economy


A decline in students taking GCSE and A-level computing, coupled with a booming technology sector, could stunt growth and damage the UK’s economy through an ever-widening skills gap.

The common misconception that “IT is for geeks” is stopping many pupils from pursuing a career within the digital industries, a report published last week by the UK Digital Skills Taskforce found.

The taskforce, announced by Ed Miliband in November last year, was set up to help close the IT skills gap found in the British workforce.

A 2013 report from 02 stated that around 745,000 additional workers with digital skills would be needed to meet demand between now and 2017.

The report - ‘Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World’ – suggests that this massive IT skills gap is due to misconceptions of the digital workplace.

The perception that technology roles are for “geeks” is extremely damaging, the report found.

A new computing curriculum is set to be introduced September 2014, which will go a long way in addressing the issue, but the report warns that teachers need more support to help them prepare.

In addition to more funding for the new curriculum, the report calls for computing to become a fourth ‘core science,’ which would give pupils access to digital training up to 19 years of age.

The ultimate aim is to eliminate the UK’s IT skills gap. However, simply adjusting the curriculum for modern tech requirements isn’t enough; pupils need to be supported after secondary school by being made aware of the options available to them.

With 98% of all universities now charging the max tuition fees of £9000 a year, hundreds of students are now unable to pursue this form of higher education. And without a clear route to a career in IT, many pupils can be left feeling adrift.

IT Apprenticeships have made a huge difference in helping to solve this issue by providing an entry-point to a career in IT.   As well as helping to lessen the UK’s crippling digital skills gap, apprenticeships provide young people with their first opportunity to grow and learn within a real workplace.

There is tremendous support for IT apprenticeships from both government and commercial organisations. The Microsoft’s Apprentice of the Year awards, held this year at the House of Commons, helped highlight the difference these schemes can make to young people and the businesses they work for. One Firebrand Apprentice even claimed a prestigious Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award.

During the awards, Theresa May described how - “Apprenticeships are incredibly important in helping young adults to develop skills in the workplace. Apprenticeships are hands-on and so much more about understanding what the working environment is all about. 

An IT apprenticeship is a great alternative to university and a tremendous advantage for businesses in need of talented young employees. Apprenticeships allow students to earn-while-they-learn, avoid student debt and get certifications backed up with real work experience in a career they are interested in.

If you’re looking for a career in IT or want to learn more about Firebrand’s unique apprenticeship program, visit us 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, 3 July 2014

Succeed in the CISSP exam with these 4 tips

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

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

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

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

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

1. Prepare to pass

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

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

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

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

3. Choose good study materials

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

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

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

4. Minimise stress

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

Concluding thoughts

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

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Top 4 reasons you need the CompTIA A+ Certification


Are you struggling to get your first job in IT? It can be difficult proving your skills to employers as a young person or professional who is currently retraining. 

Luckily, the entry level CompTIA A+ certification overcomes this issue and is one of the best starting points for a career in IT.

As a non-profit trade association, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem, investing millions to empower ICT companies and professionals worldwide.  They possess worldwide renown and gaining a CompTIA certification identifies you as a qualified and knowledgeable professional. 

'An introduction to the A+ by CompTIA'

And here's why you need it...

1. The IT Skills Gap

Organisations in the UK are struggling to find qualified IT professionals. It’s known as the IT Skills Gap and has even found its way into Parliamentary discussion, with Ed Miliband stating the IT industry is being ‘let down’ by the shortage. The gap is huge with potentially 700,000 unfilled IT vacancies across the EU by 2015. It’s also widely believed to be strangling the UK’s economy and is only expected to widen with the unstoppable proliferation of technology.  

Skilled IT professionals are a valuable commodity. Get qualified and find a job in a sellers market where you are in urgent demand. 

2. It's Industry recognised

It’s  a requirement for Microsoft engineers and Dell, Intel and Lenovo service techs and is recognised by the U.S Dept of Defense. Developed directly by CompTIA and backed by major computer hardware and software vendors, it reflects the type of skills needed to excel in the role of a computer support professional.

For an employer, the CompTIA A+ is a clear demonstration of your knowledge, skills and commitment to a career within IT.

Image courtesy of Grafixar / morgeFile

3. A defined career path

A CompTIA A+ could be the key to your first job in IT. With such a strong fundamental certificate you can move onto more specialised certifications like Network+ and Security+ which focus on networking and IT security respectively. With these certs you can apply for roles like Network Security Engineer (£48,000 PA) and Network administrator (£40,000 PA).

What’s more, the CompTIA A+ certification can be used to qualify as a pre-requisite for Microsoft’s MCSA and MCSE certifications. 

4. It’s vendor neutral

A vendor neutral certification benefits those looking to break into the IT industry. Vendor neutral certs give individuals the benefits of learning on a broader scale which is exactly what you want from an entry level qualification. 

     5. You can get it done in just 4 days (The secret Firebrand reason)

It is recommended that you have experience in building computers, are familiar with windows operating systems and understand basic home networks before you begin your CompTIA A+ certification. If so, you could get certified and begin your IT career within a week.

If you don’t have recommended experience, it won’t take long to get up to speed and prepare yourself for the CompTIA A+ exams. Firebrand pre-ship study materials for you preparation to ensure you can get up to speed before you even begin your course.
Get certified with Firebrand and you can complete your CompTIA A+ in just 4 days.

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